Generally favorable reviews - based on 62 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 60 out of 62
  2. Negative: 0 out of 62
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  1. 75
    In the end, I'd rather play a more traditional 2D Castlevania game, but there is no denying that this is a beautiful and enjoyable change of pace.
  2. Entertaining highs and frustrating lows punctuate a Castlevania game that--in an effort to redefine the series--loses its identity.
  3. Castlevania takes a few hours to get rolling, but once it sinks its fangs in you'll be absorbed. Don't let the deluge of fall releases or the 3D Castlevania stigma keep you from this amazing quest.
  4. Lords of Shadow is not without a handful of unfortunate imperfections, but that does not invalidate the fact that there is no more painstakingly-crafted action adventure currently available for this generation of consoles. MercurySteam has raised the bar especially in both art design and overall presentation, and should be extremely proud of their creation.
  5. Castlevania as a modern, linear adventure game. It's a little different, but the formula works. Also, this game is massive-expect to log at least 18-20 hours before you reach the end.
  6. Dec 22, 2010
    Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is a brand new chapter for the saga in both mechanics and atmosphere. It's a competent third person action/adventure with a lot of things to do and great graphic, it's a shame it cannot be considered a masterpiece due to same oddly design choices and some sections made only to improve his length without any real gain.
  7. It's a great game separate from the franchise, and definitely does a favor for the third person action genre, but with the CV characters and license attached, it becomes even more enjoyable for me.
  8. Lords of Shadow is one of the best games I've played all year, but its technical faults hamper the experience.
  9. So even though the wait continues for a 3D Castlevania that truly matches the elegance, complexity and spatial intelligence of the 2D games, this is a polished and enjoyable blast of musty Gothic action in its own right.
  10. 88
    It may dissapoint those who expected a 3D Metroidvania, but it's one of the best action games of this year.
  11. Games Master UK
    Dec 25, 2010
    A re-imagining on an epic scale, and a strong contender for action game of the year. [Issue#231, p.74]
  12. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is one of the best action game of this generation. A mature and deep storytelling and a variegated gameplay figures out a solid structure that blends with a good graphic design. The game offers 15+ hours of unique gameplay and a great replay value. The only issue is a steady camera that results in a lot of problems during combat stages and explorative sections.
  13. 90
    When it's all said and done, Castlevania is one that will go down as one of the better Castlevania games.
  14. Its derivative action formula offers a compelling and long lasting experience. Great graphics and a top level design immerse the player in a beautiful dark world, populated with terrific creatures. Despite the lack of innovation, MercurySteam delivers a great action game.
  15. 75
    Altogether, the game spins an interesting tale, and though it might borrow some ideas a little heavily from certain other games, it implements them well.
  16. Lords of Shadow is a huge leap forward for the Castlevania franchise. This game refines the characteristic IP gameplay with an occidental flavor, awesome production values and raging and furious combats.
  17. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow reinvigorates the franchise by borrowing from other games, adding its own wonderful magic system, and ratcheting up the epic factor to ludicrous degrees. It's huge in scope, length, and depth, and it's polished with obvious love and passion.
  18. Jan 12, 2011
    3D settings have always been kryptonite for the Castlevania series. As well as nearly every 2D entry in the franchise has been received, the attempts at 3D have almost always been panned. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow breaks this curse completely by excelling in nearly every way a game can be measured. The excellent voice acting, the suitably grand score, the gorgeously crafted vistas, the compelling plot; everything just clicks when it comes to this game.
  19. If you're looking for another traditional Castlevania game, Lords of Shadow could lead you on the wrong path. MercurySteam adopted a different style, bringing together the best ideas of many other popular games. The result is a juicy cocktail of modern gameplay and technical wonders.
  20. Castlevania: Lords of Shadows is a fantastically-crafted game. In some ways, it seems like Castlevania in name only because it is stitched together with many existing gameplay mechanics, but it sticks close enough to the action-packed cloth the series is woven from to seem worthy of the name.
  21. Lords of Darkness is a solid action game that just gets better the farther in you go, loaded with content and high production values despite its barely-passable framerate, but it doesn't do much to earn the Castlevania name.
  22. 80
    Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is a game that you can't miss! The singleplayer has tons of challenging puzzles and platform elements that will keep you entertained for at least 20 hours.
