MercurySteam Entertainment and Konami have brought the Nintendo 3DS title, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Mirror of Fate, to consoles as Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Mirror of Fate HD is now available as a digital download for both the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3.
Simon Belmont’s sole mission is to avenge the death of his parents and defeat the evil that has caused their demise and is now attempting to destroy the Brotherhood of Light. The game will break down the story of the Belmont’s family lineage and will prove that no one truly knows their fate. It is discovered as they battle their way through the castle and into the hands of inevitability. Being a sequel to Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, Mirror of Fate HD can be played by a fan, or someone who is new to the series, since the story will unravel as the game progresses.
The parallel story telling was a pleasant web to be intertwined in. The gaps in the story were brought together by various points of view, as the player will assume the role of three different characters in the ancestral tree. While the story was not entirely deep and engrossing, it still has a sneaky pull that will keep the player going to uncover more of the storyline.
The game starts off a bit lifeless, with some hacking away at enemies. Once the story begins to unfold, the anticipation is there for more of the story to be revealed. Once more skills are ulocked and more weapons to use in combat are obtained, the reward factor kicks in and offers up excitement to go back to revisit areas that required a different skill to enter.
The map is shown on the upper right of the screen and once more of the area is discovered, more of the map is unlocked. An objective guide will keep the player on course. However, the opportunity to appease the fans with a full-blown Metroidvania game was delivered with a few shortcomings. While the side-scrolling title offers the ability to explore and rewards the player for doing so, there are no alternate paths to take, but rather exploration merely reveals more on the map of that particular area and offers scrolls of the deceased to read their last thoughts.
The gameplay is switched up with a couple of puzzle stages to offer a challenge to the player and require some thought process in order to progress. There are also a couple of battles that are completed through quick time events to change up the hack and slash enemy take outs. The most interesting aspect of the battles is utilizing the characters’ additional weapons and summoning help by using magic. The magic level is replenished by collecting magic orbs from defeating enemies or through Magic Fonts found throughout the castle, along with Health Fonts. The battle system does require strategic approaches and allows the player to parry the enemies and the additional weapons are thrown so it’s best to ensure a good inventory before combat. More can be found throughout the levels of the castle, as well. The battles will test the player’s skill and use of character abilities, such as parrying and dashing.
While the colors pop against the eery dark settings, the game does not stand out for its visuals. The enemies are interesting and take on various forms. Being a fan of cel-shaded graphics, it was pleasing to be greeted with them during the cutscenes.
Intense action music prepares the player for combat. The mystical and chanting music is composed by Oscar Araujo, who has been working with MercurySteam on Castlevania titles, including Castlevania: Lords of Shadow and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2. The music will grow on the player as he continues through the game.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Mirror of Fate HD offers Leaderboards which will display times in which the game was beat, bosses defeated, and the percentage of the game that was completed to compare against others. This can encourage further gameplay, however will not entice every player to beat these scores. A Boss Rush Mode opens up once the player beats the game. This mode will toss every enemy from the game’s campaign at the player to defeat in an all out brawl to survive. It offers up various difficulty levels to keep the player coming back for more.
The price point of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Mirror of Fate HD is appealing and the game should be picked up for someone looking for an action adventure title at a budget price. It is a great byte-sized Castlevania title to add to the player’s library.
- The ability to play as three different characters to live the story in their shoes adds a special touch to the story and gameplay.
- Going back to the side scrolling roots and some exploration opportunities were welcomed.
- Successfully parrying and mid-air dodging to defeat enemies is extremely rewarding.
- From a beloved franchise, it is quite unfortunate that it is not a love letter to Castlevania fans, but rather a title to show that the franchise is still around.
- More exploration with alternate routes to take through the castle would truly go back to the Castlevania roots and give the fans the Metroidvania title that they are longing for.
- The graphics were subpar while the game offered last-generation visuals.