Game: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
Format: Xbox 360
Why am i reviewing a year old game now? ‘This isn’t cutting edge enough for me!’ i hear you say! Well fuck you then.
I recently bought Lords of Shadow for the Princely sum of 13 Euro, and i know now that the vast majority of the enjoyment i can glean from this miserable piss streak of a game will be slagging the shit out of it over the course of this review.
If there’ one thing i hate, its God of War 3. And midgets. But mostly GoW 3. That game is single handedly responsible for ruining the entire week of my life spent playing it. Considering you only get 52 weeks per year, i think i’m entitled to some sort of reimbursement from Sony, like maybe if they let me just land one solid, undefended punch right on David Jaffe’s jaw. I emailed this idea to Sony’s European offices but am still waiting on a reply.
Anyway, if there’s one thing worse than God of War 3, it’s a game that wants to be God of War 3. It’s like when i was a teenager and every second arsehole i met wanted to be Eddie Vedder. As if you’re not irritating enough, now you want to emulate an even bigger arsehole than yourself? This is the case with Lords of Shadow. You’ll note iv’e dropped Castlevania from the title and only refer to this game as LoS, and thats because aside from shoehorning in a reboot of that franchise’s story, this game is as closely related to Castlevania as Mother Teresa is to Adolf Hitler.
Lords of Shadow is the story of Francis Begbie, a psychotic Scottish criminal who is out to resurrect his dead wife by killing alot of supernatural monsters while Captain Picard sits on his arse and narrates the proceedings.
Begbie uses a Crucifix that is also bizarrely a whip, to beat up everything from Goblins to Werewolves, yet sadly seems unable to use it to wring the fucking necks of the Chupacabra enemies, which are the most insanely irritating, pointless enemies ever seen in a videogame. The Chupacabras probably seemed like a great idea to the developers after a half hour spent sniffing glue, when someone thought ‘why not put in an enemy who does nothing but pad out the playing time by forcing you to play hide and fucking seek with them and you cant progress any further until you find the little bastard’. AWESOME IDEA, FUCKNUTS.
Anyway, Begbie has your standard array of light and heavy attacks you’d come to expect from a GoW rip off. Sadly what else you’d expect it to rip off, like say, a combat mechanic that’s actually remotely enjoyable, they forgot about. The combat in this game has such a monumental cock up it’s arse that i’m beginning to think even the Developers didn’t play their own game before release. Even in games i hated such as Bayonetta & GoW 3, they at least managed to get the basic combat correct. Enemies telegraph their attacks so that you know when to block or dodge, LoS just says ‘fuck it’ and let’s enemies attack however the fuck they want, nothing is telegraphed so you’ve no fucking idea when you should be blocking or dodging, and there’s not even a hint that your attacks are even doing any kind of damage. Begbie may as well whip his dick out and start cock slapping the enemies for all the damage you seem to be inflicting. Hell at least that would be entertaining.
Another incredibly irritating facet of this clusterfuck of a game is the hilariously named character ‘Zobek’, voiced by none other than Captain Picard. Picard is apparently some badass Holy Warrior who follows Begbie around and writes a Journal of whats going on with him. Instead of, you know, FUCKING HELPING HIM. He crops up for one chapter as if to just say hello and prove that he is actually in the game, and Picard didn’t just accidentally wander into the wrong recording booth and what we’re actually hearing is a voiceover for a different game.
After his one appearance, Zobek (fucking Zobek?! Who came up with that fucking name??) goes back to walking 20 paces behind Begbie and hiding in a bush writing shit about how Begbie is having a really hard time and could use some help but then refuses to give any. Thanks Picard, that journal will come in real fucking handy AFTER I’M DEAD if i want to read about how i fucking died.
Not content with completely fucking up the combat from GoW however, LoS then decides its going to fuck up the Platforming from Uncharted. Yes, Mercurysteam took a look at Uncharted, and decided, ‘we simply must incorporate the worst aspect of that game into LoS‘. That’s like being in a Beatles cover band but only playing songs that Ringo wrote. Half the time the camera is so far away from you it may as well be in a different fucking game, and then the game bizarrely switches from ‘you cant possibly fail’ auto-platforming to ‘where the fuck am i going oh for fucks sake iv’e died again because of this shitty fucking level design’ platforming. And then theres the ingenious moments where LoS expects you to have figured out gameplay mechanics it never bothered to show you or even hint at. Like when i had to make Begbie run down a long hallway filled with spikes only to be greeted with a locked door. ‘Hmm’, i thought, ‘the solution must be around here somewhere. Must’ve missed a pressure pad or something to open it’. NOPE. What a dunce i was. I should’ve known that what i was expected to do was turn around and fling a dagger all the way down the fucking hall to hit a pressure pad in the previous fucking room, even though up til that point youve never been shown, or even told that this was something daggers were capable of.
As a game, i’d have a pretty hard time recommending LoS to anybody other than lost African tribes hidden deep with the Congo who have never seen a White man, let alone a video game console. As they’re about the only group of people who could possibly be wowed by this derivative trash.
Just watch Trainspotting while playing Symphony of the Night instead. You’ll get the same general vibe as LoS, only you wont want to punch your own face off every 2 minutes.