Adaptational Villainy: Of an odd sort, with Zobek/Death. Granted, Death was always a villain but he was also a close ally and even friend of Dracula, with the games often referring to him as Dracula's confidante. In this game he's more of an Enemy Mine to Dracula who cares nothing for anyone and is pretty clearly manipulating Dracula for his own personal gain. Death does occasionally refer to Dracula as friend, but in a way that is practically dripping with sarcasm.
All There in the Manual: Some scrolls found in-game imply that 400 years pass between Mirror of Fate and Lords of Shadow 2's prologue, during which Dracula ran rampant. The scrolls also seem to indicate that the year the game takes place in is 2057.
Producer Dave Cox has clarified a few story points on his Twitter account, such as the fact that Satan was killed off for good, that Gabriel saw his destiny in the Mirror before shattering it, and that he is now the master of the Earth.
Alternate History: Based on the City Memorials, Lords of Shadows 2 takes place in a world where the centuries-long struggle between Dracula and the Brotherhood of Light is considered to be historical fact. This makes sense, considering that the game's prologue has Dracula wiping out an entire army by way of a gigantic explosion that could be seen from space. Something like that would be hard to keep secret.
Another Side, Another Story: The DLC is an add-on story campaign that focuses on what Alucard was doing before and during the main game.
Back from the Dead: Although the original Carmilla is quite dead, Inner Dracula revives a version of her from Dracula's memories during Dracula's sojourns into the castle. Marie is also revived the same way, though whether she's simply a personification of Dracula's memories or her soul sent back from Heaven is unclear.
Paladin:God is with me, monster! Dracula: That will be your ruin.
Another appropriate one from the daughter of Satan to both Gabriel and Zobek; considering God's continual absence from the apocalyptic equation.
Raisa Volkova: We killed Him and His precious son! And you two are next!
Bag of Spilling: Dracula wakes up having lost most of his powers, and has to return to his castle to regain them. In a strange sense, since he's obtaining his powers from a place made from his own memories, he technically did not lose them at all, but has to reacquire their use.
Bald of Evil: the second Acolyte, being a child of Satan, fits this rather well.
Batman Gambit/Memory Gambit: The entire plot of Lords of Shadow 2 is based on one of these. Alucard convinces Dracula to fake his own death because he knows that it will cause both Zobek and Satan to come out into the open, allowing Dracula to destroy them both.
Big Bad Ensemble: The game split the difference between Satan and the blood of Bernhard Castle, with the former being the actual objective for Dracula to achieve his death, and the latter being the primary factor keeping him from doing so. Zobek also becomes an important antagonist, but is not given the same focus as the other two.
Black and Grey Morality: The hero of this game is a ruthless vampire lord... but he fights against Satan, who is even worse.
A stone statue of Satan can be seen in Dracula's keep at Bernhard castle.
Dracula awakens in the very same church seen in the epilogue of Lords of Shadow 1.
The sprawling metropolis that serves as the game's setting is none other than Wygol, the snowy mountain village that you visited in chapter V of Lords of Shadow 1000 years earlier. In the modern day, it has been renamed "Castlevania City".
At the end of the tutorial level, Dracula matches the crusader's prayers word for word, referencing him being a member of the Brotherhood of Light in the first game.
Victor Belmont uses many moves Gabriel had in Lords of Shadow during your fight with him, even using his old relics and sub-weapons!
In Castlevania City, there is a local business called Bernhard Metals, Ltd.
Controllable Helplessness: Shortly after Dracula reawakens, he slowly walks down a city street, then ends up in a fight against a monster; in his weakened state, all he can do is barely fight.
Similarly, Dracula can barely walk after being electrocuted by the second Acolyte, Nergal, with you still in control. This turns out to be important; the only way to fight him is to make Dracula crawl back to his castle, bringing Nergal with him.
Crapsack World: This game takes place in a world where wars against a vampire lord are historical fact, Satan's followers are unleashing a plague that turns people into monsters, and the riot police of the city are described by in-game text as being unscrupulous. The world of the Lords of Shadow saga is not a nice place to live.
Creepy Cathedral: The old stone church Dracula wakes up in is covered in demonic looking statues.
Darker and Edgier: Darker than the already dark first game in this trilogy. The game doesn't hide the fact that Dracula is an utter monster.
