Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Castlevania Lords of Shadow 2 PC Demo impressions

Castlevania Lords of Shadow 2 is the second game of the Castlevania reboot and the last game of the Lords of Shadow saga.

   The game continues the story of Gabriel Belmont a champion of the Brotherhood of Light, who became Dracula the Prince of Darkness by absorbing the powers of the demon Forgotten One at the end of Lords of Shadow epilogue. The story of the game will cover a period of over a thousand years, showing Dracula in his prime fighting the Brotherhood of Light together with the ghosts of his human past and a weakened Dracula in the modern age awakened by an old "friend" to prepare for the coming of Satan.
It is unclear whether the major events from Mirror of Fate, a  Nintendo 3DS exclusive that continues the story from the first game, will be presented in Lords of Shadow 2 for the players unfamiliar with the new story development.
   In the Demo we get to play a small part of a battle at Dracula's Castle which is under siege by the Brotherhood of Light forces who are desperately trying to destroy Dracula. The Demo is a Tutorial and doesn't show any moments that could be considered spoilers, as everything in this demo was part of videos released for the game.
  Now that you have become Dracula you get a new set of abilities and weapons replacing the ones you had as a human. These new powers should be used for different situations and in a combination that can turn the scale of battle in the player's favor.
  Because the combat cross was destroyed by Gabriel at the end of Lords of Shadow, the protagonist, now a vampire, has received a new weapon to replace it. A chain of blood is used now in order to perform the normal attacks with similar animations as the combat cross chain attacks.
The finishing moves changed as well, now you suck the blood of the human victims healing a small portion of your life in the process.
But the most important additions to Dracula's powers, shown in the demo, are two new weapons:

The Void Sword is a vampiric mid-range weapon replacing the light magic from the previous game and has the ability to steal life from the enemies you are hitting and heals you in return. The Void Sword has both single target and area of effect attacks and requires energy in order to use it. The energy replenishes quite fast and I'm not sure if this is part of the game mechanics or just because the Demo is a Tutorial and is deliberately easier.
Void Sword slashing through enemies.

Chaos Claws, the second new weapon, is a pair of flaming fist weapons which replace the dark magic from Lords of Shadow. The Chaos Claws are designed to be used to break the shields of the enemies weakening them for your other attacks. Similar to the Void Sword, the claws attacks use their own energy, energy that regenerates just as the sword's. The claws have both single target and area of effect attacks and can be used for special attacks as well.
Chaos Claws breaking a shield.

Interviews with the game's creators have confirmed that both of these new weapons can be upgraded in order to receive new combos and special attacks.
   Even if the combat has the same style as the previous game, based on dodging, blocking attacks and counter-attacking, the new weapons and enemies together with their new mechanics make the combat more dynamic and tactical. Overall the combat is more visceral, fluent and with better animations, but the biggest improvements for PC are the free camera and in-game full mouse support, which allow the player to always see the surroundings without being hit from blind spots and helps for better positioning in combat. The gamepad is no longer required to fully enjoy the game anymore.
   On the technical part, the graphics of the game have improved a lot compared to its predecessor, with better textures and models. Although not at the top standards of PC gaming,  the game doesn't look like just a console port anymore. The music in the game is phenomenal and really captures the feeling of this series, the orchestral background is absolutely epic and I could listen to it for hours without getting tired of it.

   Castlevania Lords of Shadow was never a game I was waiting for and it was a big surprise to me when I played it on PC last year because of the interesting world and captivating story. From the demo, Lords of Shadow 2 seems like a very good game and I look forward to seeing the epic conclusion to this saga.

Pre-purchase it or download the demo on Steam.  The game will be available for PC on the 25th February, 2014. You get 10% off if you pre-purchase it now.

Nodrim and TopSOUL

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