Before I got to play Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate, I watched a person ahead of me die four times while fighting the Executioner before giving up in frustration. I restarted the demo, which took me back at the castle’s entrance.
I took control of Trevor Belmont and skeletons greeted me when I stepped inside the gates. Skeletons are fodder enemies, but in Mirror of Fate it took more than one crack of the
whip Combat Cross to take them down. I think it was about ten strikes with a few dodges in between before the first skeleton fell. These ghouls tried to attack Trevor by throwing bones that arced downwards like a parabola from an eighth grade algebra class. One skeleton blocked my attacks with a spiked shield and counterattacked by lunging forward. Trevor has a "grab" button so I thought I could swipe the shield right away. That didn’t work and Trevor lost a significant amount of life after getting knocked on the head. After the defensive skeleton took enough damage a prompt appeared over its head indicating it was OK to take the shield and smack the skeleton with it.
Yes, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate like Lords of Shadow before it has God of War style finishing moves. After whipping the a suit of sentient armor (with the help of dark magic, activated by pressing right on the D-pad), Trevor grabbed the walking armor’s green energy and ripped it out as a finishing move. Players can ignore cinematic finishers, but whipping an enemy takes a lot longer than pulling out an enemy’s soul. Trevor can open treasure chests, often with life refilling orbs, by holding a button down, which was also reminiscent of an angry Spartan.
I noticed the first fork after moving deeper into the castle. I could either stock up on hearts (energy for sub-weapons) or skip this part to get through the stage faster. I decided to pick up the extra hearts and was glad I did since I obtained my first sub-weapon a few minutes later on. Bats flew into the castle convientely after I acquired the Boomerang. Trevor can launch this weapon to hit flying enemies or charge it so it spins in place after touching an enemy. This technique works well with skeletons who just stand there as the rotating boomerang cuts through them.
As a breather from all the fighting, I got to try some light platforming after defeating the bats. Being a "combat game" Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate holds your hand explaining how to use the whip to swing on to chandeliers. When I go to the end I had to double jump to reach the next ledge, but being curious I decided to jump down instead since I thought I might be able to enter another passageway according to the map, which was actually blocked off for the demo. David Cox, producer, later explained to me that Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate is built like Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse where there are different paths to take, but you’ll usually need another character to access a different route.
So, I decided to keep fighting and I finally reached the Executioner. The key to damaging the Executioner was mixing up attacks to create combos and doing lots of dodge rolls. Since Trevor can’t sidestep, I rolled backwards and settled into a hit and run rhythm, but I failed to defeat the Executioner in time. While the game didn’t have a time limit, I did and my interview with the Lords of Shadow team was about to start. (We’ll have that early next week!)