Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3PC

A dark fairy tale which casts the player as the mysterious Gabriel.

Review Verdict Read Review
9Out of 10
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Castlevania: Lords of Shadow screenshot
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow screenshot

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.

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User Comments

BLAZER's Avatar


I wish it would have released on pc.
Posted 08:37 on 19 December 2010
reynoldio's Avatar

reynoldio@ clangod

Agree entirely Clangod, I enjoyed the demo very much and will certainly be purchasing. Hack'n'slash is what it is and when you get one with a great story and some crazy scenes then it's a few hours enjoyably bashing that controller :)
Posted 11:23 on 02 October 2010
clangod's Avatar


I tried the demo this morning and in a word, I'm "impressed". Looks great, plays well and from the snippet you get there is every indication that epicness is abound in C:LoS.

I see as commented on in the review that the combat could be a bit simplistic but I guess that's a common trait of the hack 'n' slash genre. The highlight here is clearly the visuals. Looks like a story I could get into. This might be a purchase after all.
Posted 10:11 on 02 October 2010
AWilke's Avatar


It's really refreshing to read an article from a website that isn't necessarily "huge" popularity wise. You can still pick up on the overwhelming excitement Tom has for this game and any games really. While on websites like gamespot, ign, etc. they tend to nit pick and forget about the whole point of video games, fun. Anyways, great review. Been looking forward to this game since the reveal trailer nearly a year and a half ago. Can't wait to play it.
Posted 04:51 on 02 October 2010
clangod's Avatar


I don't think this would be something I'd normaly consider a purchase but there seems like there's plenty of fun on offer here. Interesting read. I'll keep an eye out for this...
Posted 23:57 on 30 September 2010
TomO's Avatar

TomO@ scaz2244

There's a lot to find once you're done with the campaign, as certain items can only be accessed with abilities gained later on in the game. Replay value depends on if you want to collect everything. Even if that doesn't interest you, the first run through should take at least 15 hours, but probably more like 20.
Posted 09:19 on 30 September 2010
scaz2244's Avatar


sounds really good might have to give it a rent and see how meaty the single player is, if dont complete going to buy.
great review tom quick question does it have any replabillity?
Posted 00:52 on 30 September 2010
Wido's Avatar

Wido@ reynoldio

Likewise. However it did drop down the pecking order as of other games coming into the spotlight. With not much info about the game, that where it started to decline for me. After reading this review, C:LoS is now firmly back up there. I will be getting this over Vanquish now. Vanquish will be a January pick up. Still got Fable 3 and Fallout: New Vegas to see whether it beats NFS: Hot Pursuit. I got a feeling that it will be Fable 3, and New Vegas will be obtained in the summer of the next year.
Posted 07:58 on 29 September 2010
reynoldio's Avatar


This one's been on the list from the day I first saw it, just looks epic and I do like a good bit of epic every now and again. The fact that it has a little bit of everything and does it all really well is the icing on the cake.
Posted 23:07 on 28 September 2010
jase_ace_uk's Avatar

jase_ace_uk@ Bloodstorm

Hideo Kojima?? I never knew he was developing this game. I will defo have to get this game now. There are so many good games coming out!!!!!!
Posted 15:40 on 28 September 2010
Wido's Avatar


Excellent review Tom. I really do want this. I like the preview what Tim did. I need another hack & slash into my routine. Not had any hack & slash since completing God Of War 3.

Simply getting this.
Posted 14:46 on 28 September 2010
Bloodstorm's Avatar


It's Kojima doing a castlevania game, how on earth is it a surprise hit?
Posted 14:34 on 28 September 2010


Surprise hit, it's no good, I need to call it a Surprise Hit because it is! :)

Looks great.
Posted 14:32 on 28 September 2010
Karlius's Avatar


I wasn't expecting much from this I now want it!
Posted 14:16 on 28 September 2010

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
Out of 10
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
  • Gorgeous art design
  • Combat requires thought
  • Epic adventure
  • Slight repetition when using mounts
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 08/10/2010
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3 , PC
Developer: Mercury Steam
Publisher: Konami
Genre: Action
Rating: PEGI 16+
Site Rank: 2,197 792
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