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Review: Castlevania 3DS

On 03/07/2013 at 09:39 PM by Coolsetzer

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Hello everyone, I've never done a review for a game before. So I suppose that Pixlbit gets a little surprise in that regard. I will attempt to give a spoiler free and objective opinion on the strengths and weaknesses of the title, in addition to how it measures up against the other games in the series. My background includes every playthrough of the other 2D entries, as well as the Nintendo 64 titles. My favorite game was Symphony of the Night, and my thought on this reboot of the franchise is to give it a fair chance.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Mirror of Fate

I understand why this game has two subtitles, but it seems like somewhat of an overkill to me. Of course this is the second game of the new Castlevania series, but a simple "2" would have sufficed without sacrificing the integrity of the title. I did not play the first Lords of Shadow game, but judging how well this title turned out, I will have to play it in order to get the whole story. The prolog of the game, in which you play as Gabriel, does not give an adequate summary of what transpired before. I won't spoil what little I know of the first game, but suffice to say that I would have been entirely lost if I had not read a wikipedia entry on the game. You can still enjoy this game for what it is, but I have a feeling that there was a lot of backstory that I missed out on.

The presentation is very serious and dark. This is not a kid friendly game, since you will frequently be killing enemies in bloody finishers and investigating scrolls of dead corpses. The music is moody and orchestrated as well. While I miss the Yamane-type of tunes, the ambient soundtrack for this game fits very well. Although, the voices seem a little out of place, since I don't imagine the characters with Gaelic accents. The lip synching is nonexistant, and I had to turn on the subtitles for conversations.

In the gameplay department, this is the meat and potatos of the production. This is a platforming game, similar to the older Castlevania games, in which you play as whip wielding vampire hunters and fight large bosses. It is not a repeat of the post-Symphony years, in which you acquire a multitude of weapons to use. In fact, most of the RPG elements have been stripped away. You still gain experience and levels, but the only stats you acquire are more health, magic and increased sub item usage. One thing that is retained was the map system, and instead of linear stages, they are mazes made up of interconnecting stages.

The controls feel clunky at times, but the environments are constructed extremely well. Backtracking is kept to a minimum to moderate pace, depending on how many chests you want to find. Also, there are three difficulty levels depending on how hard you want the enemies to be. The game is somewhat challenging until you get sufficient abilities in order to fight more smoothly, but I don't think that's a barrier to progressing. The enemies are not stunned when you hit them, so they still attack you in the middle of your combos, which can be frustrating. As you level up, more skills are unlocked, giving you more moves. This game tries to make combat more exciting by introducing blocks and dodges, as well as attack moves and finishing moves. Sometimes that can be annoying as it is not how previous games were played.

Lastly, the world of Mirror of Fate is a good place to get lost for awhile. I had to take breaks from it because the game made me psycholocially tense. You should be in the right mentality to absorb the dark nature of it all. The graphics for this title are 3D and very detailed, even rivaling SotN. They round out the game superbly. The cell shaded cut scenes are a little out of place, but don't detract from the experience overall. It really makes me surprised that they were able to squeeze in so much from such a little cartridge. As far as the story, without ruining it I can say that the game is spread out in three different acts. You play as a different character for each one. The story has a surprising amount of surprises attached to it. Suffice to say, by the time you reach the end, you'll either love or hate the game. It really does reboot the Castlevania story, since a lot of the characters are taken from the other games in the series, and given a makeover in this new mythology.

Overall, the game is a great 2D entry of the franchise. I really enjoyed my time with it, even though I realize it might not be everyone's cup of tea. Especially once you find out what they did with the characters. It sets up the third contracted game in the reboot series with an open ended finish. I can't wait for the next game, and in the meantime, I will play the first Lords of Shadow game and give it an honest shot. It will take me some getting used to in order to enjoy this new series, since instead of whipping candles I am forced to break barrels now.

The game took me around 11 hours to complete start to finish. Around 14 hours to complete 100%. While not as great as Symphony of the Night, I think it was very well done, and I really liked it. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.



Super Step Contributing Writer

03/07/2013 at 09:58 PM

Sounds like my kind of game.


03/08/2013 at 01:56 AM

I didn't think that I would like it, but I had a blast.

Matt Snee Staff Writer

03/07/2013 at 10:08 PM

I was really hyped about this after the demo.  Glad to see a fan like you liked it.  I'll have to pick it up. 


03/08/2013 at 01:57 AM

Me too. I really liked the demo, and that's why I purchased. Sneaky Nintendo lol.


03/07/2013 at 10:13 PM

great review! I love those 2D styled Castlevanias. I still need to go back and finish SOTN. I got stuck somewhere and couldn't figure out what to do.


03/08/2013 at 01:59 AM

Thanks! I'm an expert at SotN, so if you want some advice, hit me up on facebook. Mike Lonewolf. Cool


03/07/2013 at 10:29 PM

The first Lords Of Shadow game was superb as well so I can at least vouch for that. I simply see this as an "alternate earth version" of castlevania which is find by me!


03/08/2013 at 02:03 AM

That's good to hear. I'm going to start on LoS tonite. I haven't thought of it like an Alternate Earth before, so that's an interesting thought. They really do take the original mythos and twists its head off. I was really surprised with the story.


03/08/2013 at 09:34 AM

Yeah, I'm definitely going to try this game out. I'm going to play Lords of Shadow first, though. Mostly because I'd like to see the backstory leading to Mirror of Fate, but also because I'm fully immersed in Fire Emblem Awakening right now, and it'll give me an excuse to wait a bit.

I think the reason they didn't simply call this Lords of Shadow 2 is because, at the time (I'm now hearing rumours of this hitting other systems), it would be exclusive to 3DS and they want the numbered series to remain on multiplat consoles, like PS3 and 360. It would've made things a lot easier to just call it Castlevania: Mirror of Fate or Lords of Shadow 2, but ah well. I guess it's just a name!


03/08/2013 at 05:33 PM

You definitely make the game sound better than what I've been reading around the Internet.  It's not enough to sell me on it, though.  From what I've seen, Mirror of Fate places too much emphasis on combat, which I don't particularly care for.  I prefer games that give me the option to bypass encounters (the original games did this), especially if there is little reason to fight.

Jonathan Drake

03/08/2013 at 07:32 PM

I gotta say I had plenty of fun playing Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. It has its drawbacks: it is too long for its own good, those damn QTE,the plataforming and puzzles aren't very inspired, but it makes combat a joy. 

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