So recently, you picked up a copy of what you thought was Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. You'd heard some generally positive things about the game, so you were curious to determine for yourself whether it lived up to the reviews.
Turns out, your eyesight is exactly as bad as your doctors keep telling you, and so you accidentally grabbed Lords of Shadow 2. Unwilling to admit defeat by tramping back in to the store to exchange it, you decided to just roll with it. Surely whatever mechanics worked in the first game translated throug to the second one, right?
Well, without basis for comparison, You can't really say. What you can say, though, is that Lords of Shadow 2, developed by MercurySteam, is distinctly un-Castlevaniaesque.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night was a masterpiece of gaming, setting a distinct and unique aesthetic as well as a specific combat and exploration system. SotN required players to backtrack and rediscover previously unavailable areas as you gained more and more abilities.
Lords of Shadow 2 has thrown most, if not all, of that out the window. In lieu of any significant or meaningful exploration, your way forward is highlighted by clouds of flapping bats, and you can pinpoint the correct way to go with the push of a button.
The combat system is fun, in an exhilarating, primal way. You feel strong, though not overly powerful. You have three main weapons to choose between, and you can switch on the fly during combat. These weapons are the Shadow Whip (the only real callback to Castlevania roots) the Void Sword, and the Chaos Claws.
These boil down to your 'ranged' weapon, your 'mid range' weapon, and your strictly melee weapon. This is where the game deviates the most from the source material in your eyes. The combat, though fun, is distinctly not Castlevania. If anything, it's God of War, complete with unnecessary quick time events. God, you fucking hate quick time events. Damn you, Yu Suzuki.
In any case, the combat is fun, but derivative. Unfortunate in a Castlevania title.
So far, though, you are willing to stomach the deviations from the source material. You understand that in this modern era of gaming, developers need to pander, at least a little bit, to the popular mechanics. It's an era based on instant gratification and the feeling of power.
So you are then confused beyond measure when the game up and tells you it's time to turn into a fucking rat.
So, the game is telling you that despite the fact that you are GODDAMN DRACULA that you need to morph into a GODDAMN RAT and sneak your way around an enemy with a "clearly-overcompensating-for-something-I-wonder-what-that-might-be" cannon?
At this point, you find yourself trying to remind yourself that yes, you ARE goddamn DRACULA, and that turning into a rat for a stealth section in an action game is ridiculously out of character for both Dracula and the series.
This is where you throw in the towel. Maybe you will pick the game up again later for another go, but for now you need to decompress, maybe play Lovely Planet to get some happiness back, happiness stolen from you by MercurySteam.