It’s official, Castlevania Harmony of Despair will in fact be a co op oriented romp through massive stages with characters taken from the GBA/DS iterations. Now we also know that IGA himself is also helming this project. While many people were disappointed in having a multiplayer romp disguised as a Castlevania, what is at hand at E3 could definitely change a few minds.
To compliment the game’s focus on cooperative play there are only 6 main stages, each proving to be quite replayable seeing how the gameplay works. At the end of each stage you’ll face a boss, duh, and don’t be surprised if you’re not able to successfully defeat them on your first go. Memorization is the name of the game, once initially failing you simply start again, while still retaining all your gained items and currency (take that demon souls!) On top of this you are also timed, 10 minutes to be exact to reach each of the stages end bosses. But like aforementioned , the levels aren’t meant to be beaten as soon as you start it, the beauty in the gameplay is trying, failing, restarting and picking up better equipment along the way. It’s a premise that may seem daunting but can prove to be quite fun especially with a full party of 6 vampire hunters.
While the visuals, levels, characters and enemies seem to be taken straight from the GBA/DS there is one omission: experience points and leveling up. No more need to grinding in order to beat that once tedious boss, now it’s all in memorization and actually having skill. Fans of the GBA titles will be happy to see characters from Aria/Dawn of Sorrow,Portrait of Ruin,Order of Ecclesia, and the much revered Symphony of the Night: Soma, Jonathan/Charlotte, Shanoa, and Alucard respectively. So yes, seeing as this is a six player game, there will be one clone…(Why couldn’t they put a Belmont is beyond me…)
So quite simply if you enjoyed the boss rush modes included in all of the portable Castlevania titles then you’re totally going to dig this (myself included) seeing as how it’s basically an expanded version of that mode. With memorization of levels and enemies attack patterns being the premise this could end up being quite a great multiplayer game, and quite a challenging single player game if you decide to go that route which is entirely possible.
You’ll be able to download Castlevania Harmony of Despair sometime next month as a part of Microsoft’s annual ‘Summer of Arcade’ event.
For a more detailed preview and screens check out IGN: http://xboxlive.ign.com/articles/109/1097581p1.html
And if you want to see the game in motion (for a couple of seconds) check out the Summer of Arcade reel here: http://kotaku.com/5563614/first-castlevania-footage-is-like-a-hd-genesis