Taking control of Gabriel Belmont in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, you wield a special weapon called the Combat Cross. At the outset of the game you're equipped with a small number of moves, and as you progress you can unlock a huge variety of additional attacks including grapples or wide, sweeping moves. Attacks range from light to heavy and are performed by tapping the Square button or Triangle button. If an enemy is weakened enough, you can reel them in using Gabriel's grapple attack and finish them off in style by following the on-screen prompts that pop up.
Gabriel can also take down enemies with special magical attacks that are both light and dark. Triggering the light magic increases your health over a period of time, whereas the dark magic dramatically increases the strength of your attacks and is especially useful during some of Castlevania's enormous boss battles. These gargantuan creatures are as large as buildings and require an extremely tactical approach to defeat them. The best advice is to quickly work out each one's weak spot, which is normally highlighted by a glow. Once you've spotted it, attack it and repeat the process while dodging attacks.
There are additional weapons at your disposal including special daggers that are ideal for performing long-range attacks on some of the game's creatures. They are low in supply, so be sure to use them wisely. Magical attacks are varied in scope too, from wiping out swarms of enemies all at once to increasing your speed in battle for swifter takedowns. The game isn't just focused on slaying an endless supply of enemies; it features a wealth of robust platforming sections too that require you to use the grapple on Gabriel's cross to progress.
Gameplay puzzles play an integral role in gameplay by rewarding you with upgrades for your magic and arsenal the quicker you solve them. Make use of the handy hint system if a particular puzzle stops you in your tracks and bear in mind that if you use it, you will forgo the chance of winning upgrades on offer.