More for Less?

Lords of Shadow

About a week ago, I went to my local GameStop; more for my son who wanted to purchase LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean, but I ended up making a purchase of my own as well.

Like so many other “old-school” gamers who grew up in the 8-bit era, I’ve many fond memories of Konami’s Castlevania series. However, those times died for me with the PS2’s Castlevania: Lament of Innocence. However, a friend of mine had told me about Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, and how enjoyable it was (at least I think that’s what he told me; I hope I’m not turning that around completely!).

As I browsed the Xbox 360 shelves, I came across a brand-new copy of the Limited Edition version of Lords of Shadow. Cool, but naturally I checked to see if the game was also available used. It was – but only the regular version of the game. That’s when I noticed something odd: The Limited Edition (brand-new, packed with bonus stuff!) was priced about seven bucks cheaper than the regular edition (which was used). Being the honest guy I am, I brought the two games to the check-out counter to ask if maybe there was a mistake or missing price label with the used copy. There wasn’t.

So let me get this straight: I can spend less and get a fresh-out-of-the-box game with extra goodies, or spend substantially more (the game was only priced at $30, so $7 more is quite a bit) to get a used, possibly scratched or scuffed, game? Hmm, whatever will I do?!

Even though I was suspicious of the validity of this at first, I won’t argue with a good deal when I see it for long. OF COURSE I picked up the Limited Edition. In addition to the game itself, it came in an attractive hardcover disc case, which itself was stuffed into a plastic sleeve, and included a art book (more a booklet, really) and a 20-track soundtrack CD! The soundtrack is epic: heavy on brass and strings, with rumbling percussion and a Latin choir. It’s a far cry from the one-man synthesizer beats back in the old days; instead, this is a full orchestral score, and often has the sound of major motion picture music.

The music is very reminiscent of World of Warcraft or The Lord of the Rings movies, both fantasy-themed worlds. Castlevania has traditionally been a horror-action infused series; I’m looking forward to finding out if this is a change in the series. Already, two of my favorite tracks are #7 “The Ice Titan” and #20 “The Last Battle”. Since game soundtracks don’t normally draw me into buying a Collector’s Edition, that’s pretty telling of what I think about the quality of it so far.

Lords of Shadow

Side-by-side comparison: standard edition (left) and Limited Edition (right)

I’d say, all in all, I found quite a steal for my money! As for the value of the actual game, I can’t say yet – I haven’t gotten far enough into the game yet. Stay tuned for a full review soon!

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