Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 hasn't been formally announced by Konami, but recent leaks and teasers suggest that it's on the way soon. Good thing too. We've been fans of Castlevania for years, but Lords of Shadow still came as a massive surprise. 2D to 3D conversions don't always go as planned, but MercurySteam cracked out an absolute corker. There's always room for improvement, though, so here are six things we're hoping to see in the sequel.
1. More nonsense, please!
The art direction and tone of the first game had a deliciously Spanish twang to it, which reminded us a lot of the excellent Pan's Labyrinth. Developers often get too much stick for adding their own style to a franchise, so we're hoping to see more of this next time around. Having said that, we don't want classic aspects to die. Castlevania games have always been famous for their slightly surreal edge. The music box section of Lords of Shadows felt true to the original tone of the series, but we'd love to see a bit more this time. Give us mystery items that appear to do nothing, and evil paintings that hide secret worlds.
2. Make it even bigger
It might sound like a cop-out suggestion, but hear us out. The thing that really struck us about the first Lords of Shadow game was just how massive they'd managed to make it. Our playthrough lasted around 20 hours - you don't see a castle till about eight hours in. There's little in the way of filler, however: where a lot of games seem like they've been pumped full of silicon, Lords of Shadow feels naturally large. We'll put this metaphor back in the box before making eye contact becomes uncomfortable. Lords of Shadow was a generous beast, and we're hoping the next one will be chunkier still.
3. Bring the RPG bits back
The action stuff felt meaty enough for the first game to stand up without numbers, but we'd be lying if we said that we didn't miss the statistics. Bring back loot drops, equipment, and ability to use a variety of different weapons, and we'll be happy vampire bunnies. Unlocking skills worked well in the first game, but there's room for improvement and variety here too. We still reckon the Castlevania games on Game Boy Advance had the best customisation systems. Aria of Sorrow's soul system was brilliant, but Circle of the Moon's card-combining system reigns unbeaten: each of the ten action cards could be combined with ten other attribute cards, unlocking a total of 100 combinations. If Mercury Steam revisits this idea, we'll buy them all an ice lolly.
4. NO LITTLE GIRLS
Honestly chaps, we've no idea what you were thinking. Our encounter with vampiric brat Laura was mercifully brief in the main game, but then she starred in the dreadful DLC. Let's just be utterly clear on this one, in case the message didn't get through last time. In Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, we don't want to play chess with a little girl. We're vampire-slayers, not classroom assistants. Sort it out.