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Hackneyed & Slash: Castlevania: Lords Of Shadow Demo

I remain mystified as to why third-person action games called Castlevania exist. Why take one of the most inventive and interesting side-scrolling RPG platforming series, and reduce it down to the same combo-driven button mashing combat-fest that dominates so much of the console market? If this demo of the 2010 console game, Castlevania: Lords Of Shadow, finally ported to PC on the 27th August, is supposed to convince me otherwise, it’s failed.

The 2GB demo offers very little indeed. It begins with a millionty hour long opening sequence, narrated by Captain Jean Luc Xavier, in which BLAH BLAH BLAH WHO CARES. Then you get to go through the dreary combat tutorial, killing a bunch of were-rats. Then a horse-riding sequence that wouldn’t have felt out of place in a 1986 movie tie-in release from Ocean. And then done.

If you’ve been dying to play the game in unappreciably sharper graphics three years on, then your chance is coming soon! If you want to put yourself off the idea, you can get the demo from Steam now. I understand the full game is supposed to be pretty decent, but sadly that impression is not available here. And I still can’t get past its simply not being a Castlevania game. If Metroid releases itself as a top-down farm management sim, the phrase “metroidvania” will be completely mystifying to future generations.

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John Walker

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