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Have You Played... Castlevania: Lords Of Shadow?

Goth of War

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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Lords of Shadow doesn’t play like a regular 2d Castlevania game. While there are unlockable abilities that allow you to return to levels and discover new pathways and treasures, it’s a much more linear action adventure. Every played God of War? This is Goth of War. With Shadow of the Colossus type mega-battles against giant enemies.

I love Lords of Shadow. It does loads of things and doesn’t do any of them as well as they’ve been done elsewhere, but it’s the gaming equivalent of junk food. Or a really solid B movie.

You’ve got Patrick Stewart and Robert Carlyle turning in vocal performances that are equal parts hammy and earnest, an plot that veers between monstrous gothic camp and laboured love story, and an upgradeable weapon that is literally a big old cross on a chain.

Yes, this is a game in which you swing a cross on a chain around your head and wallop vampires and werebeasties in the face with it. The crushing combination of a holy symbol and a massive lump of metal smashes just about anything you meet.

Combat is simple enough for just about anyone who’s comfortable with third-person action games to master, the titanic battles are EXACTLY like a cut-rate version of Shadow of the Colossus, and the environments are exactly what you’d expect. Death swamps, creepy castles, elemental temples.

Lords of Shadow doesn’t have more than a couple of original bones in its land of monsters, vampires and skellingtons, but it’s as solid an action game as you’re likely to play. There’s some inventive level design and puzzling later in the story and…fuck it, I’m going to play through the whole thing again. I still haven’t touched the sequel.

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