Dark Reprise: Well, "Dracula's Theme" (the tune you hear in the menu screen) is already a pretty somber song, but it comes back when Dracula meets Marie again. The "dark" part comes in when Dracula finally has a Villainous Breakdown.
It's one of Dracula's powers, and it allows him to possess beings around him by turning himself into blood and entering in their bodies. However, this doesn't last long, because Dracula's blood deteriorates the body quickly, making it stagger and move slowly, and it eventually explodes into Ludicrous Gibs.
In case you had any doubts, Dracula is so feared that Zobek and even Satan are scared of him. Dracula has to fake his own death to bring them out into the open.
Dungeon Punk: The Brotherhood of Light's aesthetic. Of particular note is the Siege Titan powered by a magical crystal.
Earn Your Happy Ending: Of a sort. After a thousand years of torment, Gabriel Belmont is finally allowed to live in peace with his son, Walking the Earth with him as it rebuilds from the Apocalypse.
Eldritch Abomination: Leviathan, an ancient, godlike beast imprisoned by Satan for thousands of years. He plans to destroy the world with it. You might remember its spawn swimming through the depths of the castle in the first game's Reverie DLC.
God of Evil: Dracula intends to be the one and only "prince of darkness", as a screw you to God, Satan, the Brotherhood of Light, and just about everyone else who manipulated him and ruined his life.
Gratuitous Foreign Language: Latin mostly, although we also have Demonic Speech and, in one case, ancient Enochian, the language of Satan.
Dracula: Ubi fuerint haec nomina, et digna dei! Praecipimus vobis atque, ligamus vos ut non habeatis! Utus potestatem per pesten nec per aliquod! Quodeumque maleficium nocere ei incantationem neque! In anima nec in corpore!
The once heroic Dracula has become a monstrous God of Evil.
The Belmonts have become so obsessed with restoring their honor that they're willing to doom the world as long as it means killing Dracula.
Friedrich Nietzsche's Trope Namer quote is also invoked.
Friedrich Nietzsche: He who fights monsters should beware, lest he become a monster himself.
Hide Your Children: Averted. One of Dracula's first acts upon waking up in the 21st century is to butcher a young girl and her family to revive himself.
Hopeless Boss Fight: Inverted in the prologue; Dracula can't take damage from anything (because he's Dracula, and Dracula is that powerful), so while the Golden Paladin can juggle you a bit, there's absolutely no chance he can actually kill you.
Played straight in the scene after; Dracula wakes up in the present day and stumbles upon a demon. At this point Dracula is blood-starved from being asleep for several centuries and can barely attack or dodge. Zobek's bodyguard winds up bailing you out right before it delivers the finishing blow.
How We Got Here: The game opens with a weakened Dracula waking up after centuries of sleep in modern day, and then flashes back to centuries earlier to show how he got there.
An Ice Person: The Primal Void Gem allows Dracula's Void Sword to shoot clouds of ice that freeze enemies on contact.
Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: From easiest to hardest, the skill levels are named Twilight Knight, Creature of the Night, Lord of Shadow, and Prince of Darkness.
Immediate Sequel: The game starts at the end of Lords of Shadow's epilogue. Played with, however, in that the sequel game to the main plot of the first game, "Mirror of Fate", is a long time before this one. This serves as an immediate sequel to the Distant Finale of the first game, but not to the gameplay.
Dracula impales a monster through the head with his sword after it grabs his son.
When Dracula performs a finishing move on a harpy, he will often impale her with her own spear.
The ways in which Past!Carmilla, Zobek, and Satan die.
Jaws of Steel: In the finisher animations, Dracula bites down on enemies necks to feed, even if they are wearing chainmail, armor, have thick hides, etc... He even bites through his own gauntlet to offer his blood to work puzzles and help his son. dude must have teeth of diamonds.
In-universe, one of the knights attacking Dracula's castle went insane and was going over a ritual that involved all of the steps, with "grab the air" for B and "jump" for A. He fell to his death while attempting it.
Laser Blade: Dracula's mystical Void Sword has a blade made of pure energy, rather than sharpened metal, though it looks metal enough.
Somewhat averted with Zobek. From the trailers and first couple of hours of gameplay, it's clear he's a much darker character than the noble knight he initially presented himself as, but it's not outright shown that he's in fact the 3rd Lord of Shadow, which was arguably the first game's big Reveal.
