8.8: Castlevania Lords of Shadow 2 got mixed reviews by critics, but one of the most infamous was Edge's review that score of 4.0 / 10. And the worst part is that they score Rambo: The Video Game with a 5.0/10.
Whilst trying to evade him in the garden maze is incredibly frustrating, the actual boss fight against Agreus is considered to be one of the easiest battles in the game due to his predictable attack pattern.
Abaddon is another straightforward boss, considering that the two bosses following him Victor Belmont and Inner Dracula are much, much tougher.
Best Boss Ever: Although most of the bosses are awesome (the bosses are a highly praised feature of the game), special mentions goes to Victor Belmont, for being an epic Mirror Boss, and, Inner Dracula for sheer Nightmare Fuel.
Catharsis Factor: After being bossed around by the “scared-witless-of-the-Acolytes” Zobek for the vast majority of the game, after running countless errands for him, and after being repetitively pressured into doing his dirty work whilst he sat on his rump in his ivory tower in the heart of the city, it was extremely gratifying to deck him into his jawless skull-face at long last.
Crazy Awesome: The Chupacabra. Originally The Scrappy of the first game, it's revealed to be an all-powerful god-like trickster, that nearly drove the Prince of Darkness to madness, forcing him to lock him in the deepest, darkest, dungeon in his castle.
Critical Dissonance: Was panned by some critics, but it did not stop the audience from unanimously giving it above-average marks across Steam and Metacritic.
Cult Classic: Didn't do really well in sales, and got mixed reviews by critics, but got very positive user reviews, spawned a small, yet devoted fanbase, and is generally considered an improvement over the first game by Castlevania fans. Gabriel, and his portrayal of Dracula, as a character, is also very endearing to people who played the game.
Dark Cultists. Cultists show up just before the game's finale for good reason; they always come in packs and all attack at once, all but one of their attacks is unblockable, they have standard health but can teleport away if they're not locked in a combo for more than three seconds in inclusion to already being able to fly, they can summon a demon portal that if you fail to close quickly will flood you with infected, and if five or more of them are present at once, they can fuse together to become a chaos demon that's hard to kill by normal means, and killing it just makes them turn back into the cultists. And during the endgame and post-game, these are just about the only enemies you'll fight in the City. Thankfully, the draw-in moves for the Void Sword and Chaos Claws (Void Kata and Fire Cover, respectively) utterly destroys them, and the Apostle they can conjure can be undone with a single Void Projectile.
Satan's Soldiers can become this to an unseasoned player. They're light on their feet, hit in a rapid succession, can teleport, spit blobs of slime that immobilizes you on the spot, detonate upon death in a wave of green energy, normally come in packs of two-four, and can even transform into a living “turret” (with their chest-burster-esque spirit attacking anything within the vicinity.) Luckily, they become more tolerable as you progress, learn their moveset, and realize that their headbutting attack can be sync blocked. They're still more annoying than their supposedly more powerful siblings, the Horned Demons, who are laughably easy to kite and stunlock with a heavy attack.
The Infected, of all enemies. They don't pose a threat on their own, but they do come in throngs, – twenty-five and more at once as seen in one of the Kleidos Challenges – and later into the game they start getting upgrades, such as weapons and firearms. Those can vary from simple tire iron and fire-axes (which grant them the ability to perform an unblockable), to semi-automatic rifles and grenade launchers. Suffice it to say, getting multiple rounds and several grenades to the face can be... dangerous.
While it is implied to a great extent that Marie has been resurrected by God, it's never truly confirmed by Word of God, therefore this falls under the fanon category. Some even speculated that she is more than she appears given her curious speech pattern and the ability to warp between the modern city and the seemingly-abstract castle.
On a related note some theorized that Alucard and the young-apparition!Trevor are the same being. Both are never seen on-screen at the same time – Alucard (in his disguise) even comes up with an excuse that “Zobek needs him” and walks off-screen... only for Trevor to appear minutes later. As further argument, Trevor's words of “use [the Wolf medallion] and I will come” make sense knowing that using the talisman spawns the White Wolf, who is Alucard (confirmed by canon material and artwork).
And, of course, the matter of Dracula himself. With the abundance of inexplicit proof and religious symbolism – God's continual Favor for one – it is safe to say that he is a Fallen Angel. Some even speculated that he's saint Archangel Gabriel in the flesh dispatched by the Almighty to prevent the apocalypse.
