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E3 2012 | Mirror of Fate Blends Old with New

Posted on June 7, 2012 AT 09:15pm

Some of the best games for Nintendo’s 3DS console at E3 this year have been from third party companies.  Heading over to the Konami booth, I happened to stumble across Castlevania Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate.  Creating a great mixture of the 2D gameplay we all love on portable Castlevania games and the awesome visuals of the recent console release, this is one game to keep a very close eye on.

Set 25 years after the events of Lords of Shadow, you take control of several different characters including Trevor Belmont and Alucard.  The demo featured a section of the game with Trevor using the combat cross to traverse through the environment and take down enemies both big and small.  The gameplay is closer to the 2D platforming titles in the series and fans will feel right at home.  The areas took me everywhere from walking along a cobblestone pathway, crouching underground, climbing chandeliers in a chapel and a bridge with a particularly nasty boss.

The combat cross battle mechanics felt very natural.  Switching between direct and area attacks, you can chain together huge hits that’ll take down all the baddies around you.  The special items make a return as well with an electric throwing star playable in the demo.  Enemies start out as small skeletons that aren’t that hard to take down, but they can put themselves back together after they’ve been defeated.  Some of them are also holding shields and you can either jump behind them or wait for their attack to strike.  If you stun an enemy, you can also perform a grab move that finishes them in one blow.  Occasionally you’ll bump into a bigger baddie that’ll be a little harder to take down.  If you watch for a little flash of light, they telegraph their moves so you have a chance to dodge.

I was surprised by the difficulty of the demo, but also a bit impressed.  In a world filled with games that you can breeze through really easily, it’s nice to play a game that presents more of a challenge.  The last boss specifically took quite a bit of patience and maneuvering to get around and finish it off.  This gave me a great sense of accomplishment when the boss finally went down.

The rest of the game involved getting from point A to B.  a red dot on your map on the bottom screen pointed to your current objective which usually involved either a switch, cutscene or enemy encounter.  There was a particular climbing sequence where you could grab onto ledges and swing around using the combat cross to navigate a chapel ceiling.  Taking great advantage of the graphical capabilities of the 3DS, this game is beautiful.  The environments and characters look great and the depth added by the 3D of Nintendo’s system really make everything pop.  The was even a chuckle-worthy 3D gag in one of the cutscenes as the final boss of the demo tosses one of their handlers towards the screen.

The 3DS is really starting to hit its stride and third parties like Konami have a lot to do with that.  Castlevania Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate looks to be a great example of what the system can do.  Fans of the series and the original Lords of Shadow should definitely check this game out when it releases.

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