Castlevania: Harmony Of Despair Review


The Summer of Arcade continues in full swing. After an excellent and
fair LIMBO Hydro Thunder Hurricane, it was the turn of the legendary
Konami series of vampirize the Live Marketplace for Xbox 360. As an
aperitif before the arrival of Lords of Shadow, Konami invites gamers
360 living experience in the world of Castlevania saga. For the first
time, fans can be found in the same game to beat the zombies in
cooperation. A truly mouthwatering prospect on paper, but subject
nevertheless some disappointments.

Directed episodes like the post-Symphony of the Night, Castlevania:
Harmony of Despair not leave us in 2D labyrinthine environments that can
be explored in every way alone or up to six players online. Note that
the software does not allow parties locally, reflecting the fact that
the chosen representation does not lend itself to managing a split
screen. Each player is in fact free to move wherever it chooses to go
operate a mechanism at the other end of the map or go in search of
lockers away. Available for download for 1200 points (15 euros), the
game consists of six towers which contained large labyrinths, each of
the maps can be unlocked in both solo and multiplayer.

A castle for all and all against him!

See a leading developer point the tip of his nose on the Xbox during the
Summer of Arcade is viewed with varying degrees of skepticism.
Logically, this time of year, expected to produce the best colors to
create the Xbox 360, leaves little room for the remix of former glory
video game. However, the output of a Castlevania leaves a wave of
optimism take our mind.

And how! The majority of players who have already toyed Symphony of the
Night is bound to be delighted to learn that the wheels have become
standard and cults on the GBA and DS, live Harmony of Despair. Large
castles, a host of monsters, a bunch of power and equipment, full of
secrets and bosses always as impressive as in the past. The only slight
difference from the reduced value of the single player mode.

Indeed, to adventure in one of six gigantic dungeons flower whisk often
tantamount to a violent death. Clearly, the architecture of each level
is remarkable, but entirely thought to be shared with others. It is not
uncommon to find areas or other mechanisms (such as the hammer used to
trip the boss of world 3) inaccessible alone. To remedy this problem, it
is essential to enlist the cooperation partners (up to six) wishing to
enter whip, crucifix and holy water joyfully latter "the monster. All
without the slightest ounce of scenario. Just the pleasure of engaging
in an elitist "dungeon-crush" in under thirty minutes. Frankly,
refractory or neophytes to 2D post-Symphony can already leave. Harmony
of Despair is a pure fan service.

About the Game:

Designed exclusively for hardcore Castlevania Harmony of Despair abounds
with references to earlier parts of the series and ultimately does
little to truly new evidence, if we put aside the concept itself.
Environments, the bestiary, bosses, characters and even the techniques
used have a deja-vu which gives the track a nostalgic character is far
from unpleasant. We can say the same 2D graphics pixelisent to excess,
taking their origin unashamedly retro, which is sure to divide the
old-school fans and neophytes insensitive to pixel art.

The fact is that the maps for Castlevania: Harmony of Despair, even if
they are visually outdated, will not fail to fascinate those slobbering
old plans to complete a 16-bit as composed of dozens of game screens
placed end to end. One can indeed show an entire dungeon with the
minimum zoom level, which keeps a watchful eye on everything that
happens on the screen and know what the other players at any When the
game. The intermediate level of zoom offers an ideal compromise between
the two views, the camera remains still close the more playable and more
similar to traditional 2D episodes.

The five playable characters included in Castlevania: Harmony of Despair
not have the opportunity to gain experience levels, but they can all
develop their abilities over the game methods to optimize the talents of
each are quite different and uneven, but they all have in common a
certain slowness surprise the regulars. It may indeed spend several
hours without getting anything other than objects or equipment. The
enemies you may give up their powers are limited and we realize in the
end, the characters can not use a fraction of the potential that was
theirs in the episodes devoted to them.

Each party, even if lost, will leave you still entitled to keep all that
you could find the way (powers, objects, money), so you can maximize
your hero’s equipment between each game session In this regard, we
regret it is impossible to enter the sub-menu during gameplay, unless
you stop outside the terminals provided for this purpose. Conversely,
most pieces of equipment are common to different characters, which
limits a bit the charges at the time of switch box.

A good hardcore cocktailvania:

To galvanize the interest of fans facing such a change, HoD performance
achieved with a size crossover emblematic characters of the saga:
Alucard (Symphony of the Night), Soma Cruz (Aria of Sorrow), Shano
(Order Of Ecclesia), Jonathan Morris and Charlotte Aulin (Portrait of
Ruin). Obviously, each has powers to deal more favorable hazards and a
separate method of progression.

Alucard, an expert swordsman and adept at magic, shall harvest during
his peregrinations of magic scrolls to increase his attacking potential.
Jonathan, heir to the Belmont family, use the "vampire killer" as the
only base weapon. His only way to upgrade is to use the secondary weapon
(boomerang, knife, paper airplane, shuriken …). Sora in turn,
reinforces its statistics with the departed souls while Shano and
Charlotte Aulin absorb spells and monsters to invoke them in combat.

