Quick thoughts on: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Ultimate Edition

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Ultimate Edition

This game took me 19 hours to complete. And I felt every last second of that.

There are games, that aren’t really good but are still worth checking and spending time on to see all the good ideas, all the good things the game may have. And sometimes, even while knowing that overall the game is not good, you will enjoy a game like that. Lords of Shadow is not a game like that, simply because it gives *way* too little for what time and patience it asks in return.
It does have an interesting story, an interesting take on the famous series. It does look stylish and pretty, although artistically, not technologically (pretty low res textures and pre-rendered movies, rather poor optimization, other small issues). But still – really pretty. It also has a *few* really cool fights, which are inventive, exciting and challenging enough, without feeling unfair or broken.
So, that’re the good things. There are bad things, like overabundance of QTEs, with very outdated approach to the concept as well – they’re used just for the sake of it, and in the unlikeliest moments. Like, say, opening some doors requires timed QTEs, not even God of War-like button mashing.
Yet those are also not *that* notable. And this is the main problem with the game – it’s a bit of good, a bit of bad and about 80% of boredom. Majority of the game feels like padding, something inserted just for the sake of wasting more of the player’s time. In fact, there’s even a special enemy/creature in the game, who’s sole purpose is to waste player’s time and you meet that creature 4 times, even though you will be fed up with it the first time. There’s almost never any payoff to anything. You might hear of a cool enemy/location several chapters of 3-5 levels before you finally get to it, and nothing really happens during those levels…
And the ex-DLC levels, which give this edition “Ultimate” name, are absolutely horrible. Again, there are few nice ideas, but they’re so not worth it. The story, which could’ve been a proper epilogue to the main story, setting up the sequel and ex-portable midquel, is a complete throwaway and degrades into farce in the last two levels, where Gabriel plays hide and seek with a powerful demon set on destroying the world.
With the same elements, a much MUCH better game could’ve been made. And, I’m sure, MercurySteam could’ve done that. Maybe, the sequel will be that much better game…
P.S. It’s worth noticing several visual similarities to a classic game called Blade of Darkness, which was developed by another Spanish development company, which then dissolved and the majority of it’s team created MercurySteam – the developers of this game.

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