Wot I Think – Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2

By Rich Stanton on February 26th, 2014 at 9:00 pm.

In Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 you play as Dracula, who over the course of many tortuous cutscenes is established as one of the most powerful beings in this game’s universe. Phenomenally mighty! Even god’s afraid of this guy!

Then a few hours in you’re told not to step on leaves in case they rustle, and attract some goatman who’ll instakill you via cutscene. It’s the worst stealth section I’ve ever played in anything, ever, and topped off by the fact that immediately afterwards you rip goatman’s face off with no trouble whatsoever. A small part of a huge game this may be, but it amply demonstrates why LOS2 totally sucks.

I’m sorry but what? “Don’t step on the leaves?!?” I’m not one to throw out the ludonarrative dissonance card for no reason, but GTFO. Bad as this is it’s only the worst in a long, long list of culprits. LOS2 may have some good qualities but this is one of the most mixed-up, messed-up, abominably directed games I’ve played in a long time.

I’d be curious as to whether anyone played this game through in its entirety before completion, because by far LOS2′s biggest issue is its lack of direction and focus. You begin, pleasingly enough, ensconsed in Dracula’s castle, drinking blood from a goblet atop a grand throne before a pesky human mob turns up to try and stake you out.

From here everything goes downhill. The opening’s big setpiece is taking down a giant holy golem of some kind through a linear climb up the thing’s sides, interrupted by constant miniature cutscenes and topped off by a series of rote battles along the way. What fun there is in the scale is soon lost by the constricting blanket around your possible interactions, which is basically the rule for all of LOS2′s large-scale boss fights.

From here Dracs somehow ends up in the modern day, under the watchful eye of the chain-smoking Zobek. An enormous amount of money has been spent on the celebrity voice talent for this game, including Patrick Stewart as Zobek and Robert Carlyle as Dracula, but there’s honestly no point in hiring quality actors with a script like this. “I have opened a portal!” intones Stewart at various points, doubtless just before sipping down a good cognac and wondering why he bothers. Dracula, meanwhile, has moved from the tragic figure of the original to an overcast goth who’s bummed out that his wife and son are dead – and of course both then turn up multiple times in order that Carlyle can mum some pretend anguish into the studio mic like this is storytelling. Dracula is one of fiction’s most enduring character archetypes for a reason, but there’s none of that here.

I enjoyed Lords of Shadow. It had fun combat and an interesting story, but more than anything the lush gothic aesthetic was married to a sense of grandeur that few games match. At times LOS is so beautiful it takes your breath away. The central idea behind LOS2′s setting is taking this style into the modern age, ornate gothic stylings meets high-rise cityscapes, but all it ends up with is endless sewers and a series of grey environments where the most distinguishing feature is car parks. When LOS2 returns to the past, as it often does, some of the first game’s spirit lives on, but overall this is an enormously dull disappointment.

We haven’t even got onto the action itself, and it’s here that LOS2 really takes a dive. “Don’t step on the leaves” is one of many stealth sections that are uniformly terrible, most of them based around obvious solutions that are again and again cocked up by the twitchy controls and stupidly specific requirements. You have to turn into a rat half the time to trudge through some pipes and flick a switch, which is about as fun as it sounds. There’s no freedom here, these sections can only ever be solved in one way – and even within that there can be no deviation.

So there are these big red dudes parachuted in from a space marine game, which you have to possess from behind for reasons. You can also distract them by throwing bats. If you try to distract them with bats, and then possess them, you get hit by their flailing arms and die. If there are two, and you hit the wrong one with bats, you’ve got to just sit there until the animation plays out and you can bat-swarm the other. Oh and of course you’re FUCKING DRACULA THE SCOURGE OF HUMANITY AND GOD ALIKE hiding from b-movie rejects and turning into a rat. The problem here is simple. LOS2 is not a stealth game in its controls or mechanics, but it has plentiful stealth sections. You do the math.

