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“Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 – Revelations” DLC review: puzzle solving

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Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 – Revelations DLC

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The Lords of Shadow design for Alucard has one thing going for it, if nothing else: his armor looks fantastic. The scars they added to his face may not be for everyone, but the armored blue long coat complete with gold hemming should be able to strike anyone’s fancy. It’s a shame the only time he sported this appearance in the game was during a cutscene occurring the past. For the rest of the game, he was in the guise of Zobek’s lieutenant, a messy armored clad of black and red. In Relevations, players can finally control Alucard and make use of the blue coat design that otherwise would have went to waste from only being used in 10 minutes worth of cutscenes.

The DLC takes place right before Dracula awakens in the modern day at the beginning of Lords of Shadow 2. Alucard presides over his father, removing the blessed Crissaegrim tip from his heart and effectively freeing him of the several-century stasis. An inner evil within Dracula is trying to prevent him returning to full strength, thus sends minions to hide the Void Sword and Chaos Claws. Alerted to this event by the spirit of his mother, Alucard ventures to the castle to return the weapons to their rightful locations and ensure Dracula’s rise to power.

Similar to another recently released Konami game, Relevations is not particularly long. A normal-paced playthrough will take about 2 hours, more or less. Sure, there are a bunch of collectibles strewn about to find. Unlike in the main game, finding a shard of health or magic instantly grants a boost in capacity. Beats finding 5 separate shards for a measly increase. The upgrades serve little purpose though, especially if collected after finishing the story. They’re for completion’s sake.

Alucard wields only the Crissaegrim. He can use ice and fire magic to heal/freeze and break armor/do more damage, respectively. Unlike Dracula, Alucard won’t change weapons when switching magic; the Crissaegrim is simply imbued with a blue or red glow. Considering how the Crissaegrim’s moveset is nothing special (many moves feel familiar to the Void Sword, but with even less impact), this is disappointing.

In any case, combat is not the focus of the DLC. Unexpectedly, that throne belongs to puzzle solving and platforming using some new tricks. Where Alucard truly differentiates from Dracula is his 3 unique abilities: Bat Swarm, Timeless Vision and Spectral Wolf. Bat Swarm allows Alucard to instantly fly towards a designated grapple point, letting him cover massive amounts of distance in an instant. Timeless vision allows Alucard to revert time on a broken piece of the environment, restoring it to a point more functional for a limited time. Spectral Wolf, unsurprisingly, spawns a ghostly wolf in front of Alucard, which the player takes control over. The wolf can leap horizontally much further than Alucard does. While using this ability, his humanoid body is left behind, vulnerable to attack – but when the button held to use the ability is released, his body teleports to replace the wolf.

Clever use of each of the three abilities on their own and in tandem with each other is the core of the DLC’s gameplay, a fact made more apparent by how there are only 2 bosses. Restoring a crumbled platform via Timeless Vision and violently flying toward it with Bat Swarm and jumping off it before it collapses – only to find yourself on small surfaces sinking into a pool of blood under your weight which need to be traversed using the Spectral Wolf’s superior horizontal leaping range: this is just one example of how the level design challenges the player to think fast and use each of these abilities to their full potential.

Somehow, the puzzle solving ended up being more interesting than the combat, which was overall dull in comparison.

The DLC is only $7.99, but 2 hours’ worth of content, no matter how solidly crafted, is difficult to justify. Despite the title, no actual revelations are unveiled, either – the ending sets up a plot device that main game ends up revealing anyway, so the story here as a whole felt like irrelevant backstory. Still, anyone that was drawn to Alucard’s character design might want to check the DLC out just to play as him. Them, and any Lords of Shadow diehards are likely the only people that Revelations would satisfy.

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