Castlevania: Harmony of Despair Image

Mixed or average reviews - based on 62 Critics What's this?

User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 44 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Summary: [Xbox Live Arcade] Designed by the legendary producer of the Castlevania series, Koji Igarashi, Castlevania Harmony of Despair allows up to six friends to play together via online co-op story mode or see who the best vampire hunter is in Survival Mode, which challenges you to fend off your friends while fighting for your very survival. Utilize your co-op skills to explore the levels with your friends in order to find hidden locations with special items and equipment or team up in battle to let loose destructive attacks on the hordes of attacking creatures. [Konami] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 62
  2. Negative: 6 out of 62
  1. A fascinating multiplayer experiment, but also a really solid, streamlined single player 'vania. [Nov 2010, p.120]
  2. It's not a bad game, it's just not the Castlevania we wanted.
  3. If you have been waiting for another 2D Castlevania game with an epic quest to complete, sadly Castlevania: Harmony of Despair isn't the game for you. If, on the other hand, you've wanted a multiplayer cooperative action adventure game to play with your friends, then this one has quite a bit to offer.
  4. 70
    Harmony of Despair is extremely entertaining for fans of platform games and most certainly for fans of the franchise. The gameplay works great although we had our hopes set on a little bit more innovation.
  5. Too derivative from previous games, especially the Nintendo DS ones, and too much multiplayer oriented.
  6. If you aren't familiar with the difficulty of the Castlevania games previous to SotN you will probably see Castlevania HD as nothing but an exercise in frustration. If you want to get into Castlevania you can pick up the excellent Symphony of the Night from the Xbox Live Marketplace - and while it doesn't have multiplayer you're much more likely to have a good time.
  7. Castlevania: Harmony of Despair has some neat ideas, but a lot of it's hidden behind a bevy of poorly explained menus and user-unfriendly mechanics. The expectation that you'll grind your way through the six chapters over and over again, only to do it all over again in hard mode is kind of ridiculous, and there just isn't enough of a reward there to make all of that grinding feel like anything other than, well, a grind.

See all 62 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 10
  2. Negative: 1 out of 10
  1. Nov 3, 2011
    Castlevania Harmony of Despair is a good game with good gameplay and a good story. konami forced the door to the ps3. konami but do not stop with all the DLCs we want Trevor Belmont, Sypha belnundes, grant
    Albus, Hammer, John Morris, Eric Lecard, Christopher Belmont, Juste Belmont, Maxim and many others as well as maps new course.
  2. Nov 4, 2011
    the game is very good. But where the Leon Belmont, Trevor Belmont, Sypha belnundes, grant, juste belmont, Maxim, Hector, John Morris, Eric lecard, albus, hammer
    We would have eleven characters and new maps. the game would be bigger and better please konami more DLCs. after all my note is also positive
  3. Feb 8, 2013
    Oh my goodness, this game is genius! The character progression is brilliant. There's so much room for a player's personal style to be shown online. There's plenty of technical skills to be learned over the course of hundreds and hundreds of hours of gameplay. Expand
  4. Aug 1, 2013
    Since this is a long post, I'll give you the short version, then read on if you'd like.

    Castlevania HD is extremely difficult to play
    strictly alone, but it is possible, even if you haven't beat the original or third game on the NES (THE ABSOLUTELY MOST DIFFICULT TWO). If you have XBL Gold, I HIGHLY RECCOMEND THIS GAME, AND THE DLC. Just keep in mind, most matches will be with international players who, even if they do have mics, you couldn't understand. If you don't have XBL Gold, you better have beaten the first 3 Castlevanias on the original NES. Emulators don't count.

    Before you read, I'd like to say that I am a seasoned gamer; I've played thousands of different games. I have invested hundreds of hours in this particular game, and understand where some people are coming from when they write reviews, but most only judge it by the demo. Let the Vet tell it like it is.
    P.S.- I will have spoilers at the very end. There will be a note telling you when they start.

    Castlevania is a monumental series that everybody must play a game of at LEAST once in their life. This game in particular is very different from the others, which is why it's reviews are not good; because it's different from the norm.