Outside of stealth the combat’s taken a step back too. Dracula’s animations are great, and you always look stylish when tearing apart mobs, but it’s constructed around an insta-switch weapon system with three tools, two of which have to be ‘charged’ with orbs to use, but their use is always pre-ordained. What I mean by this is that, throughout the game but increasingly so as you progress, certain enemy types have armour or shields which causes Dracula’s whip/sword to bounce. So you have to crack out the firey fists of armour-breaking and break their armour. Great. Certain others have to be frozen with the sword’s projectile attack. This is as deep as the switching mechanic goes.

One of the few nods to the fact you’re controlling Dracula is the ‘finisher’ move – weaken an enemy enough, and you can QTE them to death and drink some tasty blood, which restores health. These animations are so overlong you soon get bored of doing it, but the idea is more fundamentally undermined by the fact your sword also restores health. So you never actually need to drink blood, it’s just a frippery on the margins.

As confused mechanics like this suggest, Lords of Shadow 2 is fundamentally a game that doesn’t understand what it got right the first time around. There are good ideas implemented in ways that make them bad ideas – the giant bosses, or the dodge-cancel, or the slowdown-effect-on-parry. The last effect, which is a wonderful cue and preparatory tool in other beat-em-ups, is stretched out so far in duration as to become a drag, and allied to a bright visual ‘burst’ effect which obscures what’s actually happening in the fight (perhaps hiding some none-too-impressive animation collision, but I digress). Worst of all the window is gigantic, so what in other fighting games is the holy grail of mastery – parrying enemy attacks and unleashing ye olde wrath – is here incredibly easy.

This is not a question of a simple-but-effective system. It’s a botch job. What LOS2 is aiming for is to replicate the mainstream brawling of God of War, but instead it has simplified the precision required to parry and compensated by mixing in a dodge move that looks and feels great in isolation but in combat is only ever a pain. This is because it’s used for avoiding ‘unblockable’ attacks which have a different visual cue – but can often only be dodged in one right direction. I love fighting games, but this kind of difficulty is frustrating rather than challenging and means the system never acquires any kind of rhythm in extended engagements. The appeal is superficial and the sluggishly-queuing combos, parry windows and dodging together make combat rote and stiff rather than fluid and emergent.

Is there nothing to be said for LOS2? Of course there are, visually speaking, great sights to see. There are great-looking bosses, and some nice ideas. But let’s take the Toymaker as an example. This boss fight is preceded by a strange theatrical sequence where you have to pick stage props to illustrate the Toymaker’s life story, as narrated by one of his freaky puppets. It’s a great idea, but the execution is nothing more than multiple-choice so simple it may as well have been a cutscene. The fight against him, which has two of his bespoke creations before the big finish, is incredibly easy – with the final stage so exploitable (and clearly not intended as such) you’re left wondering what on Earth was going through the designers’ minds.

Finally the structure to which this series has given a name – Metroidvania. Typically this means an explorable map you can go back through with new gadgets to find new areas and items. Indeed this is the case. But LOS2′s dreary environments are so linear, with Dracula’s possible engagements so limited in scope, you’d never want to explore them again; the out-of-reach items and countless, countless pickups feel like needless busywork rather than rewards.

Lords of Shadow 2 is a shocking misfire. Konami must be looking at what it’s got for what was obviously a gigantic financial investment, and asking big questions. Perhaps what did for this was a lack of direction, or over-ambition, or a deadline that simply had to be met. But speaking as a fan of both Castlevania and LOS, as well as 3D brawlers, avoid LOS2 at all costs. What went wrong is anyone’s guess, but from a player’s perspective the only answer that matters is ‘everything.’ This is a bloody mess.

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95 Comments »

  1. Syra says:

    I appreciate the verdict in the opening paragraph. I was slightly interested in this game but now I know I can avoid it and move on.

  2. Aerothorn says:

    I appreciate that Stanton began the pun thread before the cut.

  3. zain3000 says:

    Don’t step on the leaves

    I smell a meme!

