Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2: Revelations DLC Review

by on April 9, 2014
 

Given the epic scale of MercurySteam’s Lords of Shadow games so far, when an item of DLC is titled “Revelations”, you’d be excused for expecting a ground-shattering narrative that helps fill in some plot gaps within the main game; especially as you are warned that this extra content contains spoilers for Lords of Shadow 2.

Sadly, the events in Revelations are rather weak on narrative gravitas, with Dracula’s comically-named son, Alucard ,searching for his father’s Void Sword and Chaos Claws so that the elder vampire is well armed for the coming battles when he awakes.

At first glance, Alucard very much appears to be his father’s son, able to use magic that heals himself with every strike on an enemy, and another to increase damage and break armour – but he is also able to use different abilities to Dracula. Much of Revelation’s content is based around using Alucard’s three abilities in tandem: a Bat Cloud to traverse between specific points in the environment, a Spectral Wolf to transport Alucard through grates and small spaces, and Timeless Vision to temporarily repair broken items and platforms.

Admittedly, these abilities open up some interesting avenues for puzzle-based gameplay, with most of Revelations’ challenge revolving around the utter mastery of these abilities. However, my biggest gripe with the puzzles is that many of them are timed affairs with an incredibly strict countdown. This results in a lot of instances of trial and error, with the larger window of error leading to some very frustrating moments spent performing the same tasks over and over again because you were only a second or two away from getting to a door or a platform in time.

In between these puzzles are a few combat instances, but the sins of Lords of Shadow 2 are still being committed here, with the risk/reward-based magic system ruined by the enemy’s ability to break your combos and attacks. It’s still very difficult to see when foes are attacking, making it extremely hard to avoid attacks and rendering Alucard’s focus meter a nightmare to fill. Enemies still take too long to kill, and it can be hard to dodge and defend yourself when so many opponents surround you. Purchasable abilities add moves to your arsenal, yet once again you can get by with the same handful of attacks that you start with. By the time you reach the final battle of this content, you’ll really need to master Alucard’s abilities to prevail, but it feels like a case of “too little, too late”.

Despite these issues, Revelations does manage to carry over some of Lords of Shadow 2’s better elements. The environmental design is still astounding and full of detail, with a real sense of scale, while the orchestral soundtrack reflects the epic atmosphere of these locales and battles.

VERDICT: What’s most irritating is that there is simply no real reason to purchase this DLC. Granted, if you loved Lords of Shadow 2’s gameplay, then here’s a few hours more to enjoy, but it just feels like a purchasable fetch quest that doesn’t really feel like it adds anything to what we’ve already played and seen. Alucard isn’t different enough from Dracula to make this outing seem worthwhile, and the artificially high difficulty that plagued the main game still remains to cast a blight upon whatever positives Revelations does boast. Sadly, it all just feels very superfluous.

Score-5

AVERAGE. The epitome of a 50/50 game, this title will be unspectacular but inoffensive, charmless but amiable. We aren’t condemning a game by scoring it a 5, but we certainly aren’t championing it, either.

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Review code provided by publisher.