  23. With a combat system that cleverly overcomes button mashing, wonderful design work and a story that spans far longer than your average video game, Lords of Shadow is exactly what the Castlevania franchise needed to find popularity with a new generation of gamers - and us oldies too.
  24. 100
    Mercurysteam had been developing the title before Konami proposed that Lords of Shadow would be the new Castlevania game. It really shows that this is very much their vision of Castlevania without fealty to fan expectations or demands, and I think it absolutely paid off given that the goal was to revitalize and modernize an aging brand.
  25. Jan 12, 2011
    For a time-rich audience, I can see Lords of Shadow being well worth the investment.
  26. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow represents an excellent reboot of the saga, with a huge diversity in the gameplay, scenarios, enemies and situations. With nice graphics and immersive soundtrack, fans from the Konami's franchise will be pleased with this long hack'n slash adventure. A must have.
  27. Oct 24, 2010
    Lords of Shadow defies the boundaries of what Castlevania should be, but it works. The game pulls you in medieval times, but the gameplay, presentation and story are without a doubt as modern as you can get. The ghost of old Castlevania flows through the game, while being fresh enough to make it feel like the start of a new franchise. Both fans and newcomers will find plenty to enjoy here.
  28. Playstation Official Magazine UK
    Jan 12, 2011
    "Quotation Forthcoming"
  29. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is a profoundly generous action-adventure game. Filled with content, gifts for fans of the series, but for video game lovers as well. It's full of nods to other games and movies, rich with a large variety of gameplays and lush environments... blessed with an overall Castlevania feel, which is a consistent mark of respect for its forebears. Kudos to Mercury Steam. Despite some rare issues with some gameplay tunings, we can only hope for them to meet the success they deserve as we'd welcome a follow-up!
  30. Dec 14, 2010
    Simply put, this is one of the best titles of the year, and marks not only a proper return of the Castlevania series for consoles, but a starting point that future games would do well to follow.
  31. Dec 22, 2010
    No game juxtaposes so many stunning, grand moments as it does with as many smaller quiet touches, such as Gabriel crossing himself at the sides of his fallen comrades. It is a dark, somber game and a promising new beginning for the Castlevania legacy.
  32. This game succeeds amazingly in telling a story. It's not perfect, but a great addition to the already incomparable Castlevania franchise.
  33. LEVEL (Czech Republic)
    Jan 13, 2011
    Great new beginning of the well-known saga draws inspiration from God of War and Shadow of Colossus masterpieces but still remains truthful Castlevania with all ingredients we love. [Issue#197]
  34. Were it not for the questionable pacing, this initial outing would have been a brilliant debut, as the fundamentals are certainly there. If you're determined to experience it for yourself, rest assured that there are some great moments in this new Castlevania--just be prepared to endure some tedium in getting to them.
  35. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is a successful reboot by MercurySteam. Touting a strong combat system in the vein of God of War, the game features a fairly lengthy quest that is rewarding if you stick with it.
  36. The production value, storyline, and other aspects are worthy to stand aside any of the top games of this generation.
  37. Oct 25, 2010
    The fledgling Spanish studio has made Castlevania very much their own and created a beautiful and epic new entry into the series that is capable of engaging both the diehard fans of the series and newcomers alike.
  38. 80
    Castlevania is reborn into a 3D action game that borrows heavily from some of the PS3's greatest hits. However, with so much to experience, thrilling boss battles, and plenty of replay value, it's well worth the investment.
  39. Play UK
    Exceptional presentation and an affecting, moody atmosphere help to compensate for some mixed game design. [Issue#197, p.86]
  40. Apr 28, 2011
    The franchise needed this. It's not remotely original and it occasionally threatens to drown under the weight of its own bluster, but it's also clever, challenging, bewilderingly pretty in places and a ripping good yarn.
  41. It may not be hugely original, or indeed faithful to the franchise but, with a deep combat system and some excellent boss battles, Lords of Shadow claims a place near the top of the action adventure list and is terrific value for money.
  42. All in all, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is a really good game. Only because the hype and anticipation was so high might the score be considered a cause for concern.