  4. RedViv says:

    “Hey, now we have this ultimate badass character with interesting possibilities for a game with a truly evil and powerf-”
    “Take his strength away. Make it a normal brawly game.”
    “But why would we do this when we built up all previous games to this-”
    “Don’t be daft, interesting games are just confusing! They should be formulaic and easy to follow.”
    “But his minio-”
    “Possession. Take them away.”
    “But who will he fight if-”
    “Greater evil.”

    *sigh*

    • Blackcompany says:

      This mirrors my thoughts almost exactly. I mean, you have Dracula as your protagonist. And we get what amounts to a DMC clone. Right down to the Fast Sword/Slow, Strong Gloves attack system. While I know there is more than that to the game, I only played the Demo. Because that was more than enough of this one.

    • Tom De Roeck says:

      Is it just me or does he look like hes taking a selfie in that top screenshot?

      #omfgdracula

  5. nimbulan says:

    It’s sad, but exactly what I expected after Lords of Shadow 1. It’s amazing to me that it is actually the best 3D Castlevania game when as a massive Castlevania fan, I could hardly even stomach the demo. Even more amazing to me that people actually enjoy such poorly designed and dull games.

    • Theboredfish says:

      I don’t mean to argue, but I strongly disagree that Lord of Shadow was the best 3d Castlevania. Both Curse of Darkness on the PS2 and Lament of Innocence were far, FAR superior games, and they stuck to the Metroidvania style of doing things.

      Admittedly I like the original ‘Arcadey’ Castlevanias, but the Metroidvania style is just more pleasing to me as a gamer.

      As someone else had said, LOS was a decent game, but literally EVERYTHING that game had tried to do, was done better by other games. Boss battles – Shadow of the Colossus. General combat – Devil May Cry, or Darksiders. Story – All the 2D Platformer Castlevanias. Puzzles – Shadow of the Colossus again.

      • PegasusOrgans says:

        Well, essentially, Lord of Shadows did not start out as a Castlevania game. They didn’t have the license for a large part of the early development and they only got it after having early prototypes to show off.

  6. Enkinan says:

    The designers must have gotten crossed up somewhere.

  7. amateurviking says:

    Anaemic mechanics, soulless gameplay, unreflective story. I was going somewhere with this but I am pished. Wurble.

  8. Lemming says:

    I could totally have been ok with being a weakened Dracula as a prologue, providing you were a mere shadowy wraith avoiding sunlight and enemies, while you gathered your strength. But this sounds like it does things in a much more cookie-cutter way with a busted combat system to boot. No thanks.

  9. Mungrul says:

    The other problem is, after Revengeance, any game in the same genre is going to look a bit silly for a while.

    • RedViv says:

      Or rather too solemn.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      Unless they actually finally port Bayonetta for the master race!

      • Baines says:

        That unfortunately is perhaps only slightly more likely than Capcom reuniting Clover to make God Hand 2.

      • dE says:

        It’d be funny to see which side of the discussion RPS would fall. Is Bayonetta the most sexist game ever made and needs to be shunned or is it empowering, because of Bayonettas character, or the plot entirely driven by female characters – and thus something to be praised? If you think the answer is easy, you just haven’t seen the tumblr in-wars on this one.

        • tellrov says:

          The answer IS easy: why even think about this shit?

          • Redcoat-Mic says:

            Poor attitude.

            It is a hugely important issue, opening games up to the female audience without insulting them by depicting them as walking mammoray glands and arses should be a priority for game development in the coming years.

          • frightlever says:

            Good point, well made, @recoat-mic. We should be pushing game makers to make games more appealing, across the board, to female gamers, in exactly the same way that firearms, contacts sports and auto-mobile racing have changed to encourage women to take them up. I doubt we’d see so many women competing in MMA if it hadn’t been for the radical changes that the sport took to accommodate them.

            That was sarcasm, by the way.

