The Art of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Book Review | Fanboys Anonymous

The Art of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Book Review

Posted by Travis Goss Wednesday, March 5, 2014
My name is Travis. I am 34 years old (one of the oldest members of Fanboys Anonymous). I have been a gamer since I was old enough to hold a controller. I have played nearly every single video gaming console that has ever come into existence.

One game series that has been near and dear to me all throughout my life has been Castlevania. I will never forget my first time playing the very first game on the Nintendo Entertainment System. I was over at my late brother's apartment one weekend, and he had rented the game from a local video store. I was about 9 years old at the time. Although this was around the time when Castlevania II: Simon's Quest was available, you have to start at the beginning in order to get the full story.

It was from this moment on that I fell in love with the series. From its sometimes frustrating challenges to its incredible music, Castlevania has become one of the most beloved gaming franchises, sitting alongside Mario and Sonic as an icon.

Another aspect of Castlevania is the gorgeous visuals. Things have drastically improved through the years and have come a long way since the first NES game. As years and consoles have come and gone, this series has always found ways to trump the previous entry. Although the early games looked more colorful when compared with later titles, it always gives you a creepy feeling as you traverse through different parts of Dracula's castle.

Recently, I have had the pleasure of checking out an art book published by Titan Books that provides an extensive look into the various characters and locales for Konami's 2010 video game, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. Written by former content editor from the UK offices for IGN.com, Martin Robinson, The Art of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is an excellent companion to the game. It gives fans a deeper look into what it took to create some of the most incredible visuals in any Castlevania game ever.

Castlevania artwork video game characters
Courtesy of Titan Books
Admittedly, I have not played this game, which is a shame because, as I have mentioned earlier, I am a big fan of the franchise. That being said, I will say that after looking at each page of this book, I am even more motivated to go out and buy a copy.

According to the press release which I had received when I got the copy I have reviewed for this article, the book starts "from the very beginning with an in-depth look at the game's development art and moving through a wealth of concept art and detailed creator commentary, this lavish book takes readers on a thrilling journey through the ethereal world of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow.

Artist's design of Simon Belmont
Courtesy of Titan Books
"With stunning images from both Castlevania: Lords of Shadow and [the sequal] Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 – plus the chilling side story, Mirror of Fate – the book offers an exclusive look at Gabriel, and the rest of the Belmont family's everlasting struggle against demonic forces and supernatural terrors."

This book goes into tremendous detail in terms of the characters' designs. From simple sketches of each character to their finalized 3D form, this book shows you the process on how characters are designed and how they are crafted into becoming the Belmonts and all of the various enemies and allies.

One of my favorite characters from the series is, undoubtedly, Simon Belmont. Truthfully, I am still kind of intrigued how his recent design made him into a redhead. Remember, I have been following the games from the beginning. At the time, I had always seen him with blonde hair. But, he did go through a change with the release of Castlevania Chronicles for the PlayStation. Even then, I was kind of taken away seeing him with long-flowing red hair.

Artist's design of Alucard, Dracula's son
Courtesy of Titan Books
All minor issues aside, I really enjoyed looking at his design for the game. He looks like a total badass!

In fact, all of the more popular characters from the series have gone through a major overhaul while also retaining some of their familiarities. Although, Alucard really looks nightmarishly freaky. But, in an awesome way. Satan looks really cool, too.

In addition to all of the character designs, there are pages of hand-painted backgrounds which were used in the game itself. The artists have done such a mind-blowing job.

An exerpt from The Art of Castevania: Lords of Shadow
Courtesy of Titan Books
Any words I have written would not do this book justice. I could go on to say this book would be a must-buy for ANY Castlevania fan; especially for those who have Lords of Shadow (and, its recently released sequel) and love it. Even if you are not a fan of the series or this game in particular and just love looking at jaw-dropping visuals, this book is still an amazing collector's item.

Speaking of which, for those die-hard fans out there, Titan Books has also released a special slipcased edition, limited to 500 copies, which includes an exclusive Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 concept art print, signed by the whole MercurySteam art team.


Now, we want to hear from you. What do you think about this book and the video games? Would this be a nice addition to your art book library? Tell us what you think in the comments down below.
THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY A GUEST WRITER

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