Fridge Brilliance: Dracula's dialog at times implies that he still thinks of himself as a sort of hero. Even when he's massacring villages he still acts like he's doing good, saying that he's sending them all to a better place. So, if Dracula isn't a monster, then why are there all these scrolls and memorials around describing him horrifically torturing people for fun? Simple. In the case of the memorials you find around the city in the present day those are all propaganda written by Satan's acolytes, intended to make Dracula out to be worse than he actually was. In the case of the Brotherhood's scrolls that litter the castle, almost all of them describe tortures being inflicted not by Dracula but by his minions who (as this game repeatedly shows) are all only barely controlled by Dracula if at all. While Dracula was definitely a villain prior to the events of this game, he was never as bad as people thought.
Dracula's use of the memetic "What is a man...but a miserable pile of secrets!" during the tutorial may seem like Pandering to the Base without context at first glance. However, when you look at Roland and the army of Brotherhood knights from his perspective, Dracula could be musing at how the upper echelons of the Brotherhood had most likely created a cover story for Gabriel's "death" after the defeat of the Lords of Shadow (Trevor being the exception in MoF). Even if Roland is a high-ranking commander, he might not had been privy to the truth on Dracula still being God's chosen one, given his reaction when Dracula grabs the cross with no ill-effect, or the prophecy that Gabriel becomes Dracula. Given that official chronology places the tutorial stage in the year AD 1547, 500 years after the first game, and the low life-expectancy back then, the Brotherhood would've had ample time to create and hide their new "pile of secrets" - they are mortal men.
Friendly Fandoms: Expect a great deal of overlapping with the Hellsing fandom on social media. The fact that Dracula shares a visibly comparable design with Hellsing's Dracula!Alucard does not help.
The Void Sword's Whirlwind move (Block [LT/L2] + Direct Attack [X/Square] + Move [Left Stick]). Ridiculously quick, costs a pint-sized amount of magic, easy to execute, can stunlock bigger opponents, is devastating to the majority of bosses at higher mastery levels, and cheesegrates multiple foes if they're stacked into a row. Because of the latter, it is laughably easy to recover your whole health bar in one single swipe as compared to other, less-effective moves from the same repertoire. Once you discover/master this move it is guaranteed you will not use anything else to regain health. One drawback? It is ground-based. Meaning any air (harpies, though you can force them to the ground), or otherwise armored foes (Abaddon) cannot be exploited. A must-have skill on Prince of Darkness difficulty.
To a lesser extent the Chaos Claws' “ultimate” – Explosive Earthquake (Chaos Bombs selected + Secondary Weapon [RT/R2] + Area Attack [Y/Triangle]). It can annihilate enemies from a safe distance as well as stunlocks them. It is not as practiced because of its enormous Chaos energy cost and inefficacy against clusters of mooks, but against solitary bosses it is downright invaluable.
The Relics. You can carry up to five healing potions and mana potions which can be used in-battle, hourglasses which make the “do-not-break-any-shields” trials preposterously easy, and seals that temporarily increase the damage you deal. They would be a Disc One Nuke, if not for some hefty drawbacks – for example, the aforementioned mana potion erodes all of your “reserves” when the timer runs out, and the seals disrupt your weapon mastery progression. Still, the fact you have them is a valid argument on itself. If used carefully, you can beat even the toughest of bosses with ease... with the exception of Victor, who disables your subweapons for the first part of his fight.
Good Bad Bugs: The oh-so-helpful “infinite Blizzard glitch” that, as its name suggests, cloaks Dracula in a continuous aura identical to his Void Sword's “ultimate” Blizzard without incurring a penalty to his energy reserves. The gist of this glitch is that anything hostile that enters your periphery is instantly frozen – yes, including bosses with the exception of Raisa – and continue to take minor damage until Dracula moves away. Yes, you can pummel your enemies without any retaliation, or you can just sit back and watch as everything drops dead in around thirty seconds. And how do you activate it? By triggering an “enemy's finishing move cutscene” (the one that plays at their deaths) with a Blizzard. Because of it, this glitch can only be duplicated in story mode. Freeroam won't work.
Magnificent Bastard: This incarnation of Alucard. He manipulated the events of the entire second game, and succeeded in all of his plans.
