Castlevania Lords of Shadow – “Kratosvania”

From my brief contact with “Lords of Shadow” [playing the demo and watching a friend’s walk-through of several gameplay segments], one thing is certain: it certainly elevates the bar as far as “God of War” clones go. Kojima’s production adds a welcome emotional gravitas to the vampire narrative that is unheard of in its genre peers… having the deep voice of Patrick Stewart as lead helps, naturally. Aesthetically, it’s a mixed bag: the gothic architecture is a delight to look at, but the graphical engine’s color palette is limited, failing to present clear contrasts and constantly ending up in that dead polygon/vertex shader sludge most western games suffer from; Óscar Araujo’s soundtrack thankfully lifts the ambiance from catharsis with some disturbingly haunting moods and epic compositions.

Sadly, the sense of a missed opportunity regarding one of the oldest and most beloved franchises is never thwarted. “Lords of Shadow” is a decent “God of War” clone, but it is just that: a clone. For the truth is simple: traditional “Castlevania’s” action mechanics and “Symphony of the Night’s” non-linear exploration have in them the potential to craft a superior title for the contemporary age. Too bad Konami didn’t get that and stuck with a boring marketing angle. As if all we ever needed was another derivative action game…

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