|Release: March 5, 2013|
|Screen Resolution: N/A||Blood and Gore, Partial Nudity, Suggestive Themes, ViolenceG|
The backdrop itself is, for the most part, a stunning display. Though filled with massive open rooms, hallways, and stairwells, the castle feels even more immense with the 3D slider cranked to full. The rooms are rich with detail, and the outdoor vistas showcase a waning sun in the distance and ominous towers much closer. The underground stonework provides the only lackluster art design, with drab, gray walls that would have benefitted from even a hint of phosphorescent algae. Otherwise, the Gothic style in both the architecture and character design is presented accurately and vividly.
The somber orchestrations with reverberant crescendos during the boss battles also fit the era, accompanied by a smattering of Gregorian chants. However, as good as the compositions are, they sound terrible coming through the 3DS speakers. Scratchy distortion is painfully obvious with the volume at full, so I suggest a good pair of headphones. Having all the white noise cancelled out allows for a more immersive experience. Though you might want to plug your ears during the cinematic cutscenes, as the voice acting is horrendous. Simon's Celtic accent just screams Mike Myers, and the melodramatic scripting pushes the dialogue beyond cheesiness.
Keeping to the main quest, you'll likely breeze through the story in under ten hours, with a couple extra hours tacked on should you decide go after the all the upgrades and bestiary scrolls. The story itself is predictable yet authentic to MercurySteam's revision of the Belmont history, and is punctuated with some intense climactic moments. However, after completing this single-player-only affair, there's very little incentive to begin the quest anew. Perhaps as the launch of Lords of Shadow 2 draws near, you'll want to take another glance in the Mirror of Fate to have the story fresh in your head, but that's the only reason I can think of.
When all is said and done, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate is a fine action platformer and an acceptable entry to the series. The level design is a far cry from the expertly crafted side-scrollers of the past, and certain story elements and audio blemishes may irritate devoted fans, but the adventure as a whole is certainly one worth undertaking. Dracula's castle is the best looking I've seen in the series, and the growth of the combat system throughout the course of the game always presents new tactics to test out and perfect. With an impressive 3DS lineup for 2013, Konami's newest title in the beloved Castlevania series solidifies a spot amongst the marquis titles already released and yet to come.
Date: March 8, 2013