In October 2010, a little-known Spanish developer, backed by a veteran Konami employee finally given his shot at the bigtime, released a reboot of one of the most beloved Japanese-created games of all time. Despite concern among the franchise's most ardent fans, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow launched to critical and commercial acclaim. The overlords at Konami were pleased.
"The God of War comparisons really pissed us off."
When the much beloved Castlevania legacy was handed off to Spanish developer MercurySteam (Clive Barker's Jericho), with Kojima productions supervising, there was a lot of backlash. Many complained about it eschewing the open-ended exploration that had become a series mainstay since 1997's Symphony of the Night and accused it of being a God of War clone. Others, like myself, remembered the series from its earlier, linear days and appreciated it for what it was. It may have owed more to Kratos than Alucard, but for my money, it was better than Sony Santa Monica's flagship mythological hack-and-slash.
I admired its combat mechanics, magic system, varied boss fights, and stellar art direction, but I couldn't help but agree with the sentiment that a less linear game would be even better. Now MercurySteam is marrying what was great about its first foray into Castlevania with that exploration we all know and love.
Unfortunately, Konami's E3 demo shows none of this. In fact, it raises concerns that it may have broken some things that already worked.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 is Spanish developer Mercury Steam's final Castlevania game.