Take everything you know about Castlevania, and toss it to the werewolves.  Castlevania: Lords of Shadow has reinvented the structure of Konami's classic whip flailing, vampire slaying, iconic series into something as surprising as it is visually striking. From start to finish, this game never fails to deliver it's brand of bone crunching, blood splattering rough justice from it's protagonist. 

As Gabriel Belmont, you are hell-bent on not only finding and bringing your betrothed's murderers to an equally (albeit more painfully) early grave, you are also on quest to retrieve her from the afterlife.  Along the way, your hero will come face to face with a veritable who's who of would be allies.  Among them is the old god, Pan, and an old man by the name of Zobek.

The character models are detailed greatly, and have life like emotional reaction expressions.  At times, the same character models' actions seemed  a little "forced" for their effect.  But, it wasn't anything to call out the developer on.  In fact, the detail that developer Mercury Steam-Kojima applied to the environment had me sold at first glance.  The textures were top class, and the ambient sound effects during the more calm portions of the game were flawless.  The music was one aspect that had me sold after hearing it for the first time. You need look no further than your first encounter with a Titan to hear some of the best of the best orchestrated audio that this title has to offer.  I can promise you that I will be purchasing the soundtrack for this little gem.

The platforming segments, combined with the rock climbing and wall scaling, never had me feeling frustrated at the control scheme.  I was enamored with the variety of attacks, as well as how satisfyingly they could be performed.  Couple that with the ability to perform combos that can heal and replenish (provided you can time your moves right) your health and "magic", and you find yourself with one of the most ideal real-time battle systems of the year.

As is in any Castlevania game worth it's namesake, this title isn't short of backtracking and curious exploration.  But rest assured, It doesn't take a tedious turn for the worse.  Make sure that you check every corner of your map for extra loot.  You won't regret it.

All in all, after playing through Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, I want more.