Friday, 14 March 2014

What is a Man? It Shouldn't Be Dracula

MegaWestgarth Spooky Castlevania Dracula

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 was an uninspired, bloated mess of clashing gameplay types, generic environments and a soggy plot. I've played the game and beaten it so as to provide Anime Courtyard and its readers with a review.

Taking my videogame critic hat off for a moment, there's an aspect of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 that I personally found irritating -- the humanisation of Dracula. 

It seems rather pointless to use spoiler warnings when talking about the Lords of Shadows series, but I already receive enough grief from videogame fandoms as it is. So if you do not want to find out that Gabriel Belmont gets turned into Dracula at the end of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow and that he turns his son into into Alucard then do not hit the jump.

Oh, and you'll probably want to avoid Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 as well.

MegaWestgarth Dracula Final Form

Dracula -- the prince of darkness, the king of vampires, the root of all earthly evil. I'm not a particularly avid Castlevania fan, but the idea of playing as one of the most iconic and unforgiving videogame villains of all time certainly piqued my interest when I received the request to review Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 from Anime Courtyard head honcho Mario Salcedo.

I also had little problem, personally speaking, with the idea of playing as a weakened Dracula who must regain his strength by means of finding power-ups.

As my review explains, players will never feel as if they're as powerful as Lords of Shadow 2 claims Dracula to be. This is a bit rubbish, but what I found extremely irksome was the fact Dracula as a character never allowed himself to be powerful -- he never relished in the immense magical abilities he'd displayed to players countless times as a final boss in previous Castlevania games.

Dracula instead opts to skulk and sulk his way through the dreary adventure presented in Lords of Shadow 2, stopping one every few hours to time travel/ teleport/ who-the-fuck-knows his way back to his castle. It's in this miserable, dilapidated environment that his child appears and sometimes turns into a wolf for reasons too cryptic for a mere mortal like myself to understand.

MegaWestgarth Catslevania Dracula
Ach, mah sweet bonny lad is deed and nay-body luvs meh!
- Dracula, Prince of Darkness

Developer MercurySteam humanised Dracula, transforming him from the malevolent demon spawn we all know and love, to a shirtless, pasty faced dude with what are apparently feelings.

I've no problem with Dracula having character, and with that character developing through typical story-telling means, but Dracula's character never develops. From Lords of Shadow 2 tutorial to the game's very last scene, Dracula is an kinda apathetic, sorta emo-fellow with no real opinions or emotions besides "Boo hoo I never even wanted to be Dracula in the first place."

Boo fucking hoo indeed.


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