It’s been quite a while since our last episode (I may have developed a video game in the interim), but never fear – we’re not defeated yet and the show must go on. Due to computer issues Sam won’t be joining us for the near future, but I aim to get this season wrapped up quicker to make up for lost time. With all that out of the way, I hope you enjoy the proceedings.
Today I am a Avalonian terrorist recruiter, the Doctor misses you guys too, Grant can neither duck nor crawl, Azalius is the Sweet Lord’s own Prophet, and Gabriel’s face steps up to bat.
And on that note, what in sweet blazes were they thinking? I know the writing in this game is bad, (not a word of a lie, there is a Cake Is A Lie “joke” reference on one of the scrolls completely devoid of context) but… Sweet Jesus? Really? Not only is that just wildly inappropriate for the time period this game is supposedly set in, but it implies Jesus walks the world of Castlevania, among Bellmont and Dracula alike. I always said you ended this game with a technicolour rock battle dance off against David Bowilyn Manson-turned-Satan, but I neglected to mention how literal I was being!
Once again, my past critique pretty much recycles itself for this level: really pretty, some nice cinematography, hideous camera jitter and locked perspective, really dumb gated unlockables for a linear game (and it is a linear game). I actually quite enjoyed the giant and wish he spent more of the level chasing you and less of it fecklessly grabbing Gabriel out of every combo we had the temerity to commit to, particularly if post-battle you had to evade him by smell. Even still, he mixed things up enough that this section of the game didn’t feel like a waste – doubly impressive because he’s only the halfway-point boss.
And finally… we end on the reason I hate this game’s use of secret items. In any halfway sensible video game, if I miss a secret it’s squarely on my shoulders for doing so – either the level ends in an obvious way and I’m free to explore all of it up until that point, or the points of no return are clearly signposted so I can be sure I actually want to progress before I lose access to the content behind me (why would I not want to progress? The items they’ve deliberately hidden behind me to inspire this behaviour, of course). Yet in Lords of Shadow, cutscenes besiege the player without rhyme or reason. They strike without warning, blowing a player’s sense of agency a wet raspberry and dropping Gabriel on the other side of an impassable wall, the sweet rewards of exploration sealed forever behind him. I end this week’s episode begging – literally pleading with the game to let me go back. This will not be the last time.
My apologies for the lower voice quality this episode – I’m quite not sure what happened, but it’ll be fixed by the end of the next.