I thought Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate was a game with squandered potential. The game’s combat was a mere fragment of its 3D prequel’s and the checkpointing system removed all significance from the platforming. While I knew it was unlikely that those things would be balanced for the HD version, I was holding out hope it would be a bit more than just a prettier version of what we had.
Those hopes crumbled when I tried the Xbox 360 version of Mirror of Fate HD. The demo contained the first 10 or so minutes of Mirror of Fate, a tutorial with Gabriel Belmont and the approach to Dracula’s castle with Simon Belmont.
One of my concerns with the original Mirror of Fate was the game gave you your entire moveset as Gabriel, then took it away to be unlocked as you leveled up with the other characters throughout the rest of the game. This demo was exactly the same way. I could combo for days with Gabriel, throw out direct and wide attacks (which are still kind of useless in 2D) with X and Y, jump to launch, then smash my enemies to the ground with heavy strikes (holding direct or wide). Simon’s combos were shorter, his heavy attacks nonexistent, and his launchers limited to direct attacks alone.
After realizing combat was exactly the same, I decided to see if the increased number of buttons on the controller added anything. Triggers and bumpers just did exactly what L and R did on 3DS, but aside from that, there was nothing special gained by using the Xbox 360 controller. The right analog stick could have been a handy remap for dodge rolling (which is tied to L and the left analog by default), but the stick remained unused.
The maps and controls were the same, but I was probably most disappointed to see how muddy the visuals seemed. After seeing how crisp Final Fantasy IV: The After Years looked, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate HD seemed messy. It was a shame, considering how good the cutscenes looked and how strong the game’s art direction is. It seemed more like a port than a remaster, and I wanted more, either visually or mechanically.