Castlevania: Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate – Review
Follow Genre: Action
Developer: Mercurysteam
Publisher: Konami
Platform: 3DS

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate – Review

Site Score
Good: Great use of the 3D-effect
Bad: Dull, boring and too indecisive about which part of the Castlevania heritage to follow.
User Score
(2 votes)
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Rating: 5.5/10 (2 votes cast)


Here’s a series that’s as ancient as the vampire that’s been terrorizing the Belmont clan for several generations. Yet Castlevania has always proved its own adaptability by constantly reworking its formula.

What started of as a simple platformer about a vampire hunter attempting to assassinate the lord of all bloodsuckers kept growing grander with each passing game. Super Castlevania IV on the Super Nintendo, is still one of the pinnacles of our gaming heritage and Symphony of the Night steered the series towards a focus on exploration.

Fast-forward to 2010 and Castlevania: Lords of Shadows introduced the first proper 3D-entry, offering God of War-like gameplay. Brute action combined with several winks and nods to well-known Castlevania-lore made for a decent reboot.

Then there’s Mirror of Fate, the latest game in the on-going fight against Dracula. A 3DS-game that is supposed to be a prelude to Lords of Shadows 2 and one that has an awful lot to live up to.



Spoiler alert! If you haven’t played the first Lords of Shadows, be warned that to introduce the story of Mirror of Fate, I’ll have to talk about the events from its predecessor.

Here we go: Gabriel ’Holier than thou’ Belmont is Dracula. Which makes it all a little more dramatic when Gabriel’s own grandson, Simon Belmont, sets off to teach his grandfather there’s a new generation to be reckoned with.

That’s the rough summary of Mirror of Fate. Of course, the fact that Simon’s essentially battling his ancestor seems to be entirely lost on the good man himself. Simon’s in it for revenge. Dracula’s minions murdered his father and slaughtered his mother. Quite understandable then, that he sets of on his very own holy crusade.

Simon’s story is essentially just the first act of the game. Act two and three have you playing as Alucard and Trevor Belmont (Simon’s now-dead father) respectively. Both bear their own secrets.

To cut to the chase: the story won’t win any rewards. It’s shallow, leaves a lot of questions unanswered and the presentation – cutscenes are poorly animated sketches – is clearly low budget. If anything it’s miles away from Symphony of the Nights ‘What is a man?’ opening speech.



Mirror of Fate comes to life as a 2.5 dimensional game. Presumably to complement the handheld’s 3D-effect. Truth be told, there’ve been far worse uses of the 3DS’s slider. In fact, I’d argue that once you turn on the 3D, you’ll receive a far more dynamic and engaging game.

As far as the graphics go that’s about the only positive argument though. There’s a distinct lack of color other than fifty shades of brown and rust, fans of the series will instantly miss the gorgeously drawn environments otherwise prominent in every Castlevania-game.

Mirror of Fate manages to make the castle courtyard look the same as its clock tower, caverns and royal chambers.

Aside from a distinct lack of, well, distinction, there’s just not much to say about the way this game looks. It’s bland, uninteresting and completely unworthy of the well-designed foundation its predecessors built.



I’ll admit, I’m a long-time fan of the series, so yes, you’d be forgiven to think my opinion about Mirror of Fate might be skewed. But honestly, I went into the game as objectively as possible. Yet I still died a little inside, every time I turned on the sound.

I know the series switched producers just as well as I’m aware that he soundtrack is handled by an entirely different team than in previous games. But did it really have to be this obnoxious?

As far as I’m concerned the music doesn’t fit the game at all and aside from a few oddly timed cues, there’s no real variation during the entire span of the game.

Eventually my subconscious started to drone out the music. So I turned it off, at least that saves battery power.



When it comes to gameplay, Mirror of Fate can only be called indecisive. The game is trying to combine three legacies into one game and regrettably fails at every single one of them.

First of all it tried to take notes from the series’ platforming roots. Instead of gaping chasms and well-placed traps, Mirror of Fate has you jumping from one ledge to the other, initiating a painfully slow animation each time one of our heroes has to pull himself up to higher grounds. There are virtually no exciting jumps to be found, only dull leaps from one platform to the other.

Secondly, Mirror of Fate took a good look at its aptly called metroidvania heritage, nodded its head and went ‘you know what we need? Cleverly hidden objects to get players exploring our game, that’s what.’ Then it went on to add branching paths, letting you choose between a left, a right and sometimes a downward path with a box at the end containing an upgrade for either your health- or manapool or for the amount of subweapons you can carry.

Dear Mirror of Fate, this is not proper exploration, just a way to artificially inflate the amount of time spent getting from point A to point B.


Lastly Mirror of Fate continued the original Lords of Shadows’ reliance on hack-&-slash gameplay. All three heroes – Simon Belmont, Trevor Belmont and Alucard in case you’ve forgotten by now – all use the same leveling and combo system. Which means that any progress made with one of the characters counts for the other two as well. The only thing that changes are which secondary weapons you own and what kind of magic you can cast.

Simon relies on protection from guardian spirits, Alucard can shapeshift and Trevor use Light and Dark magic to force his way through hordes of undead.

But essentially you’re whipping monster-ass the exact same way throughout the entire game. Regretfully for developer Mercurysteam, hacking and slashing in two dimensions isn’t nearly as interesting as it was in the previous Castlevanias. This is made abundantly clear during boss fights, which almost always require you to spam the two attack buttons until it’s time for another quick time event.



History won’t remember Castlevania: Lords of Shadows: Mirror of Fate kindly. It’s a game that tried to do too many things at the same time and subsequently failing at every single one of them.

You might regret the departure from the formula made popular by Symphony of the Night and Aria of Sorrow, but Castlevania has shown many times before, that change can be quite good.

This time, however, we’re left with a low-budget game that suffers greatly an overall lack of direction.

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Castlevania: Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate - Review, 5.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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