Castlevania: Harmony of Despair

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Castlevania: Harmony of Despair
Castlevania: Harmony of Despair
Cover art
Developer(s) Konami
Producer(s) Koji Igarashi
Artist(s) Ayami Kojima[1]
Composer(s) Yasuhiro Ichihashi
Tomoaki Hirono
Series Castlevania
Platform(s) PlayStation 3, Xbox 360[2]
Release date(s) Xbox Live Arcade
  • WW August 4, 2010
PlayStation Network
  • JP March 29, 2012
  • NA September 27, 2011 (2011-09-27)
  • EU October 12, 2011
Genre(s) Platform-adventure
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Distribution Download

Castlevania: Harmony of Despair, known in Japan as Akumajō Dracula: Harmony of Despair (悪魔城ドラキュラ ハーモニー オブ ディスペアー?, officially translated Devil's Castle Dracula: Harmony of Despair),[3] is a crossover platform-adventure game that features a new map system which allows players to see the current quest map's entire setup, as well as up to six players at once over Xbox Live. The game was first leaked as an OFLCA Rating on May 27, 2010,[4] then officially announced for Xbox Live Summer of Gaming 2010.[5][6] Later in the year, the game was unveiled as a playable demo in the Konami booth at the E3 Convention of 2010.[7] It was released worldwide on August 4, 2010[8] for the Xbox Live Arcade and September 27, 2011 for the PlayStation Network.

Gameplay[edit]

Castlevania: Harmony of Despair features cooperative gameplay somewhat similar to Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin.

Gameplay includes a co-op mode (The Xbox 360 release only allows for internet co-op, while the PlayStation 3 release supports local multiplayer [9]) which plays like the "Boss Rush Mode" of previous 2D Castlevania games, but with several rooms and items to find, culminating in a boss to fight. It also includes a versus mode, with battle occurring between players. Some bosses are able to attack players on their way to the fight.[10] The game features playable characters such as Alucard, Soma Cruz, Jonathan Morris, Shanoa and Charlotte Aulin, all from previous 2D Castlevania games.

All of the characters include eight palette swaps to accommodate players that wish to be the same character.[11] They will be joined by other characters through downloadable content, when released. The characters have their own signature attacks and skills to use in battle. An all-new map system allows real-time zooming in and out of the current stage, which will not stop gameplay and even allow players to play with the map zoomed out.[11]

Other features in the game include a grimoire placed in certain parts of levels, which is the only way to change items and equipment mid-game. Only one type of consumable item such as a potion can be equipped at a time, but it can be consumed at will. Some healing items have an area effect, so they can also be used to heal other players as well. Also, the experience point system from most newer 2D Castlevania games was replaced by a character-specific leveling system. Some characters must find weapons and equipment in order to improve their character, while others must level up sub-weapons or collect spells/ souls as a means of character growth.[12] Alucard and Soma can equip most dropped weaponry, but Jonathan, Charlotte and Shanoa can only strengthen their main attack by upgrading sub-attacks, either by finding and using them or absorbing additional spells from monsters (Shanoa can also find a few rare weapons, unique to her only, to change her attack type and power).

Downloadable content[edit]

Additional stages have been added to the game as DLC. Chapter 7, entitled Beauty, Desire, Situation Dire, features an Ancient Egyptian pyramid theme with Astarte as the end-level boss and was released early October 2010. Chapter 8, The One Who is Many, was released on January 12, 2011 and is based on the underground area of Symphony of the Night featuring Legion as the end-level boss. Chapter 9, entitled "Lord of Flies" and featuring Beelzebub as the end-level boss, was released on January 19, 2011. Chapter 10, Origins, is a reworking of the original 8-bit Castlevania, and was released on January 26, 2011. It features all of the original sub-bosses of the first Castlevania, ending with R. The Count. Chapter 11, The Legend of Fuma, was released on February 2, 2011 and is based on the NES game Getsu Fūma Den.[13][14] Chapter 11 has been announced as the final stage to be offered as DLC.[15]

Konami has also released extra playable characters, with Yoko Belnades and Julius Belmont released in October 2010, and Maria Renard and Richter Belmont released on November 30, 2010.[16] An 8-bit Simon Belmont was released on January 26, 2011. Getsu Fūma, from Getsu Fūma Den, was released on February 2, 2011.[14]

The PlayStation Network release has Chapter 7, Julius Belmont and Yoko Belnades included with the full game.

