Castlevania has one hell of a storied history. The Belmont family has been fighting the undead, vampires and werewolves since 1986 in the video game world. In Castlevania: Lord of Shadow Mirror of Fate we have a direct sequel to Castlevania: Lord of Shadow that starts some 25 years after it’s conclusion. You are Trevor Belmont, the son of Gabriel Belmont who was the destroyer of darkness, but was then consumed by what he was entrusted to destroy. How does Castlevania stack up on the 3DS? Let’s see.
The story is built well within multiple generations of the Belmont family. It gives you background story with how Gabriel fell and how Trevor wanted to end Gabriel who had become what he once fought.
The time line makes it interesting and Castlevania as a whole has a deep and intertwined storyline that always has more that comes up and leaves openings for sequels for the Belmont family. The mixture of stopping the darkness and vampiric menace alongside fighting against becoming what you have fought against reigns true in this new installment of the Belmont families battle against Dracula.
Story Grade: B-
It is an old school styled side scroller and plays true to the original style on the NES and classic styles of the Castlevania franchise. The controls are simple yet effective and with the design of the 3DS it gives the game some open mindedness to work with. The controls can at times be a bit clunky and in some situations you have to navigate your hands around uncomfortably in order to achieve certain goals or to shield yourself.
The whip and cross whip are your main weapons and the addition of a secondary weapon such as throwing axes gives you a good optional weapon to chuck at your opponent if needed. I found myself in some situations where the throwing axes really helped. Usually in games the secondary weapon is either just a fun little tidbit or completely useless, so it was nice to be able to rely slightly upon a relatively decent array of secondary tools of destruction.
Gameplay Grade: B
The audio throughout the game is ok. The voice work is not very strong and it doesn’t match the lip movements very well. The music works well for the scene and style with a very Gothic feel behind it.
Sound Grade: C
This is a mixed bag. Without the 3D effect it is very basic and very bland. Adding the 3D effects really made me more into the game. The strength of the 3DS is definitely apparent when you unleash it on this title. The characters look decent and enemies are decently crafted. It is a game on the 3DS so graphics are not always #1 on the list.
Graphics Grade: C
Castlevania sticks to the old school style that made the series a fan favorite, but it only hits in the nostalgia part in that sense. The side scrolling of it is a fun return to its era, but it can only do so much. In a field with so many choices for games, Castlevania just doesn’t stand out heavily.
That said, the game is still fun, it still returns you to the roots of old school gaming but with a new found graphical look and 3D effects to boot. The controls are simple and the story is intertwined within the realm of its predecessors, so it offers intrigue into the past, present and future of the game series.
I had a good time with the game and I recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the series because of the nostalgia. Castlevania will always be an interesting franchise and one that catches us once in awhile. On the 3DS it is a hit and miss mixture and one that shows the best and worst of the 3DS.
Overall Grade: C+