Castlevania: Lord of Shadows on the console was an interesting game in the series. It changed up a lot of the core mechanics in favour of a more action-oriented experience. It was a valiant effort, but one that I felt didn’t quite hit the mark. Now, just over two years later, two new games are planned for the newly-relaunched series and hopefully they can fix what didn’t work in the first Lord of Shadows. One of the newly developed games is Castlevania: Lord of Shadows – Mirror of Fate for the 3DS. It’s the first handheld version of the relaunched series and I recently had a chance to play it – and I think that it’s a lot of fun.
The major difference between Mirror of Fate and other Lord of Shadows games is that it’s a side scrolling game. Gone are the 3D environments to explore, and I feel that this makes the game tighter to control and a little faster to play. It feels more like a traditional Castlevania game than the former Lord of Shadows was; and for me that’s a great thing. The combat mirrors (pun intended!) games like God of War or Devil May Cry; but because of the 2D playing field, it felt a little more fresh – in particular when it came to jumping and air combat. Air combat in a 3D environment can be a bit tricky to manage with the camera, but in Mirror of Fate that problem is almost completely gone. It’s very easy to judge your distance and position to the enemy and act accordingly. I would love to see more games take their 3D combat and put them in a 2D context. It clearly works for Mirror of Fate.
Side-scrolling makes everything better.
Now, clearly the biggest focus in the new Castlevania game is on exploration. Lord of Shadows originally had passed up in-depth exploration in favour of more action sequences; but Mirror of Fate brings it back, much to my enjoyment. The world is much more connected now, making backtracking and exploration much easier and seamless. Added as well is a very intuitive map system that breaks everything down into squares. The reason I like this is because it allows you easy reference points to where you need to go. Each square may have a hint as to where you need to go or if there is a secret in that area. Because everything is broken down into squares it is very easy to understand where you need to go and how you need to get there. I feel that Mirror of Fate features a very elegant map system and will make playing the game an enjoyable experience.
Castlevania: Lord of Shadows – Mirror of Fate is out on March 5th for the 3DS. It takes what was good about the original Lord of Shadows and scales it down to fit perfectly on the 3DS. The combat is satisfying and the exploration is very well-crafted. I was going to say check out Mirror of Fate if you’re looking for a smaller Castlevania game on the go; but, in all honesty, this game is going to be a big deal and it is going to be an epic. It’s a console style game right in your hands, and it works perfectly. Be sure not to miss this one!