Additionally, Konami has released two music packs featuring alternative stage music as well as character picture packs and Xbox Live dashboard themes.[14]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 70.98%[17]
Metacritic 67/100[18]
Review scores
Publication Score
Edge 8/10[19]
Eurogamer 4/10[20]
GameSpot 7.5[21]
GameTrailers 7.8/10[12]
IGN 7.5/10[22]
Official Xbox Magazine UK 7/10[23]

Harmony of Despair was met with mixed reception.[24] Scoring it a 7.5, GameSpot praises the multiplayer where it's "the best way to experience this new Castlevania, and it's the optimal way to experience what may be a new and fun potential direction for the series to take."[21] GameTrailers commented on the exploration in comparison to previous games menitoning that "the thrill of discovery is gone, and in its place is the compulsive drive to acquire loot. Oddly enough, it works, and it can actually be a lot of fun with friends."[12]

Resolution Magazine was disappointed with its "somewhat fiddly gameplay" and for only having six different stages. They concluded their review with a score of 6/10.[25] Destructoid also awarded the game 6/10, stating that "ultimately it feels like Castlevania Lite -- a stripped down version of a real Castlevania game with none of the depth or clever design."[26] Eurogamer criticised the multiplayer, mentioning that "Harmony of Despair strips Castlevania down to its lowest common denominator in order to make multiplayer function, rather than reinventing the game to make multiplayer thrive". It was given a final rating of 4/10.[20]

Game Informer's Tim Turi criticized its lack of "progression and weapon variety" but was still an interesting game.[27]


References[edit]

  1. ^ "悪魔城ドラキュラ Harmony of Despair". Konami.jp. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  2. ^ "Castlevania: Harmony Of Despair Bound For PS3". Siliconera. 2011-05-30. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  3. ^ Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd. (23 October 2007). Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles. Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. "Japanese: 悪魔城の城主、邪心の神、ドラキュラ伯爵の復活であった。 Konami translation by Ken Ogasawara: Dracula, lord of darkness, master of the devil's castle, walks among us." 
  4. ^ OFLCA Classification
  5. ^ Geek.com
  6. ^ Joystiq
  7. ^ 1up
  8. ^ G4tv.com
  9. ^ Siliconera
  10. ^ Computer and Video Games
  11. ^ a b Destructoid
  12. ^ a b c GameTrailers
  13. ^ McElroy, Griffin (2010-12-29). "Castlevania: Symphony of the Night stages coming to Harmony of Despair". Joystiq. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  14. ^ a b c "悪魔城ドラキュラ Harmony of Despair". Konami.jp. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  15. ^ http://konami.com/article/KONAMI_RELEASES_FINAL_DOWNLOADABLE_CONTENT_FOR_CASTLEVANIA_HARMONY/171
  16. ^ "Castlevania: Harmony of Despair DLC adds pyramid power". Joystiq. 2010-10-02. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  17. ^ "Castlevania: Harmony of Despair for Xbox 360". GameRankings. 2010-08-04. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  18. ^ "Castlevania: Harmony of Despair for Xbox 360 Reviews". Metacritic. 2010-08-04. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  19. ^ Edge 218, p97
  20. ^ a b Teti, John (2010-08-02). "Castlevania: Harmony of Despair Review • Page 2 • Reviews • Xbox 360 •". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  21. ^ a b "Castlevania: Harmony of Despair Review". GameSpot.com. 2010-08-04. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  22. ^ [1][dead link]
  23. ^ "Xbox Live Arcade Review: Castlevania: Harmony of Despair Review - Xbox 360 - The Official Magazine". Oxm.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  24. ^ "Castlevania: Harmony of Despair for Xbox 360 Reviews". Metacritic. 2010-08-04. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  25. ^ "Castlevania: Harmony of Despair Review (Xbox 360)". Resolution Magazine. 2010-08-02. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  26. ^ "Review: Castlevania: Harmony of Despair". Destructoid. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  27. ^ Turi, Tim (2012-04-04). "Ranking The Castlevania Bloodline". Game Informer. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 

External links[edit]