Castlevania: Lords Of Shadow - Mirror Of Fate review by Gryzor

Round 78 of the Articles Of Excellence ends with Gryzor giving the semi-sequel to the reboot of the Castlevania series a review. Sadly, he describes his time with the game as one that's confused about its overall design and found it flat and underwhelming as a whole. He did point out a few things that redeemed this otherwise mediocre game, but then he brings you back down to Earth by pointing out what makes this game so tepid and uninspired.

Castlevania: Lords Of Shadow - Mirror Of Fate Score: 5/10
Genre: Platformer/hack and slash

Really, this could've been a great game, but it feels like Mercury Stream didn't quite capitalize on much, if anything that they had at their disposal here.

quote Gryzor
Mirror Of Fate is just weird. It wants to play like the 2D Castlevania games, but it has the feel of the 3D Castlevania games. It wants to be like the Metroidvania games in that there's a huge castle to explore, but given that you're playing as three different characters at three different time periods, some downsizing had to be done. As a result, it hardly feels like you're actually exploring the castle; instead, it feels more like you're a gerbil in a linear maze with a few small nooks to give the illusion of open endedness. A lot of the time when you're presented with a seemingly impassable obstacle, you're usually required to get a new item that you'll find at some point in the parts of the castle that you can explore. Even then, you'll only ever really find HP and MP upgrades, sub weapon ammo and experience points you can use to purchase new attacks. You can also acquire experience points from defeating enemies, but more on enemies in a sec – a lot of the time, it feels more like a superfluous detail than a legitimate design choice.

It wants to be like the Metroidvania games but it, more or less, has the linearity of the first Castlevania game on the NES, but yet it has lots of backtracking like a Metroidvania game... it feels like they couldn't quite think of a way to create an ingeniously designed set of castles so they just went “*bleep* it” and did the first thing that came to mind. “Exploring” this castle feels like a chore, like it would've been better suited as a set of levels rather than one big level that changes when the game decides to arbitrarily change your character every few hours. Before anybody cries “it's on a handheld”, I'll just say that Aria Of Sorrow, which is my second favorite Metroidvania game for what it's worth, was on the *bleep*ing Game Boy Advance and it had a much better designed castle than this hunk of shit! In fact, it was a better game on the whole, and that's because it understood basic game design principles, something Mirror Of Fate didn't quite get.
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