Castlevania: Lords of Shadow released to generally favourable reviews back in 2010, despite coming under fire by some fans for “not sticking to the Castlevania formula”. However, the game as an entity in and of itself was in fact very good, although did have it’s fair share of issues, but we’ve been patiently waiting for the inevitable sequel. The story of Gabriel Belmont continues, and unlike the first game which was essentially a prequel as it took place way before any of the previous games in the series, this one is a definite sequel, with the majority of it taking place in modern times.
Lords of Shadow 2 starts off with a bang, providing you with a chance to play as Gabriel, now known as Dracula, in his fully powered state. This acts as a tutorial to get you used to the combat in Lords of Shadow 2, but also gives you a chance to play one of the major boss battles in the game. After the initial tutorial, the game will pick up after the events of the first game. Dracula is in an old and weakened state, and agrees to help Zobek in a fight against Satan, in order to release himself from immortality.
The story in this game is very good, so I’d rather not spoil it completely, but in simple terms, Satan’s acolytes are becoming more active and preparing for his return, because Dracula has become so weak and can no longer stop him. Zobek therefore wants you to regain all your powers before fighting Satan once again. This is where the game really starts, and you’re back to square one in terms of your abilities and skills, and must fight various enemies to get them back. The story is far simpler than the first Lords of Shadow game, but there are elements about Trevor Belmont and Simon Belmont explained early on.
The combat is yet again quite difficult, but it has been improved quite a bit, so it feels a little bit easier than before. It also helps that you get the Void Sword quite quickly, which allows you to replenish your health by attacking enemies. There are also some really good and unique boss battles throughout. Quick time events are still extremely punishing, and it feels like if you miss one for even a second, you have to go back and try again. Thankfully, the checkpointing system is very lenient, and there is also an option to avoid quick time events in the configuration menu. However, overall, improvements to the camera and hit detection have made the combat way more enjoyable, yet challenging.