Though it’s one of the most storied franchises in all of gaming, I’ve largely ignored Castlevania. Having only played bits of the original, and Super Castlevania IV, its demon-slaying action didn’t grab me at the time. Though I understand that Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is revered as one of the greatest games of all-time, I’ve passed on it repeatedly, knowing that I’m terrible at the Metroid style of world.
If it weren’t for the God of War influence, coming across it for cheap, and my girlfriend wanting to play this together, I probably would have passed on Lords of Shadow too. After a year or so of it sitting on my shelf, I finally gave it a shot recently.
Though my experience with the franchise is limited, it was clear to me that I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. This plays almost identically to a God of War style game, from the moment-to-moment combat, to its use of powers, as well as its puzzle-solving, and traversal elements. It’s easy to knock this game for being a rip-off, but during my time with it, I was really surprised with how well done, and fun it was.
I was really ready to commit to playing this game in full, until I got to the Sanctuary Entrance, which is only a few hours into the game. It requires you to traverse around this area to collect 4 shards, before you ultimately loop back around to the beginning. Going through this loop was pretty tough, as the enemy encounters were really difficult. I died a whole bunch trying to get through this. When I circled around, I realized I was missing 2 of the pieces, and would have to retrace my steps.
To my dismay, all of the enemies I struggled through the first time re-spawned. At this point, I shut the game off immediately and moved on. I cannot stand re-spawning enemies, and their conclusion here was totally unnecessary. If this was a sign of things to come, I don’t want anything to do with it.
Did I drop it a bit too soon? Probably. Everything else about the game was pretty awesome. However, I have a lot of other games to play, and a low tolerance for those types of poor design choices. Maybe someday I’ll get over it, but for now, back to the shelf it goes.