Codex Gamicus

Castlevania: Harmony of Despair (悪魔城ドラキュラ Harmony of Despair?) is a 2D action-adventure game for the Xbox Live Arcade. The game features a new map system that 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,[1] then officially announced for Xbox Live Summer of Gaming 2010.[2][3] Later in the year, the game was unveiled as a playable demo in the Konami booth at the E3 Convention of 2010.[4] It was released on August 4, 2010.[5]

Pointed out by, Castlevania: Harmony of Despair may be released on Sony's PlayStation Network if the game sells well on Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade.[6]


Gameplay includes a Co-Op mode, which plays like previous 2D Castlevania game's "Boss Rush Mode", 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.[7] 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.[8] 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.[8] The game can also be played in high definition (alluding to the initials of the title: Castlevania HD.)

Other features in the game include a Book placed in certain parts of a level, which is the only way to change items and equipment mid-game. Consumable items such as potions, however, will be scrolled through and consumed using specified buttons on the controller. Also, the experience point system from most newer 2D Castlevania games has been taken out, reducing players to finding weapons and equipment as the only means of assisting the character, and levelling up sub-weapons and spells as a means of character growth.[9]..


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Review scores
Publication Score
Edge 8/10[10]
GameSpot 7.5[11]
IGN 7.5/10[12]
United Kingdom Official Xbox Magazine 7/10[13]

Harmony of Despair was met with varying reception.[14] 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."[11] 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."[9]

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.[15] 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."[16] 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.[17]


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