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E3 2013 | Lords of Shadow 2 Puts You In Dracula’s Fangs

Posted on June 11, 2013 AT 04:32pm

The camera slowly pans around from the back of a giant stone throne. There, looking almost bored and holding a goblet, sits Dracula. A low rumble shakes the room and manages to grab Dracula’s attention. He takes one last sip from the goblet and tosses it in front of him as he stands to face the threat. The rumbling gets louder and louder until  the door gives way to the giant battering ram. As the nervous knights pour into the room, Dracula reclaims his cup from the floor and proclaims “What a timely coincidence. I’m dying for a little drop of blood.” This sets the scene for the E3 demo of PS3 and 360 title Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2.

Putting you in the shoes of a recently-weakened Dracula, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 puts you back in control of the vampire and does a wonderful job of improving the combat from the previous game. The demo immediately takes you through a combat tutorial and very clearly explains the different mechanics that can be used in battle. Three weapons are available during the demo: the combat cross returns from the previous game as the default weapon; the chaos claws allow you to overheat an enemy shields until they shatter; the void sword steals health from the opponent it’s striking. When a enemy was weakened enough by your barrage of attacks, you can drain them of their blood by performing a quick-time event. Drinking blood will eventually allow you to power up your abilities, as well as being a lot of fun.

I absolutely loved the clear and simple nature of the controls for combat. Blocking, countering, dodging and switching weapons all feels natural and I was able to jump in very quickly without much of that awkward “getting used to it” time. At the same time, the different functions of each weapon mean’t that it was often necessary to switch between them which added a layer of complexity to the combat to keep it interesting.

After plowing through the initial wave of enemies, Dracula emerged from his throne room to find a giant robot paladin attacking him from his doorstep. In addition, a winged-knight with golden armor flies to and we get our first boss-type fight. This was a great showcase of the need to switch between the different weapons as I found myself swapping to the void sword to regain health and then back to chaos claws for damage.

After the fight, in which the knight turns tail and flies away, the giant robot takes to the offensive and Dracula jumps onto its arm in an effort to chase after our golden friend. The follow sequence has you climbing all around the mech’s body looking for the source giving it power. The fact the this sequence seemed to scream God of War at the top of its lungs is certainly not a bad thing, because it did an excellent job of creating the scale that makes taking down behemoths so much fun.

While climbing around, occasionally Dracula finds himself trapped behind a door sealed down with three latches. Luckily, the golden knight makes an appearance to fire projectiles at you that just happen to be powerful enough to destroy these latches. There are several of these sequences and the objective is fairly transparent from the get-go, so I did eventually get a little frustrated when, for the third time, the camera zooms in on each latch individually drilling in a concept I had down the first time.

Once Dracula arrives at the top of the robo-paladin, revealing the glowy-crystal that is the power source, he vomits an impressive stream of blood all over it which corrupts and them destroys the generator. After Dracula pulls himself out of the piles of wreckage that used to be the robo-paladin, he finds a pissed golden knight standing there ready for one more battle to the finish.

If you’re looking for one more fling on your current-generation consoles before new ones dominate the holiday season, this is certainly one to consider. Easy to learn and fun to play combat is met with a very interesting continuation of the Castlevania: Lords of Shadow storyline. Keep your eye on this one, it’s definitely worth your time.

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