A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is an extremely violent and gory action adventure game designed with mature players in mind. Battles are highlighted by crimson geysers and blood-stained ground, and the narrative’s religious themes invoke Christian ideas and iconography (the player’s primary weapon is a giant cross containing a chain imbued with holy water). There is also nudity in the form of bare-breasted fairy creatures.
What's it about?
CASTLEVANIA: LORDS OF SHADOW puts players in the shoes of a holy warrior named Gabriel in the 11th century who, after the land comes under a black spell that takes the life of his wife and leaves others believing that God has forsaken humanity, embarks on an epic quest to rid the world of its haunting, evil menace. It drags the Castlevania franchise -- a bastion of classic side-scrolling action -- into modernity by presenting players a lush and enormous 3-D world and updating elements of combat, exploration, and puzzles accordingly. Players will unlock and learn dozens of moves over the course of the game that will better allow them fight and dispatch their enemies in increasingly gory ways. Clearly, this is not a game meant to be played by children.
Is it any good?
Proudly reflecting a wide range of pop culture influences ranging from films like The Lord of the Rings and Excalibur to games including Shadow of the Colossus and God of War, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is a high-energy action experience dramatically punctuated by stunning cinematic moments. And it’s enormous. With a dozen chapters -- each with their own series of often lengthy levels that can be revisited and new areas reached as Gabriel grows in power -- some players will likely work at it for months hoping to extract every last bit of fun they can.
Niggling issues such as a frustratingly fixed camera and a level of difficulty that could put off some less experienced players keep it from earning top marks, but grownups who have been waiting for this classic franchise to be remade into something more contemporary won’t be disappointed.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the notion of employing religious themes in games. Do you think they can make an interactive experience resonate more strongly with spiritual players? Is it possible that Christians might take offence when they see a crucifix used as a weapon?
Families can also discuss the difference between the depiction of nude fantasy creatures and nude humans. Should one provide more reason for concern than the other? Do you think that nudity can ever play a role in a game outside of exploitation?
For kids who love action adventures
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.