Well, Halloween came and went as it is wont to do, so I think I’ll take this opportunity to talk about Castlevania, belated as it might be.
While I’m far from an expert, I have a certain fondness for this series. Castlevania for the Nintendo 64, as it happens, was among the first videogames I ever played, way back in the late 90’s. And call me an old nostalgic, rose-tinted-glasses wearing sentimental fool (which I am) but I still think it’s a very good game.
At some point in the future, I’ll talk about it in more detail, but for now I’ll just say that Castlevania for the N64, and the sequel/prequel/sidequel/remake “Legacy of Darkness” are among my absolute favourite games, with good music, good graphics (for the time) and interesting designs.
However, this article is not me gushing about a game I like a lot. After all, you’re not here because you want to read about stuff I like. You’re here because you want to hear me nitpick stuff. Besides, I’m better at nitpicking than gushing anyway.
With that in mind, I’d like to talk a little about the more recent entry in the series, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2.
Now, I should point out that this is not a bad game. True, I didn’t find it as visually interesting as the previous game, but it wasn’t a bad game by any stretch.
So, why then am I talking about it?
Because, as with Alien: Isolation or Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, there are still things that I find confusing, things that I find don’t add up. No game is perfect, and this game is no exception.
And while my issues with the game are fairly simple, I believe they are still valid.
So, what are my issues?
Well, you play as Dracula. I’d call that a fairly legitimate issue.
Of course, I am not against the concept of playing as Dracula in and of itself, nor am I opposed to portraying Dracula as a sympathetic or tragic character.
(Which you’d think was a given, considering his role as the main villain of the series up until this point…)
No, my issues are far simpler.
See, this game is very similar, gameplaywise, to the previous game. That is to say, it is an action platforming game. Get from A to B by jumping, climbing, crawling or shimmying, interspersed with fighting strange enemies. And there is nothing wrong with that. With a few exceptions, that goes for most games in the series, not to mention other games such as Devil May Cry and Dantes Inferno.
However, the problem is that in this game, I am playing a platforming game, and I’m playing as Dracula.
DRACULA CAN FUCKING FLY!
Why the hell am I going around climbing walls and jumping chasms, when the character I’m playing can defy gravity!?
And if that wasn’t enough, if any of you have played a Castlevania game before, and fought Dracula in those games, what is the biggest, prominent trait about him?
Not only can he fly, but he can TELEPORT!
Now, of course, you might argue that this is a Dracula in a separate continuity, and this Dracula might work differently, with other limitations.
Which, of course, is complete bullshit.
In the games intro, we SEE dracula fly. Not the Double jump thing, but him turning into a cloud of smoke and shoot out over a battlefield like a giant, evil comet. We see him teleport around the battlefield and killing people by the hundreds with a single attack.
However, when you unlock the ability to turn to mist in the game, all it does is make you a puff of smoke that sloooooowly moves along, and after about 5 seconds, your stamina runs out and you turn back to normal. The only time you really teleport in the game is if you fall off a ledge and instantly teleport to a safe place to try again.
A process, by the way, that HURTS you.
(Oh, and don’t try to tell me the warp points is teleporting. That is not the same thing, and you know it.)
And before anyone points out that the game revolves around you rediscovering your powers and regain your strength, in order to fight Satan himself, you didn’t have those powers in the prologue either. The prologue which, need I remind you, IS THE SAME SCENE AS IN THE INTRO!
I hate when games do that! They show these awesome powers, showing Dracula as a demon, just an unstoppable killing machine, making you think “Wow! I can’t wait to rain down this kind of destruction on my enemies. This’ll be awesome!”.
And then the game goes “sorry, you’re not allowed to use those powers. Even when you unlock them, they’re not NEARLY as cool as when we showed them earlier”.
It’s not like it’s a trailer to make me buy the game! It’s the fucking intro! I have already bought the game! You don’t have to try and sell it to me anymore!
Now, some might argue that giving you those powers would be gamebreaking, and you can’t have a platforming game where you can just FLY PAST all the platforms, or battles where you kill enemies by the hundreds. That’d make the game completely meaningless. If you are this unstoppable force of nature, wreaking destruction on all around you, there’s no real threat.
Which is an excellent point, which raises a perfectly simple question.
Why am I playing as Dracula?! Why make the main character Dracula, and then not let me actually PLAY as Dracula?!
And if you’re not going to let me do stuff like that, the least you can do is NOT SHOW DRACULA DOING STUFF LIKE THAT IN THE FUCKING GAME!
It’d be like playing a superman game where you’re not superstrong or superfast, and you can’t fly!
WHAT’S THE FUCKING POINT?!
Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for this game. Like I said, it’s very good game, with great visuals, interesting gameplay and top notch voice acting.
It’s just that the concept gives me a headache.