This week things are a little strange and a lot shorter than usual, for reasons that will become apparent as you read on. So yeah, apologies in advance for the brevity of the feature this week and we’ll be back with a more decent length offering next week. Onwards!
This one has been a bit of a doozy for me. While I have no childhood fondness for Castlevania, having only played through the early games when I was older, I have enjoyed lots of Castlevania titles over the years and the reputation this game has filled me with dread as I waited to play it. Let me just say straight away that this game deserves its reputation, mostly.
Visually the game is a little drab, but this is pretty much to be expected considering the horror-like aesthetic the series tends to go for. The actual graphics are fine but nothing special, it looks like pretty much like any generic N64 title, which isn’t good considering that it’s a Castlevania game and probably deserved a little more polish.
The real issue comes from the controls. Although it isn’t too difficult to get through the fighting, the camera is constantly in the wrong place, and with enemies that explode in your face coming from all
sides, this can make certain sections problematic. The worst mechanic is the platforming, when you jump you just float through the air, and in some places you have to make death pit jumps with a fixed camera. Because of the fixed camera I personally died on a simple jumping challenge 7 or 8 times before I managed to get past it.
Level design-wise the game starts out as basic as possible, with just huge chasms filled with the same skeleton enemies, but you do eventually make your way into a castle with some more varied level design. Once you have made your way inside the game becomes a bit more explorative and the enemies become more varied, including even throwing in some of the classic enemies from Castlevanias past like the Medusa heads.
Overall: The worst thing here is that this game is so close to being playable, not good exactly but something you could chip your way through if you were a die-hard fan of the series. The poor platorming and overall cheap feel of the gameplay ruins this title, and nothing about it is worthwhile as either a platformer or as a Castlevania title.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
This game is not a 3D platformer, I have no idea why this game is on the list. Well that’s not true, as I understand it the game has a lot of platforming elements, including entire sections were you’re crossing chasms or making your way up big ledges. However, I would define a 3D platformer as a game where the central point is to platform in a 3-dimensional environment, Lords of Shadow‘s central point is to be God of War.
You may be asking, “If you have decided that this game is not a 3D platformer, then why are you talking about it? Surely you should move onto the next game on the list?”. Well, I’ll tell you. As I have stated before, I use the Wikipedia list for this series until I play a game where I genuinely have no idea what it’s going to be like. Since I devote a lot of my time to playing the games that are on the list, if I were to have spent say 8 hours on Lords of Shadow then didn’t write anything about it, I would be presenting you with an incredibly short feature this week.
With my reasoning out of the way, let’s discuss the game. LOS is beautifully crafted with some genuinely gorgeous and colourful graphics, not to mention the voice over work by none other than Patrick Flippin’ Stewart!
As might have come across earlier, the gameplay is basically God of War, you have a chain weapon that you swing around and entirely obliterate your enemies in a swathe of blood and gore. In between combat sections the gameplay is broken up by frequent climbing sections and puzzles, as well as occasional horse riding mini games. Finally, there is the inclusion of boss fights that are basically Shadow of the Colossus, and I am not sure why.
Overall: A game worth playing but not a 3D platformer, and don’t believe anyone who tells you that it is.
85/100 (but it’s still not a platformer)
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2
Okay, so at this point I’m not even sure what to say at this point, this game is amazing but once again is not a 3D platformer. The only reason it’s on this list is because Wikipedia doesn’t know how to genre games correctly.
The game’s mechanics are very similar to the first one, the only major difference is the aesthetic which is much more grim and modern than the last game, partially due to it being mostly set in modern times.
I’m not going to get too much into this game, there’s really not much point. I can’t even explain the story to you because I skipped all the cutscenes since I didn’t want to ruin the story for myself before I finished playing the first game.
Overall: Another non platformer that is probably great, I can’t say anything more at this time.
So yeah, our little journey draws to a close early this week, but worry not because next week we actually have some real platformers for me to talk about including one good game, one terrible game, and two games I’ve never heard of before in my life. See you next time.