Castlevania Harmony of Despair

The Castlevania games are known amongst gamers as one of the hardest series of games around. They are an unforgiving bunch, and are probably the source of a lot of frustration and broken controllers. This latest installment, Castlevania Harmony of Despair, doesn’t let up on the difficulty. If you’re a hardcore fan, you’ll love this.

First and foremost, I must tell you that the best way to play this game is undoubtedly in Co-Op mode. There is no question about it. You can tell this was how it was made for you to play. Single player is too difficult, in a sense that it will quickly lose its fun. I’m not just talking enemies. You start out in a huge maze, and you have to find your way to the boss. You are on a 30 minute timer and if you are on your own you can’t go certain ways, or get to certain treasure chests, because it needs at least two of you to be able to get past. The weird thing is that the path you have to take on your own is often the harder path, with more enemies and traps, so if you do reach the boss you will be less equipped, with less health and a lot less time to get the job done.

Even with the help of your buddies, expect to do the same level a few times before you are able to beat the boss. Your characters pick up money and weapons within the game which carry over when you die. You need these things to stand a chance, and you can only access the shop in the main menu. You can equip your character with weapons and armour at certain points within the level, but buying potions and antidotes are restricted to the shop. You sometimes come across health boosts, but they are rare.

You have a choice of six separate playable characters to choose from, all recognisable from within the series, and they all have varying skills. Soma, for example, has a huge axe which deals a fair bit of damage but he doesn’t have any magic. I think they’ve done a good job of making the characters feel different from each other. You can complete the game as any of these characters, and any money picked up in a level can be spent on whichever one you choose, so you can try the first level with each of them to see which one you like best, and when you’ve chosen your favourite you can spend all the money you found on just that one. They do not level up at all, they only get stronger with what they have equipped.

The visuals are quite decent, they have quite a good variety of enemy and level design. You can also zoom in and out of the map, which is useful for planning which path you are going to take, and if you are playing co-op you can see which direction the other players are if they are not directly on your screen. The music is nothing really special, it may become annoying if you’re attempting the same level for the 356th time but it isn’t too bad.

I found it quite strange that there is no pause button. Even in the customization menu, time is ticking and the enemies are moving, so you need to make sure you have some time on your hands before starting. I can understand this when playing online, but in my opinion, there’s no need for it in single player.







4 responses to “Castlevania Harmony of Despair”

  1. gaming:GURU avatar

    my last comment deleted I will say again worst review on this game ever!!!
    if this gets deleted again it will show this site has no real purpose.
    it’s my opinion and were all given our right to give what we think!!!

  2. Joanne avatar

    I think maybe if you give reasons why you disagree on my review instead of just saying its the worst review ever, your post will have more chance of not being deleted.

  3. Jake avatar

    As you say, everyone’s entitled to their opinion – so Joanne’s entitled to review the game as she sees fit, just as you are.

  4. Dave Irwin avatar
    Dave Irwin

    While I agree with most of this review, I have a problem with this paragraph:

    “You have a choice of six separate playable characters to choose from, all recognisable from within the series, and they all have varying skills. Soma, for example, has a huge axe which deals a fair bit of damage but he doesn’t have any magic. I think they’ve done a good job of making the characters feel different from each other. ”

    All the characters in the game are based off their respective game counterparts. So describing Soma as an Axe wielding character with no magic is incorrect. All characters have skills of some sorts; which depending on the character are obtained in different ways. Soma for example has souls that emerge from enemies, which are equipped via the “equipment points” scattered across the maps. Others such as Alucard and Jonathan Morris have scrolls that teach them moves, while Shanoa and Charlotte obtain their moves from their enemies. I also found it odd you didn’t point out that use of these moves improves your character’s attack stat too. It isn’t obvious, I admit, but perhaps a comment saying something like “knowledge of the series being an asset” would have made that paragraph a little more creditable.

    Other than that, it is an okay review.

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