          • tellrov says:

            Bayonetta is actually one of the most empowered female characters in video games. She’s also pretty hot, regularly dances seductively and almost gets naked during her special attacks. But she’d still rip off your private parts in a heartbeat. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.

          • frightlever says:

            I find it ironic when men develop some perverse social conscience around game characters, demanding that they be covered up. I’m curious how they react around women on a typical Saturday night out – are they rushing around nightclubs and pubs demanding that buttons are done up and admonishing that they should be wearing their skirts to past the knee, or at least half way down the thigh?

          • dE says:

            Why, but they lecture them on Patriarchy and white male Privilege of course. No other reason they dress like that!

            Joking aside, I’ve often wondered whether the divided opinions on Bayonetta are based on who actually played it and who just saw it in pictures.

          • The Random One says:

            frightlever, I hate to be the one to tell you this, and I hope you’re sitting down so as to not be floored by the shock, but: Bayonetta, like most video game characters, is a fictitious character and not a real person. Yes, I know; it’s devastating to learn you will never be able to meet Duke Nukem, as has been your lifelong dream, but look on the bright side. Now that you’re aware of that information, you’ll be able to realize the difference between a woman dressing in a certain way of her own volition, and a woman being dressed in a certain way because a group of people believe she should be dressed like that.

            Bonus thing to realize: Those women you see when you go out on Saturday night would likely be dressed differently if you met then when they were working out at the gym, and likely even more differently if their gym routine included beating up angry angels.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          Well, it’s indeed hard, but then Bayonetta is more or less THE ultimate badass. And the other dudette™ is nothing to scoff at either. You could also say that their looks and their sexualization is an instrument, but i think it’s far more than that, they really think they are one step above anything else and they revel in putting up a show.

          I think the danger however is in the inverse psychology, most of the male characters with the exception of the merchant are clumsly and “slow” as opposed to the females, which is actually the upside down of the usual tropes and nothing more complex than that, so you could still say that they didn’t really start any revolution.

          Eitherway, as dE pointed out, i’d bet my own life that the majority of the negative comments come from those who never played it with an open mind, let alone even touching the game in the first place.

    • altum videtur says:

      After Revengeance, everything seems a bit… sedate.

  10. Nenjin says:

    The review confirms the assumptions I’d formed after the last series of articles on the game.

    Seriously though, the biggest failing of any Castlevania game is to have boring environments. The environment is arguably the most interesting and enduring character of the whole series. Modern sewers and parking garages? In a Castlevania game? What misguided soul thought that was a cool choice?

  11. Stellar Duck says:

    “I’m not one to throw out the ludonarrative dissonance card for no reason[...]”

    Drink!

  12. NailBombed says:

    Yep, another nail in the MercurySteam reboot Castlevania coffin. Get WayForward or Vanillaware to make a proper 2/2.5D Classicvania or Metroidvania and bring the series back to where it’s supposed to be, in the shoes of an actual Belmont opposing Dracula, not pseudo-Belmont Dracula.

    • Philomelle says:

      Not to be anal, but the series hasn’t starred a Belmont since 2003. In fact, there have been only two games since Symphony of the Night where the protagonist was a Belmont. Four if you count the Rondo of Blood remake and the non-canonical Circle of the Moon.

      Playing around with that conflict really isn’t the issue of the Lords of Shadow trilogy; a lot of people enjoyed how the first and second games did it. But apparently the development team completely falls apart when Hideo Kojima isn’t there to babysit them every step of the way.

    • Baines says:

      WayForward? That would only lead to a mediocre game with pretty graphics.

      I’m a fan of Vanillaware, but Muramasa was shallow and heavily padded. Vanillaware also has the issue of being managed by an artist. While it means that they release pretty games that aren’t over designed/managed by suits, it also means that Vanillaware can end up in potentially dangerous financial states and can take way too long to release an individual title.

  13. Darko Drako says:

    “You do the math.”

    Please cut off your hands Rich.

    May I request that RPS implement an auto-correct for their writers and posters “math” -> MATHS

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      Meh.

