First things first. This hands-on report will be spoiler-free regarding the first game. I’m currently playing that one through (I know, I’m late) and several previews for the new game have blown the first game’s ending. I don’t want to do the same if you’re yet to play Lords of Shadow. So read this, then get on it, you don’t want to get left behind again.
The word on the wire is that this concluding part of the Lords of Shadow saga is going to be a more open world affair. That’s not on display here though as this is more of an introduction. Don’t worry; it’s much more exciting than it sounds. There’s a massive, Holy Transformer thing for starters! But more on that later.
The original game is one of the best-looking games of the generation. Seriously, go borrow a copy and see. Packed with gorgeous scenery and pin-sharp images, it truly shames the genre’s competition with only the God of War games being able to stand up to it. Much of this was possible thanks to the fixed camera angle, as it allowed the developers to really focus on detail for set scenes rather than create fully-viewable environments accessible via a player-controlled camera.
This did make the odd fight awkward though as you could disappear behind large bits of scenery or more likely behind the massive troll beasts trying to squeeze the Holy Spirit from your guts. Not being able to move the camera also made exploration difficult, especially if a side-route was off-camera.
It would seem the developers have taken on the feedback and have seen fit to introduce a manual camera on the right stick. Some scenes have locked it down for cinematic effect though. I was a bit concerned that the new camera would mean the game would take a hit graphically, as more of each stage would have to be designed.
With only gloomy indoor and night stages available in this demo it was hard for my inner graphics whore to make a solid judgment call to be honest. This also wasn’t helped by the wildly varying quality between the TVs available to players at the preview event. I’m really not sure why publishers provide/settle for massive -but shit- TVs for these things, then force us to sit three feet away from them with pixels bleeding into our retinas. When viewed from a reasonable distance though, it wasn’t hard to tell that CLOS2 was one of the better-looking PS3 games at the Eurogamer Expo.