[Author’s Note: Quickie Reviews aren’t written like my normal reviews… well, that’s because they’re quickies! They’re easy for me to write, and easy for you to read.]
Castlevania: Harmony of Despair (HD for short) is a total fan service game. If you don’t like Castlevania, you will not like this game.
That being said, though, it’s really not like the ‘Metroid-vania’ games that HD pulls their characters from. It’s essentially a Castlevania MMO, since you can get online with up to six people, fun through six stages of throwbacks mainly from the DS games, and eventually grind for those rare drops from Dracula on Hard mode for hours on end. So… maybe if you are a Castlevania fan, if farming and grinding isn’t exactly your cup of tea, you may not like this either.
Thankfully, each of the five characters has something unique to offer to the game, and different ways of obtaining their skills. Alucard’s the basic weapons guy, with a few ‘meh’ spells and a lot of awesome equipment. Soma obtains souls, and getting them is random from the enemies killed. Jonathon uses subweapons, which you level up though CONSTANT TEDIOUS usage (it sucks). Charlotte has spells you absorb from enemies. And Shanoa… oh, hell, I don’t know what she does. I never used her. Point is, everyone’s different, and it adds a bit of variety to the gameplay for when you’ve seen that same stage for the hundredth time.
It’s certainly not for everyone, but it’s also certainly not a bad game. The online community is still active, especially with the new DLC that came out (though it’s unlikely I’ll pay 400 MS point for only one new map… milk it more, Konami?), so you won’t be running dry on teammates. One thing, though, is that you shouldn’t try the demo… it doesn’t really capture what the game’s about. Watch some videos instead.
Oh yeah… and be thankful (or unthankful?) it wasn’t like this: