It takes a while to click, but when it does the combat comes into its own, with the depth found in managing your magic equalling that found in the large move and combo set. Genre staples like hidden items that increase your health bar and magic meters are present and correct, as is an in-game currency (earned by solving puzzles) that can be used to buy new advanced moves.
Relics, generally obtained by defeating bosses, grant Gabriel even more abilities, such as boots that unlock a speedy run that enables him to leap further when jumping, and a gauntlet that allows him to perform ultra powerful punches. Mix everything with magic and there's even more to be found, such as powerful Dark magic-infused daggers and fairies that explode on impact when sent out under Light magic.
There's a smattering of QTE-like moments, but instead of having to hit the exact button, any will do as long as you press within the available window. Certain attacks end with a button being hammered over and over, but these aren't tricky, so you're never left cursing your slow fingers.
Boss battles are truly spectacular, with sizes ranging from just larger than Gabriel (himself a hulking man) to Titans so big they fill the entire screen and more. In some cases it's real Shadow of the Colossus stuff, with our hero climbing up the enemies and gripping on for dear life. There's just so much variety, both in standard enemies and in climactic encounters, that you wonder how on earth the dev team found the time to cram everything in.
Some might argue that the combat isn't as technical as that found in Bayonetta and Ninja Gaiden, but it's extremely satisfying and has depth in other ways. Fights against large groups of enemies and larger foes require real patience and clever use of magic or you'll find yourself returning to the last checkpoint over and over again.
An impressively in-depth combat and magic system would be for naught if the adventure wasn't worth going on, but CLOS tells an immense story that stretches across a good 15-20 hours, perhaps even more if you want to 100 per cent each of the game's stages. You'll fight in sewers, fantastical forests, ancient castles, decrepit graveyards and snow-covered mountains, with each locale looking as spectacular as the last. Whereas most games these days tend to wrap up after 7-8 hours, CLOS feels like it's just hitting its stride at that point. Not only does this mean the game offers extremely good value for money, but it adds weight to the story, with Gabriel's quest feeling like a proper arduous journey.