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 - Mirror of Fate is a rare M-rated 3DS game, and not suitable for kids. Filled with intense and mature themes -- including some sexuality and deep family conflicts between fathers and sons -- it trades in graphic, bloody fantasy violence. Players will see characters impaled, undead creatures with great red holes in their torsos, and splashes of blood with each strike of their hero's various bladed weapons.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
An epic story with multiple protagonists, CASTLEVANIA: LORDS OF SHADOW - MIRROR OF FATE is a sequel to 2010's Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, though it differs significantly in play style. It's still set in a lush, three-dimensional world filled with terrifying and gruesome fantastical enemies -- including the terrible Dracula, the vampire into which the previous game's hero eventually transformed. But action here takes place on a two-dimensional plane, which means movement is restricted to left and right, up and down. The action centers largely on bloody battles against powerful minions and bosses, though some sections focus more on platforming and puzzles, with players forced to execute tricky jumps, climb walls, swim through water, and manipulate objects in the environment. The heart of the game, though, is its dark, complex story, which moves between characters and time periods to weave a surprisingly mature, sometimes tragic tale.
Is it any good?
You're not likely to find a better looking game for Nintendo's stereoscopic handheld. Mirror of Fate's beautifully lit, finely detailed environments have incredible depth for a side-scrolling game -- especially if you can handle the three-dimensional effects (some players can experience a bit of a headache when left on for very long). What's more, the game's mature narrative is engaging and well written -- a good fit for the grown-up gamers at which it is targeted.
Any beefs players may have will likely rest in the gameplay, which doesn't quite click as well as other elements of the experience. Attempts to offer a bit of open exploration fall flat in front of the game's undeniable linearity. Plus, character growth is strangely stifled, reducing the opportunity for satisfying hero evolution. It's still a fun and memorable play, but these rough spots will likely keep Mirror of Fate from becoming a classic within this venerable franchise.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about vampires. Why do you think vampires have fascinated people for so long? Do you think they're more or less scary than other traditional fantasy villains, such as werewolves, zombies, goblins, or witches?
Families can also discuss the impact of violence in media. How do you judge whether a game is too violent for your family? Do you differentiate between violence against people and violence against fantastical creatures or aliens?
- Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: solving puzzles, strategy
- Price: $39.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Konami
- Release date: March 5, 2013
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Partial Nudity, Suggestive Themes, Violence
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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.