Konami’s Castlevania and other games offer some new twists

SSCN4066Konami is on a bit of roll as of late.  From the successful launch of “Metal Gear Rising” to their wildly cryptic “Metal Gear Solid” reveal at the 2012 Spike TV Videogame Awards, and new” Castlevania” game coming later this year.  In a coup Konami also landed “24” actor Keifer Sutherland as the new voice of Snake for the upcoming “Metal Gear Solid.”  So, it was no wonder that they would strut their stuff at the E3 Expo, in Los Angeles this year, which wrapped up on Thursday June 13.

Front and center in the entrance of the South hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center, Konami had rows of consoles to give players some hands on time with “Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2.”   Set to launch this winter, the new “Castlevania” picks up where the first game left off, with a resurrected Gabriel Belmont, now known as Dracula, left weakened and yearning for release from his immortal bonds.  Besieged from all sides, Dracula is also threatened by Satan, who has returned to walk the Earth in a quest to bring about the apocalypse as an act of final revenge for his defeat.

A weakened Dracula must regain his lost powers in order to make a pact with Death to defeat the Devil and gain eternal rest. However, the famed Belmont clan is also intent on slaying the Vampire and unlocking the truth behind their mysterious ancestry. For the first time in the “Castlevania” series, Dracula comes to modern times, though the demo was set in the standard time period.  The fight between good and evil comes to a dramatic close, as Dracula faces his nemesis in Satan and the Belmonts’ unyielding quest for revenge. “Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2” is a well executed blend of action and adventure that rivals bigger names in the genre.

SSCN4068A less cryptic trailer for “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain” was an early part of Microsoft’s E3 keynote.  The gorgeous trailer showcased the new FOX Engine’s photorealistic visual quality with seamless integration of gameplay and cut scenes. The title introduces a new open-world game design featuring real-time weather, realistic passage of time, and a variety of ways to navigate the vast new environments within the game, including a horse. In addition to the franchise’s returning characters, Snake, Kazuhira Miller, Ocelot, and Emmerich, “The Phantom Pain” will of course introduce new characters. The storyline will focus on the ugliness and tragedy of war, as usual and chronicle a legendary hero’s fall from grace.

“Metal Gear” fans that can’t wait for “Metal Gear Solid V,” will have some consolation.  Konami is releasing an exclusive package for Playstation 3 celebrating the 25th anniversary of the “Metal Gear Solid” franchise, in July. The “Metal Gear Solid; Legacy Collection” will include “Metal Gear Solid,” “Metal Gear Solid 2: HD Edition,” “Metal Gear Solid 3: HD Edition,” which includes the original MSX versions of “Metal Gear” and “Metal Gear 2,” “Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker HD Edition,” “Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions,” and “Metal Gear Solid 4: Trophy Edition.” In addition, the collection will also include two Ashley Wood digital graphic novels.

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