  43. Playstation Official Magazine Australia
    Jan 24, 2011
    While the fixed-camera isn't always your friend and the platforming relies too much on trial-and-error death, this is still one hell of a tight package. Give Castlevania: Lords of Shadow a chance to sink its fangs into you and you'll be surprised about how exquisite and long lasting its embrace can be. [December 2010 p74]
  44. Jan 15, 2011
    Mercury Steam has done a great job and should produce future titles because it has given a direction to this series that was kind off lost.
  45. Konami and Mercury Steam have finally found out the right formula for 3D Castlevania. This is a rock solid adventure with good puzzles, great action and fabulous music.
  46. If Castlevania wasn't on your radar before, you need to get it on there now. In truth, it does little to innovate a genre dominated by games like God Of War 3 and Bayonetta, but it executes all its ideas with surgical precision, wrapping them up in a presentation so polished - yet so tastefully understated - it could easily have been crafted by Kojima himself; all the more credit to Dave Cox and Mercury Steam.
  47. Oct 25, 2010
    Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is a great amalgamation of the genres and games it combines. It makes sure they all come together effortlessly, but it never really owns the gameplay it borrows. It's a fun game, but not a revolution.
  48. Lords of Shadow is an impressive next step for the Castlevania-series. It's drop dead gorgeous, and the awesome combat system will challenge you to no end.
  49. Oct 27, 2010
    A worthy Castlevania game but not the best in the series. Flawed but still worth at least a rental to complete all the way through.
  50. Although resembling another action game isn't Castlevania's biggest obstacle to overcome, it's the poor design choices like the decision to go with a fixed camera system, the use of lots of quick time events, and an interrupting flow breaking chapter system.
  51. Playstation: The Official Magazine (US)
    Oct 28, 2010
    Aside from a couple of infuriatingly obtuse puzzles and perhaps the game's overall difficulty level, there isn't much to complain about here. [Dec 2010, p.72]
  52. 90
    The few complaints I've aimed at Castlevania: Lords of Shadow can't withstand its engaging combat and unapologetic march through danger.
  53. Dec 22, 2010
    A beautifully crafted game that more than lives up to the expectations that arise with any Castlevania release. This is an epic, stylish and enormously entertaining adventure that deserves to be played by anybody with a passing interest in the genre or the series. Applause is in order.
  54. A beautiful and lengthy game with incredibly smart game mechanisms, it's never denied, especially when it bears the Castlevania mark.
  55. Oct 28, 2010
    Castlevania Lords of Shadow doesn't do too much out of the ordinary, but it's a solid action game nonetheless.
  56. Oct 26, 2010
    After Castlevania's lackluster outings on the PS2, question marks stood over whether this would be the console Castlevania's return to form. Lords of Shadow seems to avoid the challenge altogether. While it is, in itself, a solid action adventure, it borrows too much from other games and too little from the series it is meant to ignite.
  57. Jan 16, 2011
    Fabulous action game with nice riddles and cool fights, but with lacks in camera perspectives.
  58. 90
    This new Castlevania is taking a completely new path than the previous parts. The story is different because this time it goes about the earth and the heavens. The gameplay is very good and that also counts for the graphics. The soundtrack is as usual great. This game is a reboot of the franchise and it's a great one!
  59. Jan 12, 2011
    Although the basic gameplay borrows heavily from other franchises it is still done with such style and panache it is hard to find faults.
  60. Jan 12, 2011
    While the game has a smattering of problems such as poor camera angles and too restrictive level linearity, this reboot of the Castlevania franchise has an enthralling narrative, amazing boss battles and tons of replay value.
  61. 85
    It mightn't be especially original but Lords of Shadow's rock solid core mechanics, creative flourishes and assured sense of pacing all combine to form a game that, despite a few rough edges, is a beautifully atmospheric, undeniably entertaining experience.
  62. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is konami's first successful attempt to bring the legendary series into the third dimension. A great atmosphere meets gameplay in the mold of God of War. Only a few faults like a confusing camera and an uneven upgrade system hamper the fun. Lords of Shadow is a great restart for the vampire saga and has sleeper hit written all over it.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 509 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 49 out of 509
  1. Oct 6, 2010
    I'm not sure where people get off saying it's a crappy God of War clone, when God of War itself mimicked Rygar, Shadow Of The Colossus,I'm not sure where people get off saying it's a crappy God of War clone, when God of War itself mimicked Rygar, Shadow Of The Colossus, Shenmue and however many other games. God of War didn't have a single idea to call its own, either, it just brought a little of this and a little of that to the "casual" gamers...

