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Customer Review

58 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ignore The Jaded, March 26, 2013
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Mirror Fate - Nintendo 3DS (Video Game)
I've finished Castlevania: Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate twice now.

The first time I played on easy mode and explored every intricacy of the castle, gathered every scroll and bestiary note and upgrade, and maxed out to level 18 with 100% and the extra cutscene in just under 12 hours.

On the second runthrough, I went for speed and avoided every enemy possible, avoided all but one collectible which was located on an unavoidable chandelier and finished at level 14, 41% in 5:28. I had intended to play it on hardcore mode but it seems it only unlocks the mode for the game you already finished, and doesn't let you start the new one on that mode or switch to it during play. I began on hard, but had to switch to normal for Act 2 and then easy for Act 3 as without more life, the reaver boss and then Dracula killed instantly with one hit and I couldn't move on.

I consider this to be the best Castlevania I've ever played. Everything about it sucked me in, obsessed me with the game, made it one of the most pleasurable and fun games I own.

I can't stress how flawed the negative reviews of this game are. They want it to be an RPG. More exploration. That's fine but you can't review a game based on what you want it to be, what you wish it were. You must address what the game is. This game is a perfect Castlevania game for those who played the original. You enter a castle, fight monsters, and jump from platform to platform. You don't sell items, equip armor, or any of that. I understand you did in several games since. You don't here. Deal with it.

The focus in this game is on action. Good old fashioned jump and whip action. Now with bonus swinging and swimming! This is all handled in a manner far more advanced than the NES games of course. You have dozens of moves now, all taught or earned gradually as you play. You even get to perform "Fatalities" on many monsters. The variety in terrain and enemies is vast and at times surprising (Unless you've seen Lords of Shadow, to whose central castle this game is confined in scope). Mirror of Fate also adds a complex, clever story to the format, some humor, heaps of eye candy, rewarding side quests ala Metroid and more. The gameplay and tale are very much like LoS, and I imagine fans of that game will be in heaven here.

Some fans of the more Metroidesque Castlevania games consider this one to have a lack of such quests, but I found the number just right to make it fun. As a linear action game, the original Castlevania had no such things at all, only slightly multidirectional levels. Mirror has all the fun of exploration without the time consuming and often tedious backtracking you find in many Metroids or "Metroidvanias". You do get new weapons, items, moves as you level up but it happens naturally during the game. You don't have to focus on it, just enjoy it as it happens and occasionally run back a couple floors to pick up something you couldn't before. Why some people think "Linear" is always a negative is beyond me.

Castlevania for NES did not play like Super Metroid of Final Fantasy 2(/4). For most players, it ended in level 3 when they threw the controller across the room in frustration at finally getting to the mummies and then dying. That was what difficulty meant back then. Mirror of Fate is rarely frustrating, if ever. Is it easier? Yes. Is that bad? Only for critics who spend 20 hours a day mastering the way they jump. And that's who the negative reviews come from. In this game, you start near where you died. You lose little time. You aren't punished with banishment to the start of the level. You can save and collect health regularly. Surely this has earned the wrath of the expert player who could beat every NES game. All 4 of them worldwide. I implore the casual player to ignore their complaints. I don't care if this game is hard. I care that it's fun. And it is.

The replay value is high. I could start a new game this instant. I've read one review that criticized the 10ish hour gameplay (About how long I'd expect it to take for one casual playthrough). Absurd. The most enjoyable games in the world have taken under 30. Castlevania took 30 minutes if you played it through flawlessly. Added time came in the form of dying and doing it over again. And again. And again andagainandagain. So when I get an action platformer that takes 10 hours to finish without having to repeat long stretches of the same material, I'm in heaven. When it adds a dash of Metroid without making me backtrack 10 times for one health chest, I love it so much I write a review like this.

Add to that a great story. A phenomenal story if you enjoyed Lords of Shadow. It's complex, it's smart, and while I generally hate cutscenes and easter eggs that only develop the story, I was fully engaged from start to finish even before knowing the Lords of Shadow tale. I coveted every scroll. I was so interested in the story from this 3DS game that I watched the whole original game on youtube to learn the start of it.

Add to that some of the coolest graphics ever created. It's 2.5D, you move in 2 dimensions but see it as an intricate 3 dimensional world around you. I've heard criticism of the dreary color scheme. I can only assume the people who make that complaint have no concept of gothic horror imagery. It's not the Mushroom Kingdom. It's set in rich, deep browns and cold, sinister blues. The greys of ancient stones and heat of fire and sanguine sunsets. The game has incredible atmosphere. Several times I thought, "Why couldn't the dang Van Helsing movie have been this good?" This is a game for Hammer Horror buffs.

The creature design is similarly beautiful. Silly, nasty hunchbacks, epic suits of haunted armor, Hellraiser like demons, awesome Gargoyles, voluptuous succubi, big bosses, strange and colossal insects, concepts straight out of Bosch. The fights against them are always fun and complaints of their tedium make no sense to me. Do these reviewers tire of jumping on goombas after one level? The variety here is infinite by comparison. I hate button punching quick time events but enjoyed those in this game due to the appeal of the imagery and epic action that went with them. Other sequences such as an escape from a rolling bell were heart racing- Without being frustrating. That combination makes for an impressive brand of entertainment.

I was on the fence because of that IGN review, because of my usual apathy toward games full of laborious cutscenes and button mashing first person shooters in any other form. That's not what this is. This is all the technology of the 3DS applied to making Castlevania on an epic scale with golden concepts. A real treat for players who know what it's like to blow on a cartridge and a real treat for players who just want something cool and fun for a rainy day.

All but the most cynical and jaded readers should ignore the negative reviews and try this for themselves. I've never been so happy I did.

Also awesome: Great atmospheric music and it contains 2 Professor Layton puzzles.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 27, 2013 6:19:28 AM PDT
Russell says:
good review i realy liked the way u talked about the color i think ill give it a try to thanks for the review

Posted on Aug 20, 2013 11:19:30 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 20, 2013 11:24:55 PM PDT
Ian says:
Thank you very much for writing this! With the game being ported to the PS3 later this year, I've been doing some reading to see if it's worth getting into, and this review pretty much sealed the deal for me, especially in how you talked about it being more of an action game vs. an RPG, and the difficulty level. As a casual gamer, and someone who doesn't enjoy RPG's, that's the kind of information I was looking for, and you nailed it!

One question though: Is there a new game + mode, where you can replay the game on different levels with all the skills and upgrades you got on a previous playthrough? You mentioned replaying the game on different difficulty levels, but I'd like to know if those were completely from scratch, or with the things you earned from the last time through.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 21, 2013 2:12:48 PM PDT
Delta says:
Glad to help, enjoy!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 17, 2013 7:50:13 PM PDT
Alberto says:
After finishing the game you keep your max level and techniques learned, but will have to get again your weapons and magic skills. For example, you are able to do all combos learned, but you won't have the Axe until you find it.

Posted on Feb 18, 2014 4:03:22 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 18, 2014 4:04:26 PM PST
As one of those people who has played the first LoS and was jumping up and down with glee at the news of the second game, I appreciate this review. Having just recently purchased a 3ds along with Pokemon Y, I was looking for another game. With LoS 2 coming out soon, I decided to look into this game. I am probably like many others who read the IGN reviews and decided it was a crap game. So I thank you for your review, and I am now waiting for the game to arrive! Maybe I can finish it before I get LoS 2? :)

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 18, 2014 4:10:59 PM PST
Delta says:
Thank you! I think you can finish it before the new game, and it'll really add to the story.
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