Castlevania: Harmony of Despair XBLA Review
© 2010 Arthur Kotsopoulos
To be honest the only Castlevania game I ever played was Castlevania 64 back in the days on the good old Nintendo 64 when I was a child. Venturing through the mist of the first few levels brought fear to my body even though I was playing the game in the broad daylight.
So forgive me for saying that come Castlevania HD I was expecting no shortage of zombies, vampires, bats and frustrating gaming moments where all hope is lost and my controller just gets flung towards the TV, hoping this short burst of fury will somehow give me the strength to defeats the forces of evil.
And that’s exactly what I got, except in 2D!
From here you then start off on Chapter 1 which is basically a massive Addams Family-esque house cut straight down the middle and you venture forth from room to room defeating enemies, opening chests and somehow getting to the room where the “target” or Boss is located.
In each chapter you have a set time limit to basically complete as much as you possibly can, so if you scour the whole house to collect every chest come the boss you may only have 3 minutes left to do the deed and kill off the evil and those 3 minutes may not be enough to get the job done.
Not only do landing on spikes and boss battles do a crazy amount of damage to your character, from the first menu option to the first chapter you aren’t given any sort of tutorial or control layout to help you. Character bios don’t do much to really tell you what your character is capable of, so you basically walk in blind.
The first Chapter Target depending on how many times you replayed the level can be a pain as well due to the fact that you are severely underpowered to take on this weird flesh eating bird-chicken creature… It took me a total of 6 tries of Chapter 1 before I found enough gold to buy the best weapon in the game to at least start doing some serious damage to the target.
It takes a lot of time and patience to sit down and complete this game and wrap your head around the control layout and equipping items to use and so forth. It’s hard, frustrating, complicated to a degree, and down right torture to my mind.
I’ve heard that out of all Castlevania games Harmony of Despair is by far the least Castlevania that only the hardcore Castlevania fans can really appreciate and I would have to agree with them on that one.
Don’t get me wrong I love the challenge that this game provides but I feel that unless you are REALLY into this sort of style of game it won’t be one you’ll be purchasing off the Xbox Live Marketplace any time soon.
Coming away from the faults of the game it does provide some redeeming features. Each level features a catchy tune to assist in your room raiding and evil undead killings, plenty of chests to find and open, plenty of secrets in each levels from breakable walls to hidden places and lot’s or looting and item buying, selling etc.
Also the fact that it features 4 player co-op which in today’s generation of games is an absolute must, because playing this sort of a game on your own whilst fun can get boring at times, but playing a game with 3 other gamers each fighting to get more kills than the other is crazy fun.
For those not into the franchise or this style of gameplay it’s something that could easily get passed for something else with all the choice we’ve got these days.
© 2010 Arthur Kotsopoulos
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