Limit Break: The Dragon Amulet: When you have five dragon scales, using it causes Dracula to go into a cutscene where he turns into a dragon made of shadows and chaos, before crashing down and doing damage that will kill just about everything in the game short of boss in one hit. It also makes Dracula invincible and locks him into stronger than normal chaos claws for about half a minute after.
Love Redeems: A major theme. Dracula's love for Marie and Trevor causes him to slowly rediscover his humanity over the course of the game, which ultimately results in a Heel-Face Turn.
Mêlée à Trois: Corporate and Demonic enemies will fight each other, but there aren't a lot of areas where the two are encountered at the same time.
Mental World: Bernhard Castle could count as this, as it's constructed from Dracula's own memory. This explains how characters long dead can show up there (including some whom Dracula never actually met at that point in their lives, like Child!Trevor and Human!Carmilla).
Mook Horror Show: The first time you fight the Riot Police is a great example of this. Try to put yourself in one of those men's shoes. You and two of your buddies are tasked with putting down possessed civilians and after a while, you come across a man in a red coat who seems to be immune to the demonic virus that's turning everyone else into mindless monsters. You ask him to come with you, but he tells you to get out of his way, so you decide to take him in by force. Then you find out the hard way that this is no ordinary man you're dealing with when he starts attacking you with some kind of whip that looks like it's made out of solid blood, occasionally swapping them out for a glowing sword that seems to suck the energy out of you with every hit and a pair of flaming gauntlets that completely leave your brand new jetpack useless. The next thing you know, he's ripping out one guy's throat with his mouth and DRINKING HIS BLOOD, then he kills your other friend and sends you flying. You get back up, and realize you're the only one left. But the man in the red coat is nowhere to be seen. You look around wildly, already knowing how completely and utterly fucked you are seconds before the man's hand plunges through your chest. You look down, and the last thing you see before you die is your still beating heart clutched in his hand.
One of the preorder bonuses is an "Armored Dracula" skin, which gives him black armor and clothing reminiscent of ''SoTN's Dracula, it even grows out his beard a bit more to make the resemblance more apparent.
in Castlevania City, there is a local business called Bernhard Metals, Ltd.
Non Standard Game Over: Besides failing the QTEs, there are a handful of circumstances that give a lengthy cutscene before going to the game over screen:
During Carmilla's chapter, Dracula's being corrupted by her blood; if your real health falls below the black bar that's at the start of your health meter, you get a cutscene where Dracula is fully charmed and follows Carmilla into the darkness with a lovestruck look on his face.
When you first encounter Nergal Meslamstia, he begins subjecting Dracula to electric torture. If you don't limp away from him and lure him to Castlevania where he's weak enough to even the odds, you get a cutscene where Dracula is set on fire as Nergal opens a portal to Hell for Satan to capture him.
Powered Armor: Some of the enemies wear such armor, with medieval design touches. Alucard also wears such a suit - not that he needs it, but it obscures his identity until The Reveal and makes him look badass even with the helmet off.
Revenge Before Reason: Dracula is willing to take the rest of time to get revenge on his enemies, even though it means never seeing his loved ones again.
Rip Van Winkle: After an encounter with Alucard in the Middle Ages, Dracula is comatose for centuries until 21st century comes around. As a result, he loses much of his memories and powers, and has to retrieve them.
Another similarity to a scene from that movie is the cutscene after Carmilla is defeated, where Dracula pets the white wolf that transports him between the city and castle while Marie watches.
When Dracula and Victor have to jump out a window to get a momentary respite from Abbadon, the way Victor jumps, combined with his white hooded ensemble makes him very closely resemble an assassin.
Additionally, when leading Dracula up to the back entrance into the underground catacombs where the survivors are living, Victor uses Parkour after double jumping up a series of beams. More specifically, He uses the Prince's wall run before diving onto balcony.
The third acolyte, a Satan-worshiping cleric named Guido Szandor, is almost certainly named for Anton Szandor LaVey, founder of the real-life Church of Satan.
