With Halloween ending fairly recently, I think, what better game to play then Castlevania lord of shadows mirror of fate a game that ties the first and second castlevania lord of shadows games together developed by Mercury steam and published by good old Konami. Unlike the previous castlevania game and the upcoming castlevania game it takes a more traditional oldschool metrovania style and adds cell shaded cut scenes. Honestly, I had never really played metrovania kind of games as they just looked like a longer, more annoying Mario level with an irritating amount of backtracking. But, castlevania mirror fate may have changed my mind slightly, as will be explained.
The game is split into 3 acts controlling a different character in each, (you can’t count a prologue – it’s a glorified cut scene that you have as much control on as call of duties ability to not re-hash content and story line). The first act you play as Simon, tremors son whose village being destroyed and mum dying after his father Trevor Belmont has angered the great Dracula, vows to take revenge. This act has a very old school castlevania gameplay to it with exploring the castle and working out which ledges to use and not end up as a bloody mess on the floor for Draculas butlers to clean up. After this you play as Alucard, a vampire. Don’t really need to say anymore, honestly it’s kind of nice to not see a sparkly vampire who doesn’t live on the emo angst of young teenage girls and truly understands the horrific monster that he has become and the cruel immortality he has been given, unlike Simon’s gameplay it’s a lot more puzzle with two major puzzles, and finally you play as Trevor Belmont himself which again is like Simon’s gameplay but with a lot more quick time events.
The game however feels too easy at times as the final fight with Dracula couldn’t be failed unless you gave the controller to a de-limbed sloth; I mean there’s an achievement for beating the whole game in less than three and a half hours. This is not a good thing Mercury steam. Saying this, the bosses were fairly spaced out and linked in nicely to up the gameplay forcing you to use what you have learnt and playing the game on hard core may provide a decent challenge. A nice thing they do in this game is the teleporters which let you re-visit areas easily meaning that pain of back tracking isn’t such a pain, this may sound contridictery to my last point of the game being a little on the undernourished side, but making you trek through old areas and extending things to do in an area are two separate things. Then again you could play the boss rush mode after beating the game were you fight boss after boss with no healing after each battle and one life., if I’m honest you must have to be some-kind of freak of nature able to slow time down in which case you should stop being lazy and participate or fight crime or something and not waste your time trying to beat the mode on hard-core.
But, enough with gameplay back to the story, as mentioned you play as all the Belmont’s with the first two acts being the view point and same time events of two separate characters and the final act as the events before Simon lost his parents. A slight issue is the game being more of a tying in game and feeling like an advertisement for the upcoming lords of shadow the story feels quite short. But good. The use of cell shaded graphics and heavily cell shaded cut scenes also looked nice and gave it its own unique feeling and look to it partners in the series , no doubt originally to make good use of the D’S graphically abilities’ however it does not lose out while being played on the Xbox 360. The music creates a nice ambience to jump about and slaughter the evil servants of the prince of darkness while you’re in the castle and exploring its ground giving a nice general feel of the setting, and no not Ozzy Osborne the “prince of darkness” mind you it would make an interesting game having his nurses and the bats from his sanctuary to battle while listing to Mr.crowley or crazy train.
Mirror fate also comes with a downloadable short demo for lords of shadow two (probably should be mentioned), and with short I mean fairly short it is literally comprised of fighting some dudes for a tutorial a short boss fight you don’t even finish and scaling a massive shadows of the colossus rip off, unfortunately what the first game in the series is most known for. This all starts off with a disclaimer that it might not also be anything like the game. If it sounds like I’m annoyed it’s because I am. However a game shouldn’t really pay for something extra it tried to do and considering how much time has to be taken from a development schedule to make a demo it may be a good thing that they didn’t put a massive amount into it.
Overall if you want to play an updated old style metrovania game without a massive amount of backtracking then mirrors of fate is for you and if you enjoy an interesting and complicated storyline then you should definitely invest your time into this franchise, as mentioned the gameplay can feel easy and simple but I think that this is due to the game being brilliant at refining the skills and techniques you have along the way and although the demo for the next instalment is short, it does give a positive experience and makes me look forward to the game. One final thought however, Ozzy-vania Mirror of Paranioa or just Castlevania Revenge of the Chiroptera.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.