This vast system replaces the lifted up the experience points
surprisingly missing in this iteration. The rise of powers is thus
disseminated over the parties, as will explored on numerous occasions
each dungeon in hopes of gleaning the material as desired among the
monsters and chests scattered. And with over 300 randomly generated
items (equipment, weapons, spells and potions), patience is the mother
of virtue. Especially since it is common to compete for several sessions
without the slightest drop worthy of the name.

So, this fleeting life extender will become heavier and many gamers’
non-hardcore capitulate at the extent (and heavy) task. Too bad because
Harmony of Despair is a pleasant experience – until Lords of Shadow – in
the world of the saga the most scathing Konami.


Portrait of Ruins Playing on DS is a feast for the eyes … But do it on
a large screen is a little more difficult. Indeed, based on the
achievement HoD "pixel art" of a portable console and provides no
smoothing feature has recently operated as Monkey Island. The only
question remaining: Konami he knowingly played the retro card or rather
that of the economy? A sad thought …


Five characters gameplay provided by the system "dungeon-crusher" in two
dimensions, the multitude of enemies and bosses from the previous
chapters of Despair Harmony … enjoy all the advantages of his
illustrious ancestors and offers a multiplayer adventure implementing a
six playable appearance sympathetic cooperation. After that it will
accept the galleys a few hours to optimize the performance of each
avatar. Work some of which will carry penalties for the worst …

Shelf Life:

With his six infested dungeons, the software does not provide
entertainment to unprecedented lengths. Knowing that the majority of the
levels can be closed in less than 10 minutes, the calculation is done
quickly … A good time online game right. Fortunately, the multiplayer
experience transcends these boundaries and number of players will comb
each area on numerous occasions to glean all the secrets and once again
enjoy this unique gaming experience to the saga.


As usual, the electro-symphonic compositions Castlevania is bardent new
tracks catchy rhythmic providing impetus for exploration. Fans of the
series will also be delighted to learn that Foley flagship of the series
have been retained.

In general, the software appears quite confusing at first because the
only explanation you will find on the game system can be summarized in a
few pages with very explicit. You’ll have to fumble a bit to grasp all
the subtleties unique to each character handling. Soma Cruz, seen in
Aria of Sorrow (GBA) and Dawn of Sorrow (DS), retrieves, fairly random,
the souls of vanquished enemies to use it then as offensive and
defensive powers. He can handle a large number of weapons, much like
Alucard, from Symphony of the Night (Playstation, Saturn). The son of
Dracula is, in contrast, expect to find rolls of witchcraft in some
chests to develop his mastery of black magic.

Jonathan Morris, one of the two heroes of Portrait of Ruin (DS), owns
the famous Vampire Killer whip legend passed down from generation to
generation in the Belmont. It is using its secondary weapons (axes,
knives, grenades, paper airplanes …) it increases its offensive
potential throughout the game, in addition to combat skills he acquires
by finding scrolls of martial arts. His partner Portrait of Ruin (DS),
Charlotte Aulin, the opponent must wait for a remote attack to seal
spells or missiles used in a scrawl that is his only weapon. Finally,
Shano, the heroine of Order of Ecclesia (DS), can not optimize its array
of spells that absorb glyphs enemies who deign to use powerful magic.
It is the only one able to cling to special plugs to be tossed into the
air using the competence Magnes.

Online, everyone is free to control the character that suits him best.
The voice chat is allowed to supplement the few lines used during the
game, but he is not always clear what his teammates intend to do. Two
players can also synchronize their attacks to execute a double
devastating combo. To facilitate mutual assistance, the game allows the
survivors to revive their companions by finding the water of life,
without which the deceased must finish the game as a template halo.
Players familiar map one can plan to activate certain mechanisms
vicious. The host determines the dungeon and level of difficulty, but
the group may submit the maps they want to do first.

After a few games online, we wonder if still fun game will not fade too
quickly to force constantly repeat the same six tables. Obtaining all
game objects and the acquisition of all the techniques of each character
does are certainly not in a few hours, but is that enough to motivate
the player over the long term? And leave to propose a single player, why
not trying to offer something really complementary online? For 1200
points (15 euros), the experience offered by Castlevania: Harmony of
Despair is therefore below this we hoped, but it is a price that will
not hesitate to pay for fans of the saga in order share their passion
with others in multiplayer.


The idea of a multiplayer experience in the Castlevania universe was
awfully tempting. However, few players may find their account in this
adventure. Halfway between "fan-service and operating license to a
single shot, Konami offers a production of atypical border oldies that
will delight fans of episodes in 2D.

Not content to offer a multiplayer experience completely novel in the
series, Castlevania: Harmony of Despair, also managed to surprise us by
the quality of the maps available. Although few, they enjoy a level
design subtle enough to renew the parts online. Nevertheless, the
evolution of characters is laborious and does not necessarily motivated
to continually repeat the same levels. For fans, the title definitely
deserves a look, but is it worth 15 euros? You to decide.




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