I’m probably way too charitable when it comes to Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2. It’s a disappointment not because it isn’t engaging but because it so often is, right up until it suddenly falters.
Konami and Mercury Storm’s latest collaboration has met with…mixed reviews. It currently holds a critical metascore of 63 on Metacritic, with some particularly savage scores in the 50s and 40s. Common complaints include the game’s uneven pacing, its baffling mandatory-stealth sections, and its sizable borrowed arsenal of copycat mechanics.
Despite all that, I enjoyed my time with LoS2. Maybe it’s the game’s unabashedly bombastic tone; ham-handed melodrama goes down easy when mated to baroque aesthetics and a basically competent combat system. Maybe it’s lingering fondness for Mercury Storm’s previous entry, a stash of goodwill regularly renewed by the occasional clever callback or stirring moment. Maybe it’s the game’s expansive sense of scope; not that much actually happens in LoS2, but it’s a lot of very dramatic nothing.
Or maybe it’s just gratitude for another (relatively) big-budget action-adventure title on the console market that doesn’t star the Batman. I had begun to fear they were going extinct.