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    Is Lords of Shadow Worthy of the Castlevania Legacy?

    Hardcore Castlevania junkies like myself have some reason for excitement, as Castlevania: Lords of Shadow was recently given a finalized release date; October 5th. With the date cemented in place, Konami has whipped up a casket of new media to give would-be vampire hunters a wooden stake in their pants. Of course, Castlevania purists may already be jaded by Lords of Shadow, but until we're able to actually play through the game, we have nothing to run on but speculation. So let's speculate, have at you

    The first, and most notable reason, is because it's the latest attempt to successfully bring the Castlevania series out of the second dimension. Previous attempts have failed miserably by the critics standpoint. I can say, without any fear of ridicule, that I kinda liked Lament of Innocence on the PS2. The gameplay felt a little clunky in 3D, but in it's heart, it tried it's best to be a true Castlevania game, and as a die hard, that's why I respect it. As I write this, I only now realize I have never played Curse of Darkness, and I'm kicking myself for that, but I plan to find a cheap copy somewhere shortly after I finish this article. However, Curse of Darkness still suffers the same critical stigmata Lament of Innocence faced. It just doesn't feel right, thus not making it a proper Castlevania title. I wont waste more than a sentence on Castlevania's N64 incarnations, not worth my keystrokes. Castlevania in 3D clearly doesn't have the best of pedigrees, so it's understandable if the masses are wary.

    Secondly, Lords of Shadow was not designed from the ground up as a Castlevania title. The story goes, Konami had multiple prototypes being simultaneously developed, and chose Lords of Shadows' pitch to continue development as the latest tale in the Belmont family diary. Do I trust that a game without a face for a good chunk of it's development can just be branded with the hallowed Castlevania label and be everything that I've always wanted a 3D Dracula-battle-royale to be? I want to. At this point however, I don't. 

    Third, is the involvement of a fresh set of faces, and the departure of old familiars. Spanish developers MercurySteam, most notable for their smash hit Clive Barker's Jericho, take the reigns for what is the first western designed Castlevania title. Twenty four years of Japanese designed games, and now, the game that will surely make or break Castlevania's legacy in 3D is a western experiment. Mainstay producer since Symphony of the Night, Koji Igarashi is out of the picture, which could be grounds for concern. Metal Gear Solid vet Hideo Kojima takes his place (alongside David "Who?" Cox) which would be a little reassuring if I wanted get past the many sadistic denizens of the manor Castlevania in a cardboard box, or spend fifty percent of my play time watching cut scenes. While the loss of Michiru Yamane tragically slays my desire for her virtuosity, I'm sure Konami knows that driving guitars spliced with haunting synthesizers and creepy ambiance is the way to any Castlevania junkie's  heart. So I'm scratching my head with the involvement of Spanish composer Óscar Araujo and his 120-piece orchestra. I guess that means we won't have any of the head-nodding Castlevania tunes we've had in the past, in favor of the overused-and-underwhelming-symphonic-Hans-Zimmer-style-movie-score that games need to stop fucking with.

    There's much to look forward to about Lords of Shadow, but with all the variables involved, it's hard to be truly excited for Konami's latest vampire slaying tale. Sadly, as much as I know it shouldn't be, this wild card of a game will probably be a day one purchase for me. Will my $60 be wasted, and my copy of Lords of Shadow sacrificed to Death in order to bring forth a pure evil to cleanse this world of shitty 3D Castlevania titles forever? We'll have to wait until October 5th to find out. Just a month and a half to go.

    Reader Comments (1)

    I... agree. I'm not buying it, seeing as how a demo has been available for the past month and Konami felt it was important to snub all of it's fans. I like trying before I buy. But more importantly, I've been playing Order of Ecclesia recently, and I can say without doubt it is the best Castlevania game I have ever played. The issue is moot for me. I imagine this game will have more to do with God of War (Since all third person action games emulate it) than Castelvania.

    October 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJared

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