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July 4 2010
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - PS3 Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer
Offline Players Online players Price Anticipation
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Gabriel and Claudia in discussion.
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Damn... that's one massive enemy in Castlevania!

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Gabriel approaches the castle.
Let's start with some negatives. Konami's Castlevania franchise has, well, sucked since the SNES days really. Much like Sega's Sonic this is another franchise that simply hasn't translated well to 3D. But now there's a light at the end of the tunnel, a few in fact, which makes Castlevania: Lords of Shadow a very exciting prospect. What are they? Well read on for the details, but did someone say Hideo Kojima? Hell yes they did....

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is set in a ravaged Europe of the middle ages. The planet has been devastated by a powerful magic. The souls of the dead are trapped on our earthly plane unable to find peace, and inhuman creatures of nightmare now roam the Earth, wreaking havoc. Having witnessed his wife Marie (voiced by Natascha McKelhone from Ronin and The Truman Show) murdered at their hands, Gabriel (Robert Carlyle from The World is Not Enough and Eragon) pledges revenge against those responsible: the mysterious Lords of Shadow.

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Climbing the castle walls in Castlevania (2010).
Gabriel is a member of the Brotherhood of Light, an elite group of holy knights who protect and defend the innocent against the supernatural. His beloved wife was brutally murdered by the evil forces of darkness and her soul trapped for eternity. Neither living nor dead she realises the horrific truth of what is at stake and guides Gabriel to his destiny – and hopefully salvation for the world… but at what cost?

So this is a reboot for the franchise and the game will contain a seperate storyline and be able to follow a new path although it will take inspiration from earlier titles including the brilliant Super Castlevania IV. This game thoguh is a third person action adventure split across 50 levels which should provide a decent game length but will also include plenty of puzzles littlered throughout. The games hero, Gabriel is armed with a Combat Cross whic provides short and long range attacks but he can also use other weapons such as knives, stakes, holy water and a hammer. Of course the whip makes a return and can be used for combat as well as scaling walls or latching onto items to swing across gaps.

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Look closely, that's almost a nipple!
Sadly it seems the game will not include any multi-player options, either online or offline. The developers have also confirmed, and this may be a good or bad thing depending on your point of view, that the game will not contain any QTE's (Quick Time Events) stating it distracted from the game.

Running on a proprietary engine from the development team at MercurySteam this game certainly looks the part with some gorgeous characters, wonderful textures and stunning design overall. The game moves pretty well too and the developers are looking to have the game run at a solid 30fps. With Hideo Kojima's input we certainly expect the game to include plenty of cutscenes to flesh out the storyline, but we doubt it will get anywhere near the almost tiring lengths of Metal Gear Solid's cut-scene lengths.

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Gabriel is hanging above some enemies...
Audio has always been a strong point in the Castlevania titles with often very haunting orchestral music setting the tone of the game. Not to be outdone Lords of Shadow's music has been composed by Óscar Araujo and will be performed by a 120 piece orchestra. It is believed that the games music will include some theme music from previous games - not a bad thing given the quality and atmosphere they contained. It's also notable that Sir Patrick Stewart will also provide narration and the voice of Gabriel's mentor Zobek in the game.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow was a bit of an unknown quantity, especially with the European developer, however with Hideo Kojima overseeing the project and an extremely positive showing at the 2010 E3 show this is a game which we can't wait to get our hands on. Expect the game to hit shelves in a couple of months.