Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
I bought the game since I was a Castlevania fan since its NES days and nothing would have stopped me from getting this game. Even after hearing the reviews done before it's release and the comparisons drawn from it's gameplay, I would rate this as a very good game.
9.5 Presentation: The story is very good, a bit deviating from the typical Castlevania series (which usually the main villain is Dracula) but the premise and the way the story is told make up for any (lack?) of Dracula (I haven't finished the game but who knows if he turns out to be the main villain), in here Kojima (of MetalGear fame) has rather not so subtle hands in the story and its execution.
9.5 Graphics: The graphics are top notch! You may notice differences in some of the cutscenes compared to actual gameplay (some games have cutscenes that are so seemless so you wouldnt be able to tell which is a cutscene and which is playable [ie FFXIII]) but overall the graphics on this game is stunning, its like watching Lord of the Rings in some scenes, from the trees to the buildings and enemies, all rendered in beautiful detail (make sure to play it in 1080p for the full effect).
9 Sound: The musical score so far has been matched perfectly with the are you are exploring and hearing familiar voices (Patrick Stewart in particular) makes it quite worthwhile. You may notice the way the narration is said, it doesnt always have the right feel, but is otherwise alright. On a side note, when you see Zobek and you hear his voice, you can almost imagine it could/should have been Sean Connery who should be there, the appearance is almost uncanny, reminds me of Highlander.
9.5 Gameplay: In here it becomes serious as this is basically why most reviews think its very similar to God of War, but if you think about it, the way the combat cross is used here, it seems only natural for it to behave that way and it responds admirably through the combos you can perform. Also, its more than just a slashfest since there are puzzles that range from easy to downright hard (a certain chess like game might get you frustrated if you aren't prepared or lucky). The game is not so linear as it may appear as in previous Castlevania games, you can backtrack accross levels to access otherwise inacessible areas with your newfound powers/items. The world in itself is pretty big and once you reach a certain castle, you will marvel at the scale of things. Speaking of scales, the much talked about titans (and compared to Shadow of the Colossus) bosses are really challenging, even when you know the pattern to these guys.
9 Lasting Appeal: So far I havent finished it but completing the game for the missed items you could have gotten can make you at least backtrack, there might be some modes when you might be able to use replay but thats not yet known to me. So far even if I beat the game, I will most likely make another run through it (if only to unlock the harder difficulty levels) and i wont be tired in doing so since the game is really good.
Overall, the game was presented in a way that made it appear that its a clone/mishmash of several games and that the word Castlevania was only attached for the franchise but you have to remember, its not the destination thats important but the journey. And this game packs a good story into getting to the destination, which incidentally is a castle anyway, where who knows what awaits us, somebody familiar? somebody new? I'll let you discover that for yourself.Read full review