Recommended guide: PS3Trophies.org
When I think of welcoming in 2013, the first thing that comes to my mind is to pop in a two year old game and play it to completion in hopes of seeing everything it has to offer and add to my Platinum Trophy collection. I guess that’s not quite how it happened, but that’s how it went down with Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. I bought it on a ridiculous sale, let it sit, played it, beat it, reviewed it, and then let it sit again, but this time in the “I’ll go back to it one day” pile. This past week was that time, making me bunker down and finally hit every last trophy for that coveted and slightly rare Platinum. Running back through every level reminded me of what I loved about it and how just gosh damn gorgeous it is, but also widened already present holes in the combat and traversal.
As opposed to most games, you’ll gain pretty equal amounts of rewards per playthrough. Finishing the game and then again on Hard for trial completion will basically net you half every time since trophies are usually doled out for maxing out of beating something. Whether it is doing all of the X or finding all of the Y, there’s always that something left to reward. Collectibles are easily found in a guide and there aren’t a million of them, meaning they never feel like too much work and you’ll want to find them since they extend one of your three bars. Even though an in-game map would have been useful, I actually wanted to find them.
Every level has an unlockable trial, giving it even more replay value and a necessary “evil” for ones wanting to squeeze everything out of Lords of Shadow. A hearty chunk of them are creative and give new ways to play, but they tangentially point out problems with the combat. I don’t want to turn this into a retrospective review, but even though it halfway looks like God of War on the surface, it doesn’t control or flow like it. Finesse isn’t the game’s strong suit and the defensive capabilities are lacking, making the game a little bit of a chore to complete on Paladin difficulty. It’s serviceable and fun but quite frustrating under pressure (mostly because it has amazing potential, but that is for another time).
I had actually started a hunt for Darksiders II before giving up in tedium-stricken rage. No one wants to find hundreds of worthless doodads for a few meaningless pings in an overly large world with too many nooks and crannies. It was torture. So after an hour, I channeled that trophy whoring energy in a game I preferred. Even though I spent a lengthy part of the final hours swearing and punching soft objects, I felt good squeezing every last drop out of this long, gorgeous game. If anything, it gives me solid ideas of what I want to see in its sequel and nabs me another Platinum for my digital cabinet.