I would agree with others, and state that this is a clone of Dante's Inferno, which in itself was disappointingly terrible clone of GoW. But even worse, it should have been called Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Journey. The characters, environments, and story feel like they were plucked from a sub-story of middle earth. And just to prove the point, there's even a character named Galdonfini, voiced by a majestic British actor (Captain Picard). Camera issues, and ambiguous combat scenes with repetitive characters, and a ton of unnecessary button combos add to the frustration.
Although they did a good job on the music and sound, it is not enough to help the rest of the game. The worst part is that they created a game where no matter how hard you try to care about the story and/or lead (Gabriel Belmont), you just don't. The story does not pull you in, and you feel no sympathy for any of the characters. I guess I am going to have to wait a little longer for that SOTN sequel.
You may think this a rip-off or just a copy of other games. Maybe even a mix of all of the above. Well I first want to start with this not actually being a Castlevania game. It was developed as a separate game, canceled, brought back by Kojima, and later named Castlevania to increase sales. This was a mediocre game with a lot of issues, bugs, and terrible choices in development. It's very on rails, boxed in, small, and worst of all very boring. It's boring because every level is exactly the same with different terrain. There is little difference to the design, layout, actions, or even enemies. I never felt like I was achieving anything or making progress in the game.
I don't hate this game for the same reasons as everyone else. In fact I didn't compare it to anything but tried to accept it for what it was. It was a jack of all trades master of none. It tried to do so much that each and every little thing fell flat. It's a long drawn out game mostly just because of cut scenes. Each level has at least 3 cut scenes, most of which are at least 2 minutes each. Some last as long as 10 minutes. You can skip them, but you miss the story. The game's plot is lame and the combat is rather sad and misleading. If you grab an enemy you can be attacked but no damage is done to you... that just doesn't make sense. That and so many other things make the combat pretty bad.
The graphics are great but what's the point of so much rendering if all I can do is walk this tiny 5 foot path straight for a few minutes? The stain of Hideo Kojima in this game is heavy. It feels more like a metal gear game than anything else. Too much acting, cuts, and little gameplay. The puzzles are absolutely terrible and like elementary level difficulty for any Professor Layton fan.
I felt this game was pathetic and didn't do anything fun or new. Lament of Innocence was a real 3D Castlevania game and far superior. This is like the Halo epidemic. In the future everyone will realize it was never good.