Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate Review
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate Box Art
System: 3DS
Dev: MercurySteam
Pub: Konami
Release: March 5, 2013
Players: 1
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.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate Screenshot

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.

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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.

By
Sean Engemann
Contributing Writer
Date: March 8, 2013

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.2
Graphics
Apart from some stale sublevel stonework, the Gothic design is full of eerie details and the 3D depth expands the perimeters of Castlevania.
4.5
Control
Controls are fluid and responsive, with blocks and strikes responding the moment you need them to. Scaling the platforms is an accurate endeavor.
3.0
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The orchestrations are beautifully scored, though you’ll want to listen through headphones. The effects are passable, but the voice acting is terrible.
3.2
Play Value
A decent sized adventure with some collectibles tucked away. However, it's a story you'll only need to experience once.
3.7
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Discover the history of your bloodline - Play as multiple characters throughout history, as you battle your ancestor Dracula, each time learning more about your history and why the Belmont clan must atone for the sins of their forebear. Dare you tempt fate?
  • Choose your character - Multiple characters to enjoy, each with unique abilities and skills across different eras. Take control of the legendary Trevor and Simon Belmont and more, as you battle Dracula and his evil minions.
  • Share new abilities through your lineage - Pass onto your descendants your newfound abilities in each era and discover the true destiny of the Belmonts. Featuring a huge array of combos and a deep strategic combat system, this Castlevania is an exciting action game with tons of depth.
  • Battle massive bosses - Experience titan fights in full 3D, climb, traverse and overcome huge bosses. Use your secondary weapons and magical abilities to take down these awesome foes.
  • Features unrivaled Nintendo 3DS Visuals - Experience super high resolution and detailed 3D polygon graphics with side scrolling areas and full 3D sections combined.
  • Utilize Focus & Magic - Use magic to turn the tide of battle! Kill enemies to gain experience and buy new combos and abilities using your travel book. Play well and you will be rewarded.


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