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Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Resurrection Review

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On 07/13/2011 at 06:13 PM by Bradley Osburn

Lords of Shadow's DLC conclusion is a misstep

For those who have beaten the core and Reverie, and don't mind an incredibly broken, expensive final boss fight.

Unlike its predecessor, this second DLC pack is a tough sell. You’re essentially shelling out $9.99 for a boss fight, and one that, if you’re incredibly skilled at the game, will take you less than hour. I am apparently not that great because I was close to quitting out of rage.

After making his way through Carmilla’s castle and suffering from a plot twist, Gabriel finds himself in the underworld, or the other side, or Hell, there’s never really any clarification on that. The Forgotten One rises from a pit of lava and the chase begins.

This pack is divided into two types of gameplay: platforming and boss-fighting. First Gabriel has to track The Forgotten One up the inside of a crumbling pit, with lava far below. I did not like this section at all. Hands down, it was the most difficult platforming section of the entire game. Don’t go too fast, don’t go too slow, don’t let him see you or he’ll destroy you with one blast, know immediately what to do or you’ll die, escape the rising lava with a terrible camera angle and pinpoint leaping, and so on.

Once you finally get to the top of the pit you reach the really difficult part, or, the first half of the battle. I can see what Konami was trying to do here. Resurrection is supposed to be the culmination, the ultimate test of all the skills you’ve gained so far. Unfortunately, The Forgotten One is so broken, and the way you’re supposed to kill him is so against everything you’ve done so far, that everything you’ve learned doesn’t really matter anymore.

The goal of the battle is to remove his thick armor and get at the juicy, demony goodness underneath. This is achieved through a few quicktime sequences, each being unique and a fairly enjoyable break from the monotony. No, the problems start once you realize that this a battle of precision targeting, because unlike every other battle in the game, The Forgotten One must be struck in his newly exposed under-bits in order to be damaged. The combat in Lords of Shadow is not about precision, it’s about slashing and enormous combo chains.

So imagine the difficulty of having to leap just once, not twice, up to his shoulder and going to town before you fall. This is much more annoying than it sounds because he is something like 15 feet tall and it’s all just very counter-intuitive. Oh, did I mention that nearly every attack The Forgotten One has is designed to blow you back across the stage? So you finally get into the perfect position to attack and you get all of two slashes in before you’re blown away, with almost no chance of blocking. So you lose health as well, but it’s OK, because you have your light magic.

Whoa who whoa, slow down there cowboy, because you have only one real opportunity before the battle to get those orbs back and the minions you’re supposed to get them from are incredibly tough flaming skeletons that gang up on you and break your combo chain every other second. So you go into your true fight with no magic and no real experience fighting anything like The Forgotten One. Why can’t you get any orbs from him? Because you’ll never break out of a combo chain in time to keep your meter up, giving you access to all of two orbs every couple minutes.

This entire sequence repeats itself again, but just gets more infuriating. I eventually had to drop to Easy difficulty just to get through it, and even then it took me at least half an hour to get past the final fight. And then we finally get to see what turned Gabriel into the decrepit, dusty monster he was revealed to be at the end of Lords of Shadow and I can’t help but feel disappointed by what’s revealed.

I think what I disliked the most was that both DLC packs just felt tacked on, like the developers said, “Oh yeah, this happened too.” And for such a great core game, that’s even more disappointing.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.



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