Castlevania Mirror of Fate is almost upon us so I decided to try out the new demo and give you my impressions.
My history with the Castlevania games has always been strictly 2D after the N64 Castlevania game basically ruined my life with how awful it was, I’ve yet to decide if skeletons on motorbikes are bad or kind of awesome.
Though I’ve played many Castlevania games over the years I guess some of my favourites are the ones that followed Symphony of the Night, they are what most commonly refer to as “Metroidvania”. Quiet simply imagine Castlevania & Metroid fused together and that’s basically the six Castlevania games on Nintendo’s more recent handhelds summed up.
Castlevania’s debut on the 3DS is a whole different beast to the GBA/DS games that came before it, Konami are no longer developing these games and instead the team that brought us the first non suck 3D Castlevania game (Lords of Shadow) are handling Mirror of Fate. The change in development teams sure does freshen up the series but is it for the best?
The Mirror of Fate demo on 3DS lasts about 10 minutes and allows players to get a small sample of what to expect in the final game. Since the launch of the 3DS it appears that the 3D aspect has been toned down to the point where it’s hardly a selling point but Mirror of Fate does a pretty good job of reminding us just how capable 3D can be. There’s a real sense of depth to the environments and some of the close ups really draw you into the world, set it to max and it feels like your 3DS screen is three times bigger than it actually is. It’s pretty impressive stuff and sadly the game suffers from cross talk or ghosting if you will, it’s can be jarring when you notice it.
Framerate and aliasing are the two areas where Mirror of Fate suffers visually, the framerate whilst never bad enough to affect gameplay just isn’t as smooth as you would like it to be. The aliasing in the game is even worse and really degrades what is otherwise a fine looking title. During the close up cinematic shots the camera zooms in and the 3D looks comes into it’s own whilst the aliasing becomes less noticeable.
Gameplay in Mirror of Fate seems to borrow heavily from God of War, in fact to call this a God of War clone wouldn’t be too far fetched. Gabriel Belmont who is the game’s protagonist attacks and evades much like how Kratos would, then again it’s by the same team who did Lords of Shadow on the console so this isn’t surprising. Unfortunately Mirror of Fate isn’t as smooth as God of War, the controls don’t feel as tight as they did in Konami’s Castlevania titles. Level navigation feels a lot more clumsy than it needs to be, movement and combat are fine but the jumping and swinging aspects can take a while to come to grips with.
Obviously this being a demo it’s hard to dive deeper into the puzzle element of the game, level design also can’t be explored too much so we’ll need to reserve judgement into the final game ships. Combat seemed to work well enough and though it took several deaths before I got the hang of it, once mastered the evade dodge was satisfying to use particularly on one of the mini bosses you”ll face in the demo. The finishing attacks were a little lame and I was hoping for something much cooler but at least it looks awesome in 3D.
It’s a brief demo but a pretty enjoyable one, if past Castlevanias were Metroidvania then this one is GodofWarVania. It’s not a bad fusion either although it’s lacking in polish in order to completely win me over. The visuals are in need of a tidy up both in image quality and performance, likewise the controls in the platforming sections are more clunky than I’d love them to be. Other than that it looks to be a very fun solid enjoyable title worth checking out when it launches, my gut feeling tells me it won’t be on par with the GBA/DS Castlevania titles before it.
So there you have it, mixed feelings with this one yet I still managed to enjoy myself with it. The demo is available now for the 3DS so everyone can get an early look at the game and draw their own conclusions.
Will it suck? I don’t think so, it looks promising.
Worth a download? Yes, especially curious Metroidvania fans.
When is it out? March 5th in North America & March 8th in Europe.
YouTube Source: Nintendo