Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate HD Review

Mirror of Fate HD is the console port of Konami’s Nintendo 3DS title which installed the Lords of Shadow series into the handheld console. Mirror of Fate is not a 3D action adventure title like Lords of Shadow though, and instead harkens back to the good old days when Castlevania was a 2D open world type of game. With a less linear approach to things, Mirror of Fate HD extends the Castlevania: LoS series into the 2D world with 3D character models as well as other assets including backgrounds fleshed out with new age graphical techniques.

Story: In an alternate telling of the Belmont chronicles, Mirror of Fate HD completely re-writes the history of the Castlevania series. In this game Gabriel Belmont is Dracula and players must play the roles of Simon, Alucard, and Trevor. For some players this is probably going to be upsetting, however it does offer a fresh new plot to the series. The title starts off with Gariel’s woman being shown the future through a mirror (the Mirror of Fate) in which things take a turn for the worst for the Belmont family. Later on down the line we are shown that fate is something written in stone and a strange and eerie guide watches over this fate to ensure its proper fulfillment.

The storyline overall is interesting and gripping and may be one of the game’s strong points. Without getting into spoilers, players should know that there are many emotional moments in this title that shouldn’t be missed by dedicated fans of the franchise. The twists and turns of the events that take place in Mirror of Fate HD are extremely moving and go in-depth developing each character’s resolve, history, and purpose in life. Although slightly adjusted from the plot in traditional Castlevania past, much of this game’s events will feel familiar. While once again we must stress that the story in Mirror of Fate HD is incredible but may at times come off a bit silly with a sort of “family airing out dirty laundry” theme recurring.

Gameplay / Controls: Mirror of Fate HD opens up with an epic series of events but unfortunately the majority of the gameplay seen in this title is extremely confusing. Players who like to find things out for themselves, pressing on through the maze-like castle, will enjoy themselves just fine. Lords of Shadow fans who are looking for something more linear are going to be disappointed though.

The mini-map often fails to direct players as to how to get around and instead just vaguely reference where they’ll eventually end up once they’ve figured out what to do. The great thing about Mirror of Fate HD’s gameplay is that it’s a lot like the old school Castlevania games and yet the unfortunate thing about this title’s gameplay is that players get lost way more often than in the classic titles. Again, there’s a great game to be had here and most Castlevania players will  be willing to work through the madness while many even still will enjoy the fact that the game sports a labyrinth of a layout, it’s just something that should be understood going in from the beginning. Upgrades are available but this isn’t a role playing type of game such as previous Castlevania titles.

This game is essentially Lords of Shadow on a 2D playing field, hence the extremely long name that felt the need to refer back to LoS as a reminder of what the developer was aiming for. Mirror of Fate HD is already described by many as a ‘Metroidvania’ style of a game which relates to the fact that it’s two dimensional and yet lends itself to the exploration expected from an open world title. The game also features puzzles, platforming, and quick-time events that keep things interesting the entire time. The responsiveness of the DualShock 3 and Xbox 360 controller are much appreciated as well as the preciseness to the directional pad as gamers are tasked with a difficult platformer with Mirror of Fate HD.

Characters / Enemies: There are three playable characters for this game. Experience points are earned and used throughout the game which apply to you the player rather than each character though, which is good since players change characters quickly as they progress through the title. Most enemies present poor A.I. and typically require repetition to take them out, but they look good and Bosses are much more interesting to do battle with. Simon, fan-favorite Alucard, and Trevor each have their own abilities and powers that are experienced through the game.

Graphics / Art Direction: Visually the game fails to be stunning but looks great. Players who missed out on the 3DS version will be happy to see what the title looks like on a home console. The Art Direction is of course a realistic geometric representation of the anatomy of the characters and enemies seen in the game as well as the castle but set in the fantastical Castlevania universe.

Soundtrack, Audio, Voice: The voice acting in this game is top quality, as expected from the publisher and developer behind it. The music in the game is equally excellent and the audio sound effects are pretty much what you’d expect. Overall the audio quality of Mirror of Fate HD is without a question Triple A material.

Replay Ability: Easy, Normal, and Hard gameplay modes are available from the start with a Hardcore mode for extended play which is unlocked after beating the game. There are also a few different types of collectibles that can  be acquired by keeping a look on the mini-map for when they appear throughout the title and making sure to figure out how to grab them before moving on. This extends the length of the game somewhat, but can also make for a reason to return to the title a second time in Hardcore mode.

Engine Performance: No glitches were encountered during our playthrough of this game. The engine is solid and cohesive with no hit detection issues or graphical problems to be seen at all.

Final Verdict:

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate HD is a nice little adventure while fans wait for the Lords of Shadow 2 title to hit. It morphs the classical tale of the Castlevania universe which can be seen as a good or bad thing depending on how you feel about new takes on old legends. The gameplay is exploratory and yet manages to throw in enough Lords of Shadow to feel new and unique. Getting lost in the castle will not be fun to everyone though, and some of the game’s moments will be spent wandering around bored and annoyed. Overall the game is well worth playing and fails to disappoint in terms of a great story, decent gameplay, and excellent soundtrack. Mirror of Fate HD gets a 7.5 out of 10 making it a Bronze Game for RealGamerNewz.

Official Trailer:

Overall Score: 7.5/10

RGN Rating: Bronze Game

Developers: MercurySteam

Publisher: Konami

Available On: 3DS | PS3 | 360

Played On: Sony PlayStation 3

Review Copy Info: A digital copy of this game was provided to RealGamerNewz by the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Jon Ireson on 20131211 and was last modified on 20131211 .