Demo Impressions – Castlevania: Lord of Shadow (PS3)

If you’ve been following Lord of Shadow, you’ll be very much aware that it’s breaking the regular Castlevania format and going a whole new direction. With the game coming out in a week, now is the perfect time to give the demo a spin. Whether you own a 360 or just can’t be bothered downloading the demo, let us fill you in on what you’re missing. Hit the jump for the full preview!

The Castlevania demo is quite short as it only lasts about 15 minutes. Obviously it will last longer than that depending on difficulty choice and your skill. The demo starts us off with a brief narration which makes no sense at all, and we’re introduced to Gabriel, the game’s protagonist. He ain’t no Simon Belmont but he gets the job done. You are thrown into your first fight against a pack of werewolves, and this helps you get used to the controls. Combat consists of close range attacks (light attacks) or wide ranged attacks (heavy attacks). Gabriel’s weapon extends to form a chain like attac- wait, where have I heard that before? Ahaha hey, Kratos is that you!? No? Oh, ok. The first part of the demo ends with a mini boss fight against a giant lion-like creature. I honestly don’t know what it’s supposed to be. This fight gets you used to blocking and dodging which you really, really need to do a lot.

The second part of the demo gets us acquainted with horseback gameplay. You ride a magical talking donkey Horse which isn’t quite the Rainbow Unicorn through a forest as you’re attacked by more werewolves who somehow know how to ride creatures. This was a case of alternating between attacking the rider and creatures whilst dodging left and right to avoid being knocked off. If you’re knocked off, like I was, you’ll be forced to fight a few more werewolves. By the end of this section, you face yet another mini boss (who is actually the same mini boss as before) but you have to deal with werewolves too. Quite a lot of werewolves isn’t there? After this fight and a short cutscene, the demo comes to an end. Very briefly too.

While not packing much content, the demo is enough to give you a feel for the game. If you’ve played God of War then this game will be second nature to you. It plays very much the same, with a few differences. Such as being able to throw items and the fact grappling enemies requires timing. Hopefully the final game keeps this up. Gameplay is extremely satisfying, enough to motivate you to grind on enemies. The graphics really stood out for me in the demo, more so than anything else. The dark and gloomy setting really shows that this is a Castlevania title. Even the little touches, such as the spurts of water on-screen during the horseback sections make a difference. I love it when a game has tiny little details like that, it gives it a somewhat realistic feel.

Taking Castlevania and turning it into a hack n slash title was a bold move from Konami, but it seems to be paying off. I am very, very impressed with what the demo offered and eagerly await the final game. I’m no Castlevania veteran,  but I am certain I will enjoy Lord of Shadow all the same. If you’re new to the Castlevania series, don’t be afraid to give it a go. It’s a whole new experience for the series.

Shaping up to be yet another hit 2010 title. It’s taking the franchise to new heights, and looking good while doing it. God of War finally has a rival.

Castlevania: Lord of Shadow hits Europe on October 8th for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3

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