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The New Castlevania Looks like a winner Folks

I just watched the 11 minute gamplay trailer on G4 (which I have put below for your convenience) and I have to say, it looks dazzling.

The graphics look sharp and worthy. Special attention has been paid to character models and lighting. Animation is smooth albeit not "Uncharted 2" smooth, mind you. There's a point where an enemy strikes Gabriel (the good looking protagonist dude) away from herself and he prevents being blown further away by sticking his blade-cross-thingy into the ground to halt himself and after the dust had settled, I didn't see any marks left where the cross had been shearing through the ground. This may sound like nit picking but bare in mind that this is a cutscene and every detail counts, especially at a close-up like that and with a Cutscene-Freak like Kojima overlooking the project. But I guess this is still nit picking. They look great.

Gameplay-wise, we're looking at some God Of War Style brawling with long chain-type weapons and also the addition of ranged weapons both of which can be upgraded. There are also some powerful close-range weapons as well. There is some kind of Dark/Light mechanic here too which I'm not sure how it works. But it probably serves as a modifier to your attacks and some enemies will be weaker to one of those types.

You'll fight normal grunts and work your way up to the level bosses. There are also huge monstrosities called "Titans" who are smaller versions of the Colossi we had to climb our way up and stab in the back of the head in Playstation 2's "Shadow Of The Colossus". I don't know whether these battles are optional or they are part of the bosses we have to face. It seemed a little too much of a rip-off but they still looked lots of fun. The bosses look sweet and some of them will definitely be a challenge.

There's also quite some platforming involved here and there. The jumping seems to be aided so no Tomb Raider style precision jumping is necessary as it seems and there are also some climbing and swinging, shimmying and plank crossing sections. Like Kratos, Gabriel can also sprout temporary wings (which are probably acquired after defeating a boss or maybe as a power-up) to aid him across the wider gaps like a double-jump.

The puzzles seem like the standard "Direct the light to a certain point using mirrors", "Pull a switch", "use your newly gained power", "Activate in Sequence" and (of course) "move some crates" variety. I didn't see anything original here except for the section which showed some electrical type nodes which had to be moved to reach some kind of purpose. I also spotted a Chess-like arena complete with huge statues as their pieces. Maybe they'll come alive, maybe they won't. The puzzles look like functional, harmless brain teasers which serve as breathing space between the frantic battles.

The story seems interesting. It's the standard "Hero saves the day and his beloved from hideous villain and his army" vibe with definite plot twists which I am pretty sure will not make you spit out your drinks in shock. Expect a little forced melodrama regarding Gabriel's lost love.

The voice acting will be the definite highlight as we have the likes of Patrick Stewart and Robert Carlyle. The music sounds perfect for the mood of the game and I think there will be remixes of old favorites. The cutscenes will definitely not be Metal Gear long but will move the story along in a nice, steady pace. The whole thing seems pretty balanced. My advice is to be on a lookout for Interesting Characters instead of an Oscar-worthy plot.

The environments look huge and are extremely varied. From jungles, destroyed villages and snowcapped mountains to a rainy courtyard of a huge castle and probably the inside of the castle will serve as the final levels of the game. I'm pretty sure there are secrets hidden in every nook and cranny so completionists will have a field day with this one. There are also talks of DLC so this game will be spinning in your console for quite some time.

To conclude, as the above video shows, the game looks polished and interesting. It's a balanced and expert combination of what made top-tier action/adventure games like God Of War, Devil May Cry and Prince of Persia winners and it still keeps the golden flare of what makes the classic Castlevania games still special in our hearts. It has also promised "A Good 20 hours of gameplay" which is pretty impressive. Heads will definitely turn no doubt. Castlevania fans (including me) will definitely gobble this up like it's pure gold and gamers who haven't had prior Castlevania experience will probably struggle to find a better action/adventure game to beat until the end of 2010.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow will be released on the XBOX 360 and PLAYSTATION 3 on OCTOBER 5th in North America and OCTOBER 7th in Europe. My suggestion is, pre-order if you can. You most likely won't regret it.
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About kviznosone of us since 10:49 AM on 09.22.2010

Single player love all the way. Lovin' video games circa Atari 2600 and still going strong.