Though the Nintendo gaming lounge at Comic-Con was crowded with 3DS XL demo stations, only a select number of new titles were being demoed. Of these, Luigi’s Mansion and Kingdom Hearts were both drawing a crowd, though Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate seemed strangely abandoned. As a longtime Castlevania fan I jumped in, still a bit skeptical about the new 3D graphics, only to find myself rather pleased with this unique take.
The thing is that though the game mimics the style of the DS Castlevanias, complete with a map on the bottom screen, it's definitely a different beast entirely. Instead of gleefully ripping though swarms of bad guys and running around a massive map, the game seems to have gone back in time and pulled a bit more from Dracula X, resulting in a much slower game with less exploration.
Not that this is a bad thing however, the game is simply more interested in making the combat a more major aspect of the game, as shown by the God of War style combos this particular Belmont is known for performing. Even minor skeletons take more than a few hits to go down, letting you try out a variety of attacks, special moves (the Boomerang is unlocked early on), and even a stylish grab move which can be used when enemies are flashing. The L button is also a dodge, which means there will be a lot more strategy involved than simply whipping everything in sight.
There’s also a bit of Prince of Persia here, as Belmont is tasked with some acrobatic maneuvers to get around. You’ll grab onto the side of ledges, grappling hook your way across pits, and use the trusty double jump to get around. These moves seem a major part of the game, and though it was annoying to screw up a jump and have to redo a particular acrobatic section all over again, it’s still pretty interesting.
Overall, this is a slower, more methodical Castlevania, with a lot of detail crammed into it. Not to mention that it looks fantastic on the 3DS XL screen. Definitely shaping up to be a must buy, at least for Castlevania fans. Let’s just hope that with the amount of work going into the 3D graphics, that the game’s length doesn’t suffer. We'll keep an eye on this one!