    • grover says:

      “You do the math” is an idiomatic American expression, so to use the British “maths” would be quite wrong.

      • MadTinkerer says:

        “Math” is a broad subject not unlike “Science” or “English”. When one talks about different dialects of English, one does not refer to them as “Englishes”. The term “doing maths”, when referring to only arithmetic, is an artifact of past attempts to force French grammar and spelling onto English English, which we Colonials sadly missed out on. However, our more-Shakespearean-than-modern-English grammar, spelling, and accents were not a terrible consolation prize.

        • Pinlive says:

          Aah, I always assumed the British “Maths” was a single word contraction (shortened form of words that begin and end with the same letters as the original) while the American “math” was an abbreviation (a shortened form of a word that does NOT end in the same letter as the original).

          So Americans study “mathematic”, while us Brits learn “mathematics”. You live and learn.

        • Ergates_Antius says:

          No, “maths” is simply a contraction of “mathematic[b]s[/s]“, it’s not a plural. It ends in an “s” because the full word ends in an “s”.

          • Pinlive says:

            I might be wrong, but I think (in British usage) that mathematics is a false plural, that is to say the word is a mass noun with an illusionary “s”. So Commonwealth English users would study “mathematics” and contract to maths, no plural being involved. (Like contracting government to govt) .

            I was under the impression that Americans also study mathematics but abbreviate to math (such as December to Dec.). Both are equally correct but one should technically finish an abbreviation with a full stop (Tues., not Tues).

      • Harlander says:

        It’s like people calling things “kick-arse” or “bad-arse”. It just sounds off somehow.

    • Sidewinder says:

      Hmmm… X-Y-Z<X. That's really only one operation, so even allowing for oceanic confusion, no, "maths" would be incorrect in this case.

      And while I'm well aware that what could be seen as increasing Americanism in a UK publication could be unnerving, a culture that refers to a conversation covering golf, cricket, and basketball as being about "sport". Let's try to be a little more understanding, shall we?

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      A wise man once said: If you have a lisp, there’s no point in trying to add another “s” to the ends of your words.

      • altum videtur says:

        “A wise man once said: If you have a lisp, there’s no point in trying to add another “s” to the ends of your words.”
        -Plato
        [citation required]

    • frightlever says:

      We only call it “maths” because language changed to embrace the popular contraction. I’m sure “maths” was decried by grey-bearded old fuddy-duddies, like you, back in the day. Popular culture will roll right over you and history will mock your futile attempt to cling to the language of your grand-parents.

  14. Jalan says:

    Even that shot of him in the car park makes it seem like he’s depressed/forlorn to be in such a game.

  15. Behrditz says:

    Strongest Vampire in the universe, forced to stealth around guys that will kill him in a futuristic (to him) environment? Combat that took a downturn from a previous entry? So you’re saying its Castlevania: Blood Omen 2

  16. Frypan Jack says:

    Imagining this comment being screeched by an angry squirrel wearing a vest for some reason made me laugh out loud. So thanks?

    • Adam Smith says:

      Sorry to scatter the branches of that particular quote tree – spluttering rage can be amusing but ugly language directed at writers and/or readers makes me take an axe to the root of the problem.

      I’ve saved a copy of the message for posterity and possible use in my upcoming hip hopera Trapped In The Comments.

      • Cara Ellison says:

        I love you Adam. You are like a Mancunian Indiana Jones of Comments

      • bill says:

        Given the way RPS’s comments work, wouldn’t it be better to simply delete the content of the comment and replace it with something like “[comment deleted for idiocy - RPS]”
        that way we could keep the threading slightly understandable.

        Although I don’t know if that would work with banning users, though I don’t know if that happened in this case.

        Coming to this thread later has been rather confusing….

      • jrodman says:

        I hope this means we won’t get to enjoy comments from that poster in the future. He or she was a consistent detractor for the last year or so.

