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Forums > Submission Feedback > honestgamer's Castlevania Harmony of Despair (XLA) review

This thread is in response to a review for Castlevania: Harmony of Despair on the Xbox 360. You are encouraged to view the review in a new window before reading this thread.

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Author: zippdementia
Posted: August 02, 2010 (02:11 PM)
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This sounds to me like what Castlevania: Symphony of the Night should have been like. All the production quality but with actual challenge.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: August 02, 2010 (02:24 PM)
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Symphony of the Night should have been like exactly what it was like, because it was trying to do something completely different and it did it in an exemplary manner. This game is very different and that's good too, because it's trying to do something different and it is doing that something different as well as Symphony of the Night did its something different... if that makes any sense.


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: JANUS2
Posted: August 02, 2010 (02:36 PM)
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Good, timely review. Much better than Eurogamer's effort, which moans about the difficulty for two pages.

I do have a couple of questions:
1. does Morris play and look like he does in Bloodlines?
2. is competitive scoring the focus of multiplayer or is it co-operative teamwork?

As for SOTN, it was great precisely because of the reasons outlined in Jason's intro. Who wants challenge in this sort of game? All I want to do is explore a massive castle while crushing knight armours with an unstoppable hero.


"fuck yeah oblivion" - Jihad


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Author: Ben
Posted: August 02, 2010 (02:44 PM)
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Man, mixed reviews for this game. I think I'd only get it if I had a bunch of other dudes to play with me, co-op style.


...


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: August 02, 2010 (02:45 PM)
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1. does Morris play and look like he does in Bloodlines?

I didn't actually play as Jonathan Morris. He's the one I didn't touch because I didn't particularly find him memorable in Bloodlines (which I never beat). If the other characters are any indication, though, Konami seems to be doing a really good job of bringing the characters to this game as we remember them.

2. is competitive scoring the focus of multiplayer or is it co-operative teamwork?

When you finish a stage together, it gives each individual member of the team a score. There are leaderboards where you can compare your highest score for a stage with those on your friends list. I had to add a few people just to find someone to play this with, pre-release. I actually ranked pretty well (amazingly).

The cooperative play is pretty decent. I didn't get into that a lot in the review because I was already running much longer than I wanted to and a lot of what I said about the single-player still applies, but as an example... the hallway with fire traps. You can step on a switch to remove some of the fire in a nearby passage, then your friend can head through and step on another, and you can keep trading off to get through the passage together on separate levels. It doesn't lend itself to description, really, but it works and definitely helps the cooperative side of things. There's also a survival mode where everyone competes to be the last one standing.

Really, the game feels very Castlevania-ish but doesn't play much at all like I expected, which is why the angle that I took with the review felt natural for me. Reviews are going to talk about the difficulty--and they should--but I'm not sure why they would rate the game down for being tough, especially since online remedies that in such an interesting manner. I can't wait to see what others think of this game!


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: JANUS2
Posted: August 02, 2010 (02:57 PM)
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It sounds like Harmony of Despair returns to the spirit of the original side-scrollers only with some very modern touches (like online multiplayer). I'm looking forward to playing it.


"fuck yeah oblivion" - Jihad


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Author: Lewis
Posted: August 02, 2010 (04:21 PM)
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This one's massively devisive, eh? I thought it was an absolutely dreadful game which completely misunderstood why the best Castlevania games worked. Yet I can totally see why you loved it.

And I really enjoy that: that we can both approach the game from opposite angles, and come away with enormously contrasting opinions, both of which are valid.

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"I'm not sure why they would rate the game down for being tough"

For me, at least, much of its difficulty emerged from... I don't want to use the word "cheap", because it's cheap, but I will anyway... cheap design decisions. So in the singleplayer that means NO YOU MAY NOT SAVE OR PASS CHECKPOINTS. And then the multiplayer just becomes easier the more people you have playing, which just defies all logic to me. I like my multiplayer with people I know, generally speaking, rather than strangers. I don't like having to populate my game with five people I don't know just to have any chance of progressing.

For me, its ideology is fundamentally opposed to what I consider good game design. I'm really glad you managed to get more out of the game than me: it just made me angry.


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Author: Lewis
Posted: August 02, 2010 (04:38 PM)
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You know what it is, actually (and in retrospect I wish I'd got this into my review)? Playing the game felt like trying to join in the football match with the big boys. I know that if they'd let me I could probably adapt really quickly, join in, be a decent part of the game. I like football. I'm quite good at it. We'd have fun together, I know it. But the leader of the group just keeps throwing the ball in my face and laughing every time I try to go near the pitch. It's a shame. They look to be having so much fun.

[/terrible analogy]


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