After playing the introductory sequence to Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate HD here at Tokyo Game Show, it quickly became clear that it’s an adventure better suited to the big screen. The 3DS original wasn’t a good game, and it’s doubtful that an HD port can or will rectify many of the original version’s glaring problems, but it certainly represents a step in the right direction.
What I loved most about Mirror of Fate the first time around was its stylish, unique cutscenes, and thankfully, they really pop in the HD version. Indeed, developer MercurySteam does a nice job of capturing the essence of Castlevania in these story-heavy sequences. Mirror of Fate totes an incredible amount of fan service in terms of including classic Castlevania characters in the tale (Trevor and Simon Belmont, Sypha, et cetera), and while the story never comes together in the original, it’s definitely cool to see some of these characters represented.
Mirror of Fate HD also looks and runs better than the 3DS original, which isn’t surprising considering its big leap to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It doesn’t necessarily look like a title that was natively made for the HD twins (even though it’s rumored to have been developed in HD first), but it’s easier to appreciate Mirror of Fate’s graphics and animations on the big screen, even if everything's still a bit bland. The introductory sequence in HD – and most of the game on 3DS – is dominated by dark colors and drab surroundings that don’t exactly scream Castlevania.
Something I noticed almost immediately is that Mirror of Fate HD supports the directional pad as well as the left analog stick, a major improvement over the 3DS version, which confusingly locked movement to the circle pad. A 2D side-scrolling action game like this, so clearly catered to old-school players, demands d-pad support, and I’m glad to see it make it in to the HD iteration.
With the lack of a second screen, MercurySteam had to figure out a way to make the essential in-game map easily accessible, and they did so by simply mapping it to the Back/Select button. The trigger actions on 3DS – the roll and the special attack – have been remapped to the triggers on the Xbox 360 controller and the R2 and L2 buttons on the DualShock 3. Taken as a whole, the control scheme is simple and intuitive.
Doing battle with some weak goblins during the game’s tutorial section showed off Mirror of Fate HD’s mild rumble control, and while these creatures are nothing but fodder for a chain whip, combat felt slightly cleaner and smoother than the original, likely due to its seemingly improved framerate.
Mirror of Fate HD is, it appears, a straight port of the original aside from some of these notable differences and changes. And while I hope that MercurySteam can fix some of the original’s major problems – its vacant feel, inadequate leveling system, muddled presentation, and more – it’s safe to assume that this won't be an HD reimagining that tweaks many underlying issues. For fans of the original, that’s welcome news, but for those that had problems with Mirror of Fate on 3DS, temper your expectations.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate HD launches on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network this fall. Its price is still undetermined. We’ll have a full review of the HD iteration in the coming couple of months.
Source : ign[dot]com