Castlevania: Lords of Shadows is occasionally beautiful, occasionally exciting, and occasionally rewarding. However, to fully enjoy its best parts, you must endure a handful of drab settings and boring stealth puzzles along the way. At times, it's enough to make you want to put the controller down. But stick around until the end, and you'll enjoy a satisfying reward of eye-catching boss fights and a satisfying conclusion that ultimately diminishes the negative impact of the game's earlier issues. Lords of Shadow 2's story should resonate with anyone with a continuing interest in the series' narrative, and even though the ending won't hit newcomers as hard, the occasionally fantastic environments and monsters create a worthwhile experience that stands tall on its own by the end of the tale.