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Games : Recommended
Ranking:
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Release Date: February 25th, 2014 Movie Release Year: 2014

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2

Overview -

Despite the 2 in 'Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2,' this latest 'Castlevania' title is really the third in its series. From Konami and developer Mercury Steam, the first 'Castlevania: Lords of Shadow' brought audiences the first popular 3D take on the series and the first attempt since 'God of War' introduced its own visceral style of third-person action. And yet the game's origins as a new IP and later mid-development conversion to 'Castelvania' left many long-time fans cold, while others found the combat and difficulty to be unsophisticated. Through DLC episodes and the downloadable 'Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate,' the 'Lords of Shadow' franchise has moved ever closer to its 'Castlevania' lineage and 'Lords of Shadow 2' seems to be ready to fully embrace the tropes of the series.

OVERALL:
Recommended
Rating Breakdown
VIDEO
AUDIO
Tech Specs & Release Details
Video Resolution/Codec:
720p
Audio Formats:
Dolby Digital 5.1
Release Date:
February 25th, 2014

Video Review

Ranking:

Graphically, 'Lords of Shadow 2' is an acceptable title, but a far cry from pushing the previous generation’s hardware to its limits. Environments and characters are rendered well, but often the expansive setting feels relatively lifeless. The frame rate holds up admirably, even when the action gets most intense. That said, the game has its share of hiccups; a few times the transition from cutscenes to game play were visually jarring and on a few rare occasions the game environment loaded but character models were MIA. Cutscenes definitely suffer from some compression issues and don’t feel up to snuff 100% of the time.

Audio Review

Ranking:

Aurally, 'Lords of Shadow 2' is a treat due in no small part to Oscar Araujo’s phenomenally atmospheric score. It's well mixed throughout the game offering a melancholy sorrow to Dracula's journey through the massive open world, while knowing just the right moments to come to the center stage bombastically amped up. Effects in a game that heavily features moments of chaos are often lost in the shuffle, but overall, the diversity of the sound design remains noteworthy with a lot of atmospheric flourishes coming through. Voice work from Robert Carlyle as Dracula and Patrick Stewart as Zobek, is often the sole reason the slow pace the game launches with is as bearable as it is. Supporting cast play their roles well and lend to the generally ominous feel of the game.

'Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2' will likely end up a polarizing title in the series canon. It's doesn't bring the series' most engaging narrative to the table and in some aspects, the developers really felt like they were phoning it in. Personally, the game strikes the rare balance between casual and hardcore player, offering the former some mindless fun and the latter opportunities to push their play strategy to the test; 'Lords of Shadow 2' may be generally shallow, but those willing to scour those shallow areas are going to find a few hidden secrets and added value.

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