Castlevania – Harmony of Dispair

Monday, 23. August 2010

With a few exceptions, I’ve always been a huge fan of Konami’s castlevania series. Therefore, when Harmony of Dispair was released in a multi-player fashion a few weeks ago on the 360, I had little choice but to pick it up and check it out. The game is relatively well put together, is a lot of fun and plays well but I have a few gripes about it.

The Good – Multi-player Castlevania! How awesome to have that without it being a piece of trash street fighter clone. The game plays well with everyone on screen at once, with no slow down. Up to 6 people can get in on the action, playing as one of 5 currently released characters. Soma, Alucard, Jonathan Morris, Shanoa and Charlotte are all included as base characters and are fairly well polished out, in addition to complimenting each other very well for game play. There is a tremendous number of items to pick up as well as a hard mode for expanded gaming. There are a lot of ways though the maps to the bosses, and there are number of cooperative puzzles in each map. DLC promises more maps and characters.

The Bad – Only 6 maps to play on (Granted, very large maps) and no real story to speak of. In addition, if you’re playing single player you’ll defininetely need to grind out some equipment and levels (Leveling up subweapons is how characters power up.) to get through them.

The Ugly – Ported Nintendo DS graphics. I don’t have a huge problem with this because I’m usually not zoomed in close enough to notice, but really with most 360 games you expect something a little cleaner for the actual sprites and background. The other major sticker was… very poor documentation. All the characters play as their counterparts on the handheld’s, which means if you’ve played their respective games you’ll have no problems with HoD. If you haven’t however.. you’ll probably need to look at the online documentation, as well as going and reading an FAQ or 2 to get the real story on how the game plays.

In Conclusion: Lots of fun and well packaged – this is a good game for fans of the series and is well put together as an online boss crushing fest. The content feels limited for the 15$ price tag though, and you’ll probably have to do a little online reading if you’re not familiar with the series to get full up to speed.

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