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Tips for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 - Skills, Combat, and Secrets

Posted on Wednesday, February 26 @ 13:30:21 Eastern by

Fans of Castlevania know you need to see every story through to the end and that journey will take quite a long time in the latest game from Mercury Steam. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 is out now on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC but whether you're about to start your adventure or if you're stuck in the middle of it, check out our tips.

Break everything

While Belmonts have long vandalized Dracula’s castle as a sign of disrespect to the prince of darkness, in Lords of Shadow you are Dracula. If you lash the candelabrums and break all your own stuff, no one is going to get mad at you later. What a twist!

With that in mind, bust open everything you see to pad the non-stealth part of the experience out as much as you can. You’ll find health and combat items, pieces of the dragon medallion to unleash Dracula’s over-powered fury attack, and pieces of concept art. Hunting around for stuff to break will also lead you to more map rooms, magic pedestals with pieces to gather for the combat challenge arena, and other secrets. If you want to get the most out Lords of Shadow 2, play for 100% and obsessively break everything.

Keep Chaos energy

If you can clear a fight with some Chaos energy left after the battle, do so. Chaos energy (and Void energy to an extent) is an absolute must throughout the experience both inside and outside of combat, though Lords of Shadow 2 does give you energy fountains frequently enough. Keeping a few drops of energy in each of your meters means you won’t have to back track to complete a puzzle sequence. Chaos energy is especially important in this regard because some enemies have defensive states that can be impossible to break without the fiery Chaos Gauntlets.

Void energy isn’t quite as important because health can be filled with a number of items. It’s still very useful in puzzles and for freezing enemies, but you won’t really need it like you will Chaos.

Use throwing knives everywhere

The blood knives Dracula gets do very little damage, but they can be used extremely effectively to link combos and interrupt enemies. Knives can be thrown four at a time, while a short cool down allows Dracula to bleed more knives. This means Knives can be used for a number of things, including chip damage on bosses and keeping enemies at bay while you distance and plan your next move in combat.

Just don’t forget about knives. One fight in the middle of the game features guards with sharp blades attached to their jetpacks. These guys can also lay down detection mines that pierce Dracula, deal some damage, and cause a dangerous delay in combat. Knives can be thrown at those mines to disarm them, making it easier to push in and strike.

Grind different attacks to pass on masteries

If you use the same moves a lot, Lords of Shadow 2 actually allows you to pass that effort to the weapon itself. Say you like to lift enemies and juggle them with the shadow whip (that’s either a direct or area attack followed quickly by the jump button). If you do this enough, Lords of Shadow 2 will alert you. Jump into the skills menu and any icon filled with blood can pass its energy onto the whip itself.

You can do this with Void Sword and Chaos Gauntlet skills too. This changes both the weapon’s look and its stats, so the shadow whip grows bright red before going maroon and dark with greater damage on every strike. It’ll take a lot of work to fully level each weapon, but the visual effect and combat boost will be totally worth it. Thanks to New Game Plus, you’ll easily master all of Dracula’s moves.

Use Mist to dodge

Later in the game, you’ll get the ability to turn into a red mist and walk through cages and enemies alike. There’s actually a horrible stealth sequence where Mercury Steam tries to teach you that Mist allows you to walk through enemies, but in the end it’ll only frustrate you if this tactic doesn’t click immediately. All-out combat is the best way to try Mist’s fleeting invulnerability on for size.

Mist is accessed by pushing right on the D-pad and then pulling the right trigger. If you pull the right trigger with knives or the Void and Chaos projections selected, that’s what’ll happen instead, taking energy and probably getting you slammed by a boss in the process. Make sure to press right, then pull the right trigger any time the enemy or boss is going to attack and you’ll turn into Mist and avoid all the damage. You can release the trigger and continue attacking to reap further Focus energy, but dodging will still do the trick in a pinch.

Always opt to dodge or Mist away from damage. The Focus meter stays up for a while before depleting, but you’ll lose it and some health if you take damage. Dashing around the arena or Misting out of harm's way and reorganizing the enemies and your plan of attack will pay off as fights get more frustrating too.

Don't get frustrated

If you get to a particular boss battle or a stealth sequence you just can't clear, there may be a solution online, but I found that the response was to put the controller down and go somewhere else to give yourself a break. Particularly in combat, Lords of Shadow 2 can get really frustrating.

Instead of letting the game's monster challenge get to you, try again later. I found that more often than not a calm mind allowed me to dodge, counter-attack, build a lengthy magic-giving combo, and then finish the boss off with Chaos energy. The same can be said of stealth.

The stealth in Lords of Shadow 2 is horrendous. There's a strong lack of instructions and therefore an excess of frustration, especially as the mechanics start to stack up as the adventure progresses. You have the tools you need to get through, but the solution is often unobvious. Don't be afraid to look online if you're stuck.

Don't forget to read our full review of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 before buying. Diehard fans will love the experience, but it's not without some flaws.

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