    On the original 3 Castlevania games, you had to defeat difficult enemies on near-impossible stages. There wasn't much of a story (minus the second) but it was a game that you couldn't be taken away from. Most Castlevania games following were adapted to feature some form of story for the character you're playing as. The gameplay progressed by how much you leveled up, and maintained a balance. Now this Castlevania, the only way you could know the story is if you played the other Castlevania games. You are guaranteed to die a minimum of your first 5 times if you were to play alone, because each level is AN ENTIRE GAME. You get new armor and weapons, and eventually, you will progress to the next chapter in the game. I'm pretty sure this was also the first Castlevania with online multiplayer, so one could only assume the developers put majority of their effort into the multiplayer mechanics, as unfortunate that may be.

    Aside from the story and difficulty, there was one problem that stood out for most players. I don't even mind the lack of story or difficulty, but I can't get over this: There were truly only 3 characters that had effort put into them, INCLUDING DLC. These characters; Soma, Charlotte, and Jonathan, each have an overwhelming capacity of weapons and spells they can use. Read the previous sentence again. Now, I'm going to explain something:
    Soma and Alucard were supposed equivalents
    Charlotte, Shanoa, Yoko, and Maria (The spellcasters) were supposed equivalents (even though there is a mass diversity with Charlotte)
    Jonathan, Richter, Julius, and Simon (The whip users) were supposed equivalents
    Fuma is off topic, with a near-equivalency of Simon.
    No matter how weird that sounds, just go with it for evaluation purposes.
    Now when I say overwhelming, DLC included, I mean that Jonathan has near 30 subweapons with 6 martial art techniques, Charlotte has near 50 spells, and Soma has near 125 TOTAL spells, with at least 40 total weapons. The other 3 whip-using characters have about 15 subweapons, Shanoa has 7 spells with 5 total weapons (I think), Alucard has only 5 (Maybe 6) spells (but can use almost any weapon Soma can, at least), the other 2 spellcasters have 3 and 4 total spells respectively, and Fuma has 4 spells. There is a huge difference between charcters in each class. Most people will strictly use Soma because (just judging by his arsenal) is the most OP character in the game, but that is also good, because you can play as him to be your "training wheels" so you get better used to the game.

    I am big on story mode in games, but I don't think it's necessary if you got a friend or two (or five) to play with. This is my all-time favorite sidescroller co-op game (yes, I like it better than Terraria and Trine (although I don't think Trine actually has co-op, but anyway)) and I recommend it to anybody looking for a challenge, or that just wants to have fun with friends.

    That's that, so the spoilers and tips are about to start-

    Soma should be your first character, trust me.
    You can boost certain characters' subweapons' levels by playing Survival on Hard online with a friend. All you have to do is take turns spamming subweapons. You can die an infinite ammount of times, so I recommend taking all armor off so that you don't deal too much damage (subweapons level up per hit), but you should wear an Astral ring (Found on Chapters 6-8; Makes you waste health instead of mana while casting spells) and a Master Ring (in the Shop; makes you level up faster).
    Worst to best characters: damage w/ whips (maxed out):
    Jonathan (ironically)-Richter-Julius (but has a fun special move)-Simon
  5. Aug 16, 2010
    An interesting idea for a game. I give it a 7 versus a lower score due to it being a relatively novel idea and working well in what it attempts to accomplish (i.e. being a multiplayer metroidvania style game). However, it can feel sluggish at times, and the feeling of exploration and discovery is noticeably absent once you've finished the paltry 6 levels. Granted, finding new items is always exciting, but it seems like there is too much grinding to be done. Overall, I find HoD to be a positive experience and worth a try, but perhaps only for those who are fans of the series. Playing a game like this really makes you thirst for a real Castlevania 2-D adventure on an HD console, though... Expand
  6. Aug 12, 2010
    GameZone 55 The entire game can be completed in under an hour with an organized team, although a Hard difficulty will test the skills of the most devoted fans. Beyond that, there is nothing to keep players' interests past an initial run. Expand
  7. Aug 27, 2010
    Whoever decided to put an 8-bit graphics style game on XBLA is a bit out of touch. Now I'm not saying 8-bit is bad, but let's be honest. This game came out in the same month as LIMBO, a game that managed to look gorgeous with only two colors, and Lara Croft GoL, a combat platformer with very nice graphics. The game was unoriginal, offered a terrible navigation and menu setup, and looked like it was from the 1980s. Not worth the money. Expand

See all 10 User Reviews