In the Revelations DLC, while scouring the Toy Maker's quarters, you come across a dead knight identified as "Angry Sir Rolfe", who complains that the solution to the Toy Maker's trap is so complicated that he'd almost wish for it to be just having to wait until being picked up by a magical tornado. This is a shout out to The Angry Video Game Nerd, James Rolfe, who started his online career by reviewing Castlevania II Simons Quest, where such an event actually happens. There, this doubles as a Mythology Gag.
Chupacabra gets behind a shop counter, but has a raised step behind it. Dracula peers at it and Chupacabra says "The world is what you make of it. If it doesn't fit, you make alterations." This is all a direct reference to Film/Silverado.
The Siege: The Brotherhood of Light laid siege to Dracula's castle in the past, only for Dracula to wipe them out single-handedly.
Spot the Imposter: Towards the end of Carmilla's chapter, Dracula is put into a Spot the Imposter scenario with his wife Marie and Carmilla pretending to be Marie. It's fairly obvious which one is the fake, since Carmilla still talks like The Vamp.
Stealth-Based Mission: Various stealth-based elements, which involve the use of Dracula's Plague of Rats power and others.
Sword of Plot Advancement: The Vampire Killer Combat Cross is the only thing that can kill Dracula, and by implication of his bloodline, Alucard. The weapon serves to be the end goal of Dracula's journey until Alucard reminds him of their plan. Then it is still very important, but is to be used on the vampires after Satan and Zobek are defeated, and is ultimately not used on them at all.
Too Dumb to Live: The Brotherhood of Light in their scrolls and memorials get bopped on the head with this every now and again (not the firsttime either). Despite rooting out evil, they seem completely under the masquerade of the creatures of the night. One of the memorials even has a building christened in Zobek's honor... while also pointing out that he's 112 years old (and this was in 1903, the game presumably takes place in the 2000s) and impossibly healthy, they just attribute it to being in good standing with God due to his altruism.
Unexpected Gameplay Change: The stealth sections are new, compared to LoS1. Zobek explains that, due to your current weakness, any encounters with the Golgothan guards will be best approached with stealth rather than combat, until you've regained your powers, but that just is applied to every section. Presumably even with all of his power intact, Dracula still doesn't have the necessary strength and experience recalled to face them until just before the Final Boss, when no more Golgoth guards appear.
It's never really explained how Zobek survived seemingly being killed by Satan at the end of the first game.
Likewise, Dracula recovering from his apparent death at the end of Mirror Of Fate is never elaborated on, though the fact that his dissolution at the end of the battle was different from that of other vampires indicates that he hadn't really died at all, and Alucard was waiting for when he would come up again.
The Unfought: You don't fight Guido Szandor, the final acolyte. First Alucard stops you from attacking him, then Satan kills him after being summoned.
Urban Fantasy: Much of the game involves you playing as an immortal vampire in modern day.
Walking Spoiler: Just getting a good look at Dracula or hearing him speak gives away The Reveal from the first game that Gabriel Belmont became the vampire lord.
Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Castlevania City is somewhere in Middle to Eastern Europe, except the city itself looks like Budapest, Madrid and London had a child together and left it up in the mountains somewhere.
Cars and Trucks in the city have American, European and Japanese influences.
Elevators are referred to as lifts and the elevator buttons are in Japanese.
Castlevania City's architecture is predominantly Gothic, but there are Romanesque and Baroque influences as well, along with various modern architectural styles including High-Tech, which is seen in some of the skyscrapers and high-rises. The part of the city right outside of the church where Dracula woke up, looks like a mix between Times Square and Piccadilly Circus.
The Riot Police are wearing WW1-WW2 era gas masks, and their assault rifles look like they're PPSh-41 submachineguns with extra furniture on them.
Dracula: ...And did they tell you of your own death at my hands? Did they tell you what would happen to our child? Did they?! Did they tell you that blood would fight against blood, for all eternity!? [...] Tell me, is this God's reward for the devoted and the foolish? Marie: You are no fool, Gabriel. Dracula:I am no longer Gabriel, woman! I am the dragon, Dracul! I am the prince of darkness! I am, and will be, forever, a thorn in His side! That is my vengeance!
Dracula: That is why the power of your God cannot destroy me... Because I am His chosen one!
Would Hurt a Child: One of Dracula's first acts in the modern day is to drain dry a family down to their young daughter. Though when he looks into the other room and actually sees them, the twinge on his face implies he's very unhappy with what Zobek fed him while he was in a blood-starved frenzy.