Castlevania: Lords Of Shadow Successfully Rebooted An Aging Series, And Its Sequel Ruined It

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The Castlevania series' 35th anniversary is bittersweet for fans of MercurySteam's first Lords of Shadow game because they can't forget the sequel.

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When Castlevania is discussed today--at this point far-removed from any new games in the series--we often hear about the same few retro titles. The original game paved the way for other action-platformers. Symphony of the Night influenced decades of non-linear action-RPGs, including a long line of great games on the Game Boy Advance và DS.

However, another game rarely discussed in these conversations, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, was a radical departure from the series" past that drew more from Zeldomain authority & God of War than it did from Castlevania. Its departures from the series" conventions only helped make its big twist even more unexpected--và its ending was so badass that it only made Lords of Shadow 2 more disappointing.

Spoilers for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow series to follow!

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Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate HD

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow and its 3DS sequel Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate (yes, it"s a bad name) both play on existing expectations of Castlevania lore, even regarding existing characters. In the original canon, as well as the Netflix animated series, Trevor Belmont--a vampire-hunter & Castlevania III protagonist--và Dracula"s son Alucard are separate people. They"re often together, & occasionally battle each other. This isn"t the case here--via Mirror of Fate"s reverse-chronological story, we learn Trevor became Aluthẻ after being killed by Dracula, who just so happened to be his father. Dracula only realized this as Trevor drew his last breaths, và the son woke as a vampire on a personal mission lớn destroy Dracula. It"s a twist that subverts our expectations while also feeling in line with the previous version of Aluthẻ, & it gives more emotional weight & meaning to lớn the young vampire"s mission.

Both of these games were setting the stage for an incredible finale--for a game that would see Dracula fight the literal Satung, cure his immortality, and die knowing that he had redeemed himself, reverting from prince of darkness to the brave sầu warrior who loved his family he had once been. He would finally team up with Aluthẻ to fight a comtháng enemy, with father và son conquering their personal demons while slaughtering an army of literal ones.

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What a horrible night lớn have a sequel

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2

It"s just a shame we never got that game, because Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2"s story sucks. No, not in a fun vampire way, but in such a confusing way that it seemed lượt thích completely different people wrote it. Characters" motivations seem to completely change from one game to the next, particularly with regard to lớn Patrick Stewart"s Zobek--a character you have khổng lồ fight unexpectedly in one of the worst boss fights of the entire game. There were improvements made elsewhere, to be fair, particularly with more complex & flashy combat, as well as a free-turning camera in place of the fixed one from the first game. But, even if your combat is fantastic, there needs to lớn be a reason to fight, và Lords of Shadow 2 just doesn"t seem khổng lồ know what that reason is.

Did different people write the games? Well, partially. Director và MercurySteam studio head Enric Alvarez was one of four writers, alongside producer Dave Cox, on the first game. Alvarez"s writing contributions appear to have been greater in Lords of Shadow 2, with "written & directed by" in the credits. Cox, meanwhile, is not listed as a writer on Lords of Shadow 2 but did get a writing credit on Mirror of Fate. Whatever the reason was, however, it"s striking how little respect Lords of Shadow 2 seemed khổng lồ have for all of the cài đặt & earned emotional moments from the previous games.

It seemed all too eager khổng lồ throw them out without a good reason why, save for having another "twist" that didn"t feel as earned as the original Gabriel-is-Dracula reveal did. Rather than fulfill his destiny và finally rest, Dracula chooses lớn destroy the Mirror of Fate và forge his own destiny. Out of context, it sounds lượt thích a cool way to kết thúc the series, but this is a man who has wanted lớn die for literally hundreds of years. Twists work when the seeds have sầu been planted without the audience realizing it. They don"t work lượt thích the one in Lords of Shadow 2, as it seemed lớn have been chosen entirely at random.

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Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 should have sầu been an incredible and bittersweet conclusion khổng lồ the personal tale of one of gaming"s most tragic characters. Instead, it sullied what came before it, giving each twist less meaning & leaving us wondering if Gabriel Belmont"s whole story had been a waste of time. The only reason I"m still thinking about the game more than eight years after it was released is because it could have--and should have--been so much more. MercurySteam had already done the unthinkable by producing a reboot of a classic gaming franchise that players actually liked, but it seemed khổng lồ second-guess every decision it had made in that game when developing Lords of Shadow 2. If the team ever wants khổng lồ call a mulligan và just try again, I"m willing to pretkết thúc the first Lords of Shadow 2 never existed. Well, except for this.