    So it's no surprise that people are writing this off as a clone because it's obvious those casual gamers don't know "what a Castlevania is". They think it started at Symphony Of The Night. Well, being a Castlevania fan from the NES days, I can say that if anything, this is somewhat of a 3D Simon's Quest, and I say that mostly based on the locales you visit (and revisit when you have a new item, as SQ did). And just as in SQ, you don't reach a castle until well, WELL into the game. Other than that, I don't get where people say this isn't Castlevania - playing as a whip-toting Belmont against the forces of darkness kinda goes hand in hand with Castlevania, and this is no different. This is a fantastic game with a length that is generally unheard of for a game of its genre. Definitely an incredible game and a great purchase.
    Full Review »
  2. Oct 8, 2010
    First and foremost this is Castlevania. Are you a fan of Castlevania games? If you are, you will really like this game. If you have not playedFirst and foremost this is Castlevania. Are you a fan of Castlevania games? If you are, you will really like this game. If you have not played a castlevania game before then consider this a beautiful gothic-dark fantasy 3rd person action adventure game with vampires and werewolves that you will probably like a lot. This is very far from a generic god of war clone as some will say.
    From a castlevania fan's point of view this is an amazing game. The visuals are amazing. The characters models and the environment are full of detail, the scenery is always something to stare at and the special effects are colorful and vibrant as they should. There is a huge variety of environments so nothing seems as if you've seen it before. The sound is crystal with an awesome orchestrical soundtrack (typical castlevania quality) and the voice-overs featuring Patrick Stewart and Robert Carlyle speak for themselves. The gameplay is excellent. It combines fighting, platforming, puzzle-solving together and it's varied enough that never bores. The fighting itself is deep and rewarding. No more mindless button mashing. The game is very immersive and features a beautiful story. Another big plus for this game is its length. I don't remember the last time I played a 3rd person action game that lasted up to 20 hours for a single playthrough.
    Quite honestly I don't understand what people want in a game any more. This is a beautiful game apparently made with love and care (cheesy but true) and every attention to detail as possible from people who really like the original castlevania games. Yet you will see reviews talking about how it doesn't feel like a castlevania game (not true IMHO) or how it borrows elements from other games.
    This is value for money and a lot of fun, highly recommended.
    Full Review »
  3. Dec 29, 2010
    Anyone who says this is Castlevania has clearly never played any other Castlevania games. Yes, it's a "reboot" (which is a huge cop-out inAnyone who says this is Castlevania has clearly never played any other Castlevania games. Yes, it's a "reboot" (which is a huge cop-out in itself) but that aside: 1. Soundtrack - Castlevania songs are famously upbeat and orginal, blending rock/pop with gothic feel. This game goes for bland symphony which is indistinguishable from any other average medieval themed game. 2. Atmosphere - Aside from the Vampire level which was quite well done (duh) the feel was more like Darksiders than CV. A great example of lack of atmosphere is how they reference God and Satan, ok so they are embracing the christian mythos like previous CV games, but there is a total lack of crosses and christian imagery - instead is "Agharta" a weird city with a blend of Mayan/Egyptian/European feel that supposedly existed before Europe. Another example is "the Brotherhood of Light"? C'mon what a generic vague and lame concept. Also the guy helping you is "Pan" - why not an angel? Also where is this all happening? It supposed to be "southern europe" if you believe the reviews but the map is a big island - definetly not Romania/Transylvania. Again all these countless little things add up to a generic fantasy game - maybe even you like it - but it's not CV. 3. The Gameplay - Everyone already pointed out the rip from other games but how about the fact it's too easy? Platforms are obvious one ways, dying restarts you where you fell, the advanced moves are varied but completely unnecessary to win in combat, the puzzles are simple and obvious (in fact you can cheat at the expense of exp. points used to buy the worthless advanced moves.)
    4. The Ending - I won't spoil it but it makes zero sense. A total letdown.
    Conclusion: I have to assume this is all happening because Konami and their Metal Gear crew are full of ego - more obsessed with creating superfically epic games than tightly wound stories with deep gameplay that fits into the pre-existing universe that fans have come to love and want to revisit.
    Full Review »