Review: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate HD
Ahhh... Lords of Shadow one our favorite games to hit the PC in some time. I still long for a mix of art, danger and absolute stellar technical presentation. Despite a few camera niggles, I absolutely love that game. While anxiously in wait for the upcoming sequel, I finally got to quench my thirst for whipnasty goodness with Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate HD. Wow, that is a mouthful of a title but this XBLA/PSN title is something you'll want to sink your teeth into. Without spoiling the story, let's just say the Gabriel and the entire Belmont family have some skeletons in their closet, big time. The game is loaded with story following Lords of Shadow and there is a whole plethora of lore to be had. That being said, get ready for some extremely lengthy and frequent load times that get overwhelming sometimes. To the gameplay, you'll be whipping, crushing and slashing the throats of baddies by the dozen. While the level design is quite good, some of the combat doesn't feel as satisfying as LoS but it also is meant to be more of a quick, arcadey feel and in that sense, it succeeds fully. If you need to get your Castlevania fix while you wait for the sequel (which looks absolutely stunning by the way), you can't go wrong with Mirror.
Come to me Alucard.. come to me.
Graphics and Sound
It's no secret that the wizards at Mercury Steam know how to make some amazing graphics. Not only do they range artisically from a gothed out NiN video but they can also make beautiful and enchanting forests and towns. Technically as well, the eye candy is constant and quite amazing that they pulled it off in such a small download. The same goes for Mirror of Fate HD; there is plenty to look at and drool over. While some combat animations are a bit on the dumpy side, overall, the look and feel of the game is on par with previous LoS outings and that is definitely a good thing. Werewolves are messed up, hairy beasts (inlaws anyone?) and architecture and textures can be quite detailed for a downloadable title. Overall, this is an incredible 2.5d production that just gets me more and more excited for LoS 2. Props to Konami and Mercury Steam for another amazing piece of art!
Audio wise, Mirror of Fate HD is also a stunner. Not surprisingly really as orchestral music is perfectly laid over a mix of wonderful sound effects and fantastic voice acting. Audiovisual wise, I believe that the folks at Mercury Steam are some of the most talented folks in the business. They can weave a magical tale through sight and sound, whether subtle or in your face violent. It's a tough balance to acheive but once again, it's almost perfect in this case.
"What's wrong Timmy?" "Lords of Shadow 2 isn't coming til February!"
With a few minor loading and gameplay complaints but amazing audiovisual presentation, the real question comes down to this: Is Mirror of Fate HD any fun? Well, if you like or LOVE anything Castlevania, have no fear, this game has something for you. Whether you consider yourself a rabid fan or a newcomer to the series, chances are, you will have a good time. Is the game perfect? Far from it. Does it provide a ton of content and entertainment for a fair price? Definitely. Also, you get to experience some of the finest artists in the business artistically, technically and in audio as well. Lords of Shadow 2 will soon be upon us but in the mean time, it's time to pick up this little gem available on XBLA or PSN now!
With a ton of quality story, arse whipping a plenty and a peek at where the Belmont family is headed before the big sequel hits, this is a load of content for a downloadable title. The graphics are stellar, the sound is awesome and it's a perfect mix of old and new. With 2.5d games becoming more and more popular, this is one of the better of the genre. Sink your teeth in. (/silly puns off)
4/5 Stars -- Digital Hippos Recommended