His choice of garb, and in particular his frighteningly impractical belt, which normally wouldn't allow for an average person to bend forward, has been pointed out numerous times as well.
“Shirt Allergy.” Explanation Evidently, allvampires in the Lords of Shadow universe are duty-bound to dispose of everything that involves covering their upper bodies. Laura from the first game is the only exception.
Thanks to some unfortunate set design, some doors in the city look like they're either twice as big as Dracula, or that he's really short for the lord of vampires.
There's the cutscene where Dracula and Alucard come up with their plan to kill both Zobek and Satan, and Dracula agrees to be stabbed in the heart to put him to sleep.
Dracula: Push... that damn sword... into my heart! Before I change my mind!
The hilarious part about that sentence: He's saying it as the sword is already partway through his chest!
The final cutscene in which Dracula destroys Satan once and for all takes place in front of that very same church where he was sleeping all that time. No, they did not choose some huge, open, grandly designed venue for either of these key moments in the game, they chose the dark street with a rundown cathedral engulfed by more modern architecture on one side and a pizza place on the other. That giant pizza sign hanging on its side is one of the last things you see following the death of Satan. Also, the fact that one of Dracula's neighbors has been a pizza place for who knows how long, and will continue to be so after Satan was destroyed right across from it.
It's pretty hard to take Satan seriously when his choice of pants is armored chicken legs.
Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Chupacabras was widely hated in the first game thanks to his tendency to steal your items and force you to play an annoying game of hide and seek to get them back, all the while being taunted by his annoying voice. His appearance in this game starts out with a nice bit of catharsis when you find him locked in a magical cage and you get to listen to him grovel and beg for his freedom. After he's released he opens a shop selling a variety of useful items. He also has a new voice which is far less obnoxious than it was in the first game.
Scrappy Mechanic: If you try to avoid encounters with enemies by finding a ledge to parkour to, the enemies (every enemy in the game) has some form of ranged attack that's super fast, incredibly accurate, and always knocks you down. This mechanic stays even well past the point in the game where the only reason you'd be going through there in the first place is backtracking for collectables, when you can easily stomp flat every enemy that tries.
The Hooded Man, a.k.a. Victor Belmont. He frequently parries your attacks, throws a flurry of projectiles that inflict a lot of damage if you get caught in the barrage, and rarely stays still long enough to hit him with a combo. If you try to jump up to evade his attacks, he will leap up and continue to strike you in mid-air, where you cannot escape his blows. However, parrying his blows and counterattacking makes him considerably easier.
The Riders of the Storm are three separate opponents who aren't too challenging to deal with one on one. However, they will not hesitate to strike from behind whilst you are attacking one of the three warriors and they will constantly bombard you with projectiles if you try to create some distance between them. You will be slaughtered if you allow all three statues to mob you at the same time.
Satan had clearly done some homework, as here he can be unbelievably challenging, particularly on higher difficulty settings. He's swift, leaps all over the arena, nearly all of his attacks cover a sizable area and are twofold, only one of his swings can be parried, and oftentimes he will retreat to bombard you with globs of black goo that hurts if you walk over it. And the fact it takes nearly double the time and effort for Dracula to concentrate and refill his magic gauges only makes things more tangled.
That One Level: The Greenhouse maze has infuriated many a gamer with Agreus' aggressive moves, how easy it is to get his attention, and how quickly he can zero in on you. Using the mist ability is a must for getting through the section without tearing your hair out.
The truth of the matter is, the maze is actually pretty easy when one uses the mist ability... but the game never tells you it's an option and instead try to encourage you to take the million times harder ledge-jumping, bell-distracting route...
This has been patched. Now the game warns you about the usefulness of the Mist Form right off the bat.
The Toy Maker. In his backstory, he was offered a home by the owner of Bernhard Castle, Walter, who ended up summoning a demon to curse him, forcing him to make deathtraps and such until the curse is broken by a child. Once he's reawakened, he suffers from temporary memory loss, and the blood of the castle transforms him into a demon, attacking Dracula. After he turns back to normal, he seems genuinely confused and concerned, and once he remembers who Dracula is (and presumably, what he's done), he breaks down crying.
Dracula himself. It's quite clear poor Gabriel still retains what makes him human, even if his humanity is long gone. And he's so utterly miserable whenever he tries to enjoy being evil.