  17. Consumatopia says:

    Could you please make a youtube video in which you explain how awesome LoS2 is and how shitty reviewers refuse to admit this? Come on, it’s easy, just work yourself into being really mad, then turn on a camera. It will be great and I totally promise that I won’t laugh at you.

  18. AngelTear says:

    ..and yes I’m fucking angry..

    Good, at least you know why I’m sure your comment will soon be moderated (read: deleted). Next time learn to present your opinion without throwing insults in between every word =)

    • toxic avenger says:

      These people are the same people that cannot stand when a reviewer has a different opinion than they do, yet don’t have the language skills or finesse to explain why the author may be mistaken (which should always be done with an air of “oh, well!” if the author lays out his points articulately, like this author did).

      The question always gets asked: Are games art?
      After reading comments like that, I have to reply: Do gamers really care?

  19. Philomelle says:

    “I’ve seen the games you give big scores to Rich.. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.”

    You must be stalking him quite thoroughly, given that Rich posts an average of one review per month. Funny thing, I found that all of them so far were spot-on regarding how the game feels to play.

    That said, it doesn’t matter where the stealth part is within the game or how it functions. The problem is that slow-paced stealth with huge penalties for failure is actually present in a game where you play as an immortal vampire who can turn into mist and bats, as well as possess and hypnotize people. The mechanic’s very existence is a problem because it wrecks the player’s immersion and suspension of disbelief. You find yourself stopping and asking “Why the fuck couldn’t I possess the asshole who spotted me and erase his memories the same way I can do with enemies during non-stealth sections of the game?”

    It’s a section that exists just to exist, not because it makes any narrative or gameplay sense. And that is both a problem and a mark of serious lack of direction.

    • malkav11 says:

      Stealth in a game that is not about stealth and does not have appropriately robust stealth mechanics is the sort of thing that causes me to pitch games out the metaphorical window in rage, so I think that alone will be enough for me to skip this one.

  20. FuzzyZealot says:

    So, what we’re left with from RProxyOn’y's post is:

    “SUPPOSEDLY …. THIS GAME IS FUCKING AWESOME… (it’s) FAR … NOT

    TO EVERYONE ELSE.. DON’T BELIEVE THIS SHIT… BUT … NOT (DON’T?) … FIND OUT FOR YOURSELF”

    Hooray for hidden messages.

  21. Nenjin says:

    He’s not lying in that the Steam reviews are, by and large, all positive and most people with 6+ hours into the game. The negative reviews are not what I’d call strong, incisive indictments of it.

    On the other hand, he’s so angry it makes you wonder if his paycheck is riding on the success of the game :P

    What seems to be crucial is this: did you like the first game? Did you think it was a brilliant re-imagining of a classic series and hit all the high notes? (Visuals, gameplay, story, ect..) Well, then you’ll like LoS 2 and its brand of everything.

    On the other, if you thought LoS 1 was a poor man’s DMC and wondered where all the Castle was in Castlevania, and weren’t impressed by the paying XP to level moves or by the boring collectibles, or the story (which was ok but nothing to really write home about) LoS 2 is probably not offering you something you want.

    • Philomelle says:

      I very strongly disagree with that. I enjoyed Lords of Shadow very thoroughly, in part because I played it right after replaying C3, Rondo of Blood and Order of Ecclesia right before it, so I could spot all the marvelous little references to the original pre-reboot timeline. There are numerous tiny things that it really nailed down that made me feel like these guys really know the franchise they’re working with.

      LoS2 sounds like I won’t enjoy it at all. I cannot stand tiny gameplay mechanics that shatter my immersion to pieces (Why would the all-powerful vampire king who can transform into mist and befuddle the minds of mortals need to stealth?), plus it sounds like both the gameplay and the narrative lost their focus. I sincerely hoped LOS2 would be more of the same, but everyone I spoke to contradicts that. Everyone makes the relationship between the two games sound more like the relationship between DMC and its dreadfully confused sequel.

