Friday, March 8, 2013

Demo Time: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate (3DS)

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate was released for the Nintedo 3DS three days ago on March 5th, 2013.  I recently had a chance to play the demo, which was available through Nintendo's eShop.  After spending 37 minutes on a single play through of the demo, I feel like it did it's job.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect having only watched the trailer that was released during the 2012 E3 and while there wasn't a whole lot of game play footage, I was still very excited about a new Castlevania game.  The biggest downside for me though, was that this is a sequel to a Castlevania game that I have never played.  I'm assuming that the "Lords of Shadow" tagline will be present in all the subsequent re-boots that began in December 2010 with Castlevania: Lords of Shadow released exclusively on PS3 and XBox 360.  And as it turns out, the development company of the Castlevania reboot series is not specifically Konami, but Spain based MercurySteam, so kudos to them first off for not only creating a reboot of a Japanese standard, but apparently doing it successfully enough to warrant more than one game.

I still find it interesting and on some levels annoying that a series will have different games available only on certain systems.  Take this Castlevania series for example.  C:LoS was released on PS3 and 360, C:Los-MoF will only be released on the 3DS and later this year, C:LoS2 will be released on PS3, 360 and for the PC.  It's one thing for a series like Final Fantasy, which do not have connected storylines to have their games on different platforms, but for someone like me who likes continuing stories and to not have a system that a game is on, it just makes me sad.  And, at the moment, I'm not so hard up to play Lords of Shadow to go out and buy a PS3 or 360.

Anyway!  The Mirror of Fate demo, that's why we're here.  Upon downloading, the demo lets you know that you have 30 play-throughs, which is quite a lot when you consider that it took me 37 minutes to complete a single play-through.  There wasn't any lead in, intro or explanation as to who you were or what you were doing and where.  But let's be honest, you don't always need that in a Castlevania game.  The demo consisted of four areas and two boss type characters that reminded me a lot of the original NES Castlevania game: start outside of the castle, cross a drawbridge, go through a church, go underground then battle outside of the main castle.  There were skeletons throwing bones, knights wielding axes what I might suspect to be Flea Men although they didn't attack, but were just there. 

The music too seemed very Castlevania-y, although it didn't sound like Michiru Yamane, the frequently used composer for the Castlevania series.  The tone of the music was more "background" although it did a great job in setting a dark, semi-serious tone.  I can't think of the music though at the moment, meaning I wasn't memorable as "Vampire Killer," but that's that.   the composer for the games in the Lords of Shadow series has been Oscar Araujo and from what music is "available" in the demo, it fits very well.

The game play itself reminded me a lot of God of War, in that you had a basic whip attack, a slightly slower whip attack and when you combined those with the jump ability, you could perform different types of attacks.  For instance, when you jumped and power attacked, you would flip with your whip out and hit whatever it is that is under you mid jump; when you power attacked then jumped, you would spin in a circle creating a cyclone-like whip attack.  Other Castlevania-y type things that went on were using your whip Indiana Jones style to swing across gaps and special sub-weapons, which included in the demo was a boomerang-type blade reminiscent of something from Blade II.  That in mind, the demo played very much like any other Castlevania 2D side scrolling platformer, which while it is not entirely new or inventive, it is still fun and familiar with just enough new elements to keep the game interesting.

Now onto the 3D aspect of the game.  Overall, the 3Dness of the game was very well done and looked great, although there were some times when the 3D blurred a bit, possibly from the rotating camera and I wasn't properly adjusting, or I was just being too excited and kept moving the screen closer or farther away.  During both of the boss fights though, I turned the 3D slider "off" so that I could focus on trying to kill the creature and not dying.

All-in-all, the demo was a lot of fun and even though I died frequently figuring out the controls, the weapons, the enemies and such, it definitely got the point across and has made me eager to purchase the game, which is the whole point of demos being available.  Success on the Castlevania front from MercurySteam.  Good job all.

This Music Makes Me Sad, But That's It's Job

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