The lights are on
I respect Jeff Cork's opinion. His review is his own and I just happen to not agree with some of his points. However, in order to not start a flame war I will keep my disagreements to myself so nobody flips out.
In the beginning, you are an old and decayed Gabriel Belmont, also known as Dracula. After approximately a thousand years of slumber, you wake up in a tomb in a chapel set in modern day Castlevania City. An old shell of your former glory you stumble out of the chapel with flashbacks taking place as you go. A few minutes go by and you are greeted by your old pal Zobek, with a tribute of good tidings in tow (the vampire killer, and 3 civilians for feeding on.) Zobek tells you that Satan is in the works to have his 3 acolytes summon him back to Earth because they believe you to be dead. Zobek's proposal is simple; help him destroy the acolytes and he will give you the eternal rest that you desperately crave.
Let me just say this, I loved the scenery in this game. I don't understand what he meant by generic and boring scenery. OF COURSE it's going to look similar to other games. There are only so many sets that can be used in games. I for one don't see a problem with any of it. The game is beautiful in and of itself anyway.
The combat is MUCH more solid with a free roam camera instead of the fixed camera they had in the previous installment. You are not restricted to the shadow whip, Dracula also wields the Void sword and the gauntlets of chaos. I understand Mr. Cork's opinion on the lock on enemy's that can end your combo, but HONESTLY, if you're great at the game's style of play (a.k.a. hack and slash), you can avoid most of the problems he was talking about.
On the hardest difficulty, with New Game+ it is actually easier than playing on the second to hardest without New Game+.
The voice acting was phenomenally well done, outside of a few minor pronunciation mistakes by Robert Carlyle speaking Romanian. But since he isn't from a Romanian speaking country, he is forgiven.
I for one loved the story in this game, while it may not be as traditionally sound as most other games, if you have a knowledge of the Castlevania series, it all comes full circle as the credits begin to roll.
With such a high bar set by the first Lords of Shadow, it's easy to understand why some people may be disappointed with this sequel. One thing I do recommend is at least renting it, because outside of two play-throughs and some difficult challenges, there isn't much replayability. For a game that tries HARD to be different from the norm, I believe this game is being dealt with too harshly and should be given a higher rating than a 6.
I can not stress enough that Mr. Cork's complaints and score are a reflection of HIS time with the game. A review is just one person's opinion, be sure to respect it :).
If anyone has any further questions on the game I would be more than happy to answer. I give Lords of Shadow 2 an 8.75 out of 10.
Positives 1. Beautiful scenery
2. Great voice acting and a nontraditional yet emotionally beautiful story
3. Smooth combat with only little hiccups that can easily be avoided or patched in the future
Negatives 1. Lame stealth sequences that can easily be forgotten about.
2. Does not QUITE hit the bar that Lords of Shadow set
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