There are brief glimpses of a wide range of enemies. Some are huge and vicious, some are agile and ethereal, all are properly weird and scary. The imagery is accompanied by an epic orchestral score, complete with swelling strings and thunderous organs. In short, there are plenty of elements here Castlevania fans will recognise, but they've never been presented quite like this.

The same applies to the game's combat system. As you'd expect Gabriel is armed with his trusty chain whip, especially handy for linking hits together to weaken enemies' defences. He's also got a combat cross which is good for blocking, and secondary weapons such as flying daggers and holy water.

Picking up the controller, Cox shows us how it's possible to combine all of these weapons to devastating effect. Gabriel hacks and slashes his way through hordes of enemies with a series of fluid movements, seamlessly despatching them in a shower of gore.

Lords of Shadow also features a magic system. As you smash objects in the environment and defeat enemies you collect magic and you can choose how to channel it. For example, you can use light magic to set up a health buff so that each time you whip an enemy, some of your own health is restored. You can also combine light magic with your secondary weapons - using holy water to create a temporary shield, for instance.

The game also stars Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez and Connor McLeod of the clan McLeod.

Shadow magic is all about dishing out damage. Collect enough of it and you can perform some spectacularly powerful combos. Which, let's face it, sounds like more fun than health buffs and temporary shields. But in reality, says Cox, "Most players use a combination of both types of magic, and use different strategies depending on the different enemies they face."

Every so often you'll be forced to fight Titans, colossal stone monsters who can only be brought down with large amounts of wit, skill and patience. And some excellent platforming skills, as you have to climb and swing all over the beasts in order to reach their weak spots.

"With the Titan fights, we wanted to have areas where players have to use everything they have learned up until that point, and put it all into practice in one huge battle," says Cox. The battles take place in real-time and aren't punctuated by any pesky quick-time events. "That was a conscious choice. Personally, I don't really like QTEs. I find them a little distracting. I prefer to feel like I'm in control."

He'll never take the Gold with that kind of asymmetrical positioning.

The Titan fights aren't the only areas of the game where good platforming skills prove useful. Cox shows us another level set in a clockwork tower (an iconic image for Castlevania veterans), where Gabriel must navigate his way around a perilously high set of spinning platforms.

Luckily he's extremely acrobatic, and able to swing on ropes, stand on pillars, balance on beams and jump wide gaps with ease. Those with serious dedication will want to spend time exploring every nook and cranny as each level is packed with secrets, collectables and power-ups.

No Castlevania game would be complete without plenty of puzzles to solve, and Lords of Shadow isn't about to break with tradition. The examples being shown today are brainteasers in the classic style - Gabriel must move mirrors to direct beams of light which open locked doors, for example, or align a set of crystals in the correct sequence to pull down a set of spikes.

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About the author

Ellie Gibson

Ellie Gibson


Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.