If you didn’t play the original Castlevania: Lords of Shadow but plan to, then you should stop reading right now. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 is a direct sequel to the 2010 reboot/refresh of the property, and that game ended with a significant twist. It also builds on the 3DS exclusive, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate, but the end of the first game is what’s important. You’ve been warned.
The game continues Gabriel Belmont’s journey into darkness under his new name, Dracula, and it does so in multiple time zones. The modern setting seen at the end of the previous game becomes an open world for you to explore, with vampy Belmont awakening after rebuilding his strength in hibernation over a period of years. The hands-on demo we were recently shown focused on the past, however.
Much of the game will be spent with Dracula attempting to regain his powers, but the demo shown featured a Gabriel Belmont in his prime. This is the old Metroid Prime trick all over again: introducing a character at full power before stripping them down and tasking you, the player, with rebuilding.
The Downward spiral. The story in Lords of Shadow 2 primarily focuses on Dracula as a good guy, which sounds a bit odd. It probably wound’t go over well to have a protagonist that wantonly murdered innocent people for fun and food, so the sequel offers an antagonist even more reviled than Dracula: Satan. It is quite literally the lesser of two evils.
The story begins exactly where the previous game ended, with Gabriel/Dracula awakening in a modern city, weakened from his slumber. His old frenemy Zobek tells him of Satan’s potential rise, and promises to free Dracula from his immortality if he helps.
A Belmont to the Past. The demo being shown was what will likely end up being the opening of the game. It appears to be a tutorial, and takes place in roughly the same time as the original game’s generalized Medieval setting.
The order Gabriel once belonged to has come calling. They now see the human-turned-vampire as one of their greatest threats and lead an army to his castle to bring him down. Combining sheer numbers and fantastic technology, the Order manages to attack Dracula in his throne room. It ends badly for them. This leads to a pair of more remarkable battles.
The first is with a knight in golden armor covered in crosses, and who also has the ability to fly. He is tough to kill though, and dogs you through the demo as you work on the second enemy: a massive, steampunk-inspired wood-and-metal giant, controlled by a magic power source. The sense of scale is epic, and reminiscent of God of War. The demo ended as the giant crumbled, leaving Dracula to face an army.