Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Game Poster Image

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow



Well made but bloody fantasy action game is for adults only.
Parents recommend

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Strong Christian overtones permeate the narrative, but this isn’t the sort of story one is likely to hear in a modern church. It’s about a fight against fantastical, supernatural evil, and gameplay glorifies the bloody ways in which demons and other enemies are dispatched.

Positive role models

The hero Gabriel is a heartbroken holy warrior widow working to save the world from dark sorcery. His noble intentions are never in question, but he is also a man of extreme violence. He does nothing that players ought to aspire to emulate in the real world.

Ease of play

It can be quite challenging, even on the easiest difficulty level. That said, onscreen tutorials illustrate how to perform each of the game’s many moves, and players earn them slowly enough that they have time to grow comfortable and experiment with each one before trying another.


Players use a chain whip, daggers, explosives, and other weapons to gorily dispatch fantasy and humanoid creatures such as goblins and werewolves. Blood spews from foes in great gushes, leaving puddles in the environment. Bar-setting graphical realism increases the level of intensity.


Inhuman -- but clearly feminine -- creatures such as fairies appear bare-breasted.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

Families can talk 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?

Game details

Platforms:PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Available online?Not available online
Release date:October 6, 2010
ESRB rating:M for Blood and Gore, Nudity, Violence

This review of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Mini Ninjas Poster Image
    Family-friendly cartoon ninja brawler with epic story.
  • MySims Sky Heroes Poster Image
    Bright and colorful characters in exciting aerial dogfights.
  • 3-D Dot Game Heroes Poster Image
    Fun, creative retro adventure serves as homage/satire.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written byWarri October 9, 2010

it is awesome

a good game
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Teen, 14 years old Written byMaya the Book Lover September 14, 2012

A very good game, with a big amount of violence, but also positive messages

In my opinion, "Castlevania: Lords of Shadow" is a very good game. Graphics are magnificent and I like the way the gameplay is organized. In fact, I haven't played it, but I saw walkthroughs on YouTube. And I must say that I really enjoyed it. Bad side of this game is a great amount of violence (and some suggestive themes), which means that it may not be suitable for persons under the age of 16. I'm 14, but the words that I will say will explain my attitude toward this game. Somebody may think that use of Christian relics as weapons is inappropriate. However, I, myself, don't have a problem with it. I feel that those elements are put to even show importance of holy things. Well, at least, the game is set in 11th century and people of that time were very religious, which means that relics are used in fight with evil, which is in fact, a positive message. Also, the main character, Gabriel, will do anything to see his wife again; he would even give his life if he had to. There is no bad language in the game. All in all, it's a very good game. I recommend it!
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Adult Written bySlytherin Student March 15, 2012

Addicted to Castlevania

Yes there is blood, language, nudity, ect. So don't let kids under thirteen play it. Simple. Anyone thirteen and up, have at it! It's a blast to play! I usually end up shrieking at the game system because I am not skilled enough to play it so I always loose. Ha ha, it is a fun game. Recommended.