Castlevania has always been a critically acclaimed series. No matter what system it's on (NES, SNES, PS1, PS2, etc.) the games are great. Now, let's just ignore the fact that any 3D version of the series was ever made. Seriously, let's forget it.
2D is where Castlevania is best, we can all agree to that. But with this new entry in the series, a 3D game could be just what the doctor ordered. First of all, Castlevania Lords of Shadow is gorgeous. Everything has a shine in the rain, the stone floor gathers puddles, and the enemies look hairy and ferocious. This game is a visual masterpiece.
Now, let's talk about the gameplay. It's just as good. Imagine a Dante's Inferno mixed with Zelda, mixed with God of War. The game is simple enough to pick up and play, with only two attack buttons, and it never seems to get stale. After a long sitting with hack'n'slash games I start getting bored. That's not the case with Castlevania.
Konami, with the help of Kojima Productions (Metal Gear Solid series), has crafted a well balanced game. At one point you're fighting against a werewolf in a small village, then you're riding a mythical horse while being attacked by Wargs. It does an excellent job of giving you a new gameplay style between all the hacking and slashing.
And to top it off, the cinematics are excellent. But what else would be expect from Kojima? After all, pretty much the entire 2nd half of Metal Gear 4 was a well crafted cutscene.
All in all, Castlevania Lords of Shadow has just moved very high on my list for the 2010 year, and that's a lot considering there are Nintendo 3DS launch games, Donkey Kong, Halo, Call of Duty, Metroid Other M and Little Big Planet 2 this year.