CastleMania [Demo Review]
It’s been a long time since I played a Castlevania game: in fact, I think I was in a training bra and Steps were in the chart. So when my other half downloaded Castlevania: Lords of Shadow from Xbox Demos I was quite intrigued. Since he is more familiar with the series, I duly let him play it first (while secretly canvassing him for opinions).
My first impression was a soft, low whistle: it looks good. Water trickles and glistens, lightning flashes and enemies explode in showers of gore like kamikaze tomatoes.
But is a pretty face enough? Mr Neety certainly didn’t think so. His gaming melting pot consists of a goulash of puzzlers and platformers with a sprinkling of FPS whereas my pot is chock-full of action-adventure and RPG goodness. So he was a little surprised when performing a move took him into a 15-second cutscene: something we both encountered in other games such as Resident Evil 5’s interactive cutscenes. While he believes “cinematic gameplay” such as this is unnecessary padding, I find it helps play flow.
Attack range was another dividing line: as it was a demo, you begin with just a sword and whip. The sword creates a nice mid-range swipe but the whip can reach a ridiculous length, snaring enemies right across the field. Again this wasn’t at all a problem for me who is long used to full-scope attacks from Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasies alike, but the Mister found having instant access to such a long-range attack cheapened initial gameplay.
At the end of our experience, I will be downloading the full game and playing it, whereas the Mister would happily ignore it. The same occurred with Bit.Trip Runner for the Wii: it sits in the Wii menu, glinting at me forlornly when I ignore it to play Super Paper Mario.
Maybe there’s something I’ll never fully understand about why certain games divide people in such a way, but isn’t that what makes it all the more fun? I could get the same headache asking why certain people like dark chocolate better than milk. I’ll only drive myself and you guys up the wall. Until then, I’m quite happy to stick to my favourites as the Mister is happy to stick to his.