      • Nenjin says:

        I guess that’s a level of familiarity I never reached with LoS 1. I got perhaps 85% through the game and just kind of lost interest because I didn’t need to know how it ended, and there were no secrets left to pry out of it. From the outside it’s like someone who didn’t like DMC 4, who views the new one as the same game with the things they didn’t like dialed up to an 11. If I don’t feel compelled to finish a game like LoS, it usually doesn’t have me running out to get the sequel.

  22. Wut The Melon says:

    D:

    I wanted this to be good, so badly… The first game was decent, but pretty much everything it did some other game has done better. It just seemed as if it had so much potential to turn into a great game. Such a shame Mercury Steam apparently haven’t managed to do that.

  23. commentingaccount says:

    Sucks that it seems to, well, suck. I liked the first LOS, much of the metroidvanias, and Mirror of Fate, and apparently this isn’t a worthy follow up to any of that.

  24. kwyjibo says:

    I would love to see a post-mortem of this game, maybe in a year or so when the developers are ready to talk and trying to assuage the press that the next game won’t be as shit. How did MercurySteam fuck it up so badly? Was it overambition? Poor leadership? Lack of oversight?

  25. TheIronSky says:

    Wait, the first Lords of Shadow got things right? I can’t remember a game I’ve played that afforded me less player agency. I think I screamed at my monitor for nearly every painful, suffocating, choke-point-imbued moment of it. It’s probably on my list of “least favorite game experiences ever.” I regret buying it and this review reads like a confirmation of all of my negative energy towards the series. I’m glad I won’t be missing out on this year’s “surprise hit.”

  26. TheManko says:

    Played the demo and it sucked. Every aspect of the gameplay feels like a complete wreck. The platforming has as many help features as they could throw at it to make the godawful level design bearable, while the combat is probably the worst this genre has ever seen. And this is even before we get to the stealth sequences! The visuals and music are great, but the game itself is worse than Devil May Cry 2.

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  28. jerkbutt says:

    Despite gaming “journalists” teaming up on the game, plagiarizing each others gripes (ie: The poorly done but minor stealth), this game is genuinely good. A better story, better combat than DMC.

  29. khomotso says:

    Having a real hard time trying to see how that 7th paragraph squares against the rest of the review

    “I enjoyed Lords of Shadow. It had fun combat and an interesting story …” wut?

    I can imagine a review which makes a nuanced case for that remark while keeping the other criticisms in place. This review isn’t that one.

  30. Totally heterosexual says:

    HAHAHA

    EAT SHIT KONAMI

  31. Jason Moyer says:

    “I enjoyed Lords of Shadow.”

    You kind of lost me there.

  32. xzcnv says:

    “Wot” isn’t a word and isn’t amusing, ‘tards. Try being at least slightly professional and literate.

  33. Sweetz says:

    I just finished the game and while I was disappointed by it as a huge fan of LoS1, to a certain extent I find this review more concerned with striking an overly harsh tone to entertain than being a useful criticism of the game (à la Zero Punctuation or Cynical Brit).

    Honestly, I wish the game was just more of LoS1, but then reviewers would likely complain about how it didn’t innovate, even though God of War, Zelda, and similar get passes for being the same thing over and over, provided they’re not egregiously bad.

    There are things in this game that feel almost like the developers paid too much attention to reviewers (or Konami forced them to) instead of making what they thought was good. This is not a good idea since I find few games reviewers understand game design well enough to accurately articulate what’s bad about a game as opposed to commenting on “general feelings” of a problem.

    For example, many complained of the fixed camera in the first game, when really a fixed camera is not intrinsically bad, but merely there were a few dodgy angles. In response, LoS2 has a ho-hum controllable behind the back camera and loses amazing, sweeping shots of it’s fantastic architecture in the bargain. This is directly responsible for the much of the loss of a perceived “epic” feeling when compared to the first game.

    Similarly I feel like the stealth sections (which are indeed more frustrating than fun, and feel out of place) were a reaction to complaints that the game did little to distinguish itself from its brawler brethren.

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