'Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2' Revisits The Twisted Tales Of The Belmont Clan

March 5, 2014

The Castlevania franchise has gone through a host of twists and turns since it was first introduced in 1986. The stories of the Belmont clan and their sworn foe, Dracula, have given gamers some of the best, and not so best, games ever created. However, it was only a few years ago when the series went through its biggest transformation. In 2012, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow was released with the intentions of rebooting both the narrative and the gameplay that Dracula hunters have come to expect. While the game was well received, it told a much darker version of the Belmont's history, which was continued in 2013's Mirror of Fate for the 3DS (and later in and HD upgrade on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3). Lords of Shadow 2 now hopes to flesh out even more of the storyline, following Gabriel Belmont even further down the rabbit hole as he hopes to vanquish Satan once as for all.

Developer: MecurySteam
Publisher: Konami
After years of questionable console releases, and stellar portable games, Konami entrusted the development of one of their longest running franchises to the team at MercurySteam. The first Lords of Shadow was a co-development project with Kojima Productions, which allowed Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima to oversee the progress of the title. Things must have went well with the last release, since Lords of Shadow 2 was fully developed internally at MercurySteam. They helped create this version of the Belmont's saga, they continued it on the 3DS with Mirror of Fate, and now they are returning with a full-scale console release in Lords of Shadow 2.

Lords of Shadow 2 follows the storyline that began in the original LoS game, where Gabriel Belmont, father of Trevor (a.k.a. Alucard), and grandfather to Simon, stepped into the spotlight. Gabriel returns in LoS 2 after awakening from an extended rest, wherein some questionable events have taken place. He has lost control of his minions, his castle, and his mind. Zobek returns, and points Gabriel in the direction of Satan, as he continues his quest to vanquish the demigod. His journey won't be easy though, as his family of vampire hunters, and the requisite hordes of monsters present in every Castlevania game will make things quite challenging.

Much like its predecessor, Lords of Shadow 2 will be making an appearance on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. If you're looking to get caught up on the franchise, you can also pick up the Lords of Shadow Collection and play through the original LoS as well as all of its DLC, and the HD version of Mirror of Fate.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 fixes some of the problems of its predecessor, and surfaces some new ones. A movable camera, and an alternative to the magic system help to improve the overall experience in LoS 2, but a slow start and drawn out exposition set the game off on the wrong foot. Fortunately, once players begin to actually engage in regular battles, the combat feels intense and satisfying, and they are set against some gorgeous backdrops with an impressive soundtrack. However, if you're a newcomer to this version of the series, jumping into Lords of Shadow 2 without playing the original would be ill advised. This game builds so heavily on the story of that game that it would be hard to form a meaningful connection with the characters, or really appreciate the story as it progresses. However, if you have played the original, and hopefully Mirror of Fate as well, you should enjoy most of what Lords of Shadow 2 has to offer, especially if you're itching to get back into the deep lore of the Belmont clan.