Review: Castlevania: Harmony of Despair

Susan Arendt

Nerd Queen
Jan 9, 2007
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Review: Castlevania: Harmony of Despair

Harmony of Despair is an interesting twist on the Castlevania formula, but is also an acquired taste.

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Meggiepants

Not a pigeon roost
Jan 19, 2010
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Ah, well, I thought the game looked a little wacky when I saw the videos of it on XBL. This clears up a lot of things for me.

I probably won't be getting it, even though one of my XBL friends has been playing it non-stop for the last week. I'll be waiting for the new Tomb Raider co-op... which a truly hope is good.
 

YukoValis

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Aug 9, 2008
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Everything looked decent up until the fricken time limit. A Time limit? geez that just ruins it all. I would love to explore a HUGE castle with friends because the hit detection can make the game a blast. Avoiding deadly blades and traps that come within inches of you is what made SOTN a lot of fun, so while this shares the same notion, the time limit really screws you over and makes you rush.
 

Onyx Oblivion

Borderlands Addict. Again.
Sep 9, 2008
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meganmeave said:
Ah, well, I thought the game looked a little wacky when I saw the videos of it on XBL. This clears up a lot of things for me.

I probably won't be getting it, even though one of my XBL friends has been playing it non-stop for the last week. I'll be waiting for the new Tomb Raider co-op... which a truly hope is good.
That's me, isn't it?

OT:

I'm loving it. Playing as Shanoa is a blast, but this game DEFINITELY requires you to have played Castlevania before, for newcomers, just get Symphony of the Night on the arcade, or the DS games.

But really, just get the DS games.

Especially Order of Ecclesia. I've seen far too many online players who've played Dawn of Sorrow, Portrait of Ruin, SOTN...but have NOT played OoE.

That said, the time limit is barely an issue. I've never run out of time, as I'm usually long dead by then.

One quick note, whenever a "dead" skeleton player dies, the time goes down 3-5 minutes, to prevent people from exploiting it as a form of infinite life, since when the skeleton dies, you just respawn.
 

Susan Arendt

Nerd Queen
Jan 9, 2007
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Kinda disappointing that they didn't try to adapt the formula for multiplayer rather than simply stripping components and restructuring levels. Ah well.
 

Moriarty70

Canucklehead
Dec 24, 2008
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So what I'm hearing is, if you're not going to play multiplayer, stick with Shadow Complex. Got it, time for another run.
 

Meggiepants

Not a pigeon roost
Jan 19, 2010
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Onyx Oblivion said:
meganmeave said:
Ah, well, I thought the game looked a little wacky when I saw the videos of it on XBL. This clears up a lot of things for me.

I probably won't be getting it, even though one of my XBL friends has been playing it non-stop for the last week. I'll be waiting for the new Tomb Raider co-op... which a truly hope is good.
That's me, isn't it?
Perhaps... <.<

You do seem to be enjoying it. I was tempted to buy it only because I knew any time I got on I could try the multiplayer madness because you would be playing it.
 

Testsubject909

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Jan 18, 2010
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Maybe it's just me and my backseat gaming nature...

But looking at a video of someone playing on Youtube... I swear, just about five seconds in the full zoom-out, I could make a clear cut path to the boss and pretty much made right-on guesses as to what switch would open what doors for the stages I saw (the first three)

Most everything else felt relatively instinctive by the visuals alone.... Now to wait until it gets ported to PSN..... Maybe..
 

Onyx Oblivion

Borderlands Addict. Again.
Sep 9, 2008
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meganmeave said:
Onyx Oblivion said:
meganmeave said:
Ah, well, I thought the game looked a little wacky when I saw the videos of it on XBL. This clears up a lot of things for me.

I probably won't be getting it, even though one of my XBL friends has been playing it non-stop for the last week. I'll be waiting for the new Tomb Raider co-op... which a truly hope is good.
That's me, isn't it?
Perhaps... <.<

You do seem to be enjoying it. I was tempted to buy it only because I knew any time I got on I could try the multiplayer madness because you would be playing it.
I can promise you this...I'll teach you the levels, and then the time limit will NEVER trouble you. Not even the first time. If you want me to slay everything for you so you can get PHAT LOOT, I'll do it. If you want me to back off, so that you can do stuff on your own, I'll do it. I've got 40 hours with this game...That's just with one characters. I plan to master all 5 in the end...So, I pretty much enjoy this game no matter what I'm doing.
 

Mass B

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Mar 2, 2010
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obviously i'm into the castelvania series. SOTN is my favorite, so i was glad to hear that alucard was in the game. I had my doubts about the game from the trailers, and the time limit is seriously bugging me, but i still plan on buying it. Someone tell me if this is a huge mistake.
 

HarmanSmith

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Aug 12, 2009
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I think the developers forgot one important thing when making this game: bosses in Castlevania are going to kill you... a lot... before you can memorize their attack patterns and kill them. Making players restart the level every time a boss kills them is a completely unnecessary annoyance. Call me old-fashioned, but I like playing fighting from save point to save point, just like I always have.
 

Onyx Oblivion

Borderlands Addict. Again.
Sep 9, 2008
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Mass B said:
obviously i'm into the castelvania series. SOTN is my favorite, so i was glad to hear that alucard was in the game. I had my doubts about the game from the trailers, and the time limit is seriously bugging me, but i still plan on buying it. Someone tell me if this is a huge mistake.
It won't. It really won't. Just use your map, and remember, SWITCHES ALWAYS NEED TO FACE RIGHT.

If the switch is facing left, it...NEEDS TO FACE RIGHT.
 

Meggiepants

Not a pigeon roost
Jan 19, 2010
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Onyx Oblivion said:
meganmeave said:
Onyx Oblivion said:
meganmeave said:
Ah, well, I thought the game looked a little wacky when I saw the videos of it on XBL. This clears up a lot of things for me.

I probably won't be getting it, even though one of my XBL friends has been playing it non-stop for the last week. I'll be waiting for the new Tomb Raider co-op... which a truly hope is good.
That's me, isn't it?
Perhaps... <.<

You do seem to be enjoying it. I was tempted to buy it only because I knew any time I got on I could try the multiplayer madness because you would be playing it.
I can promise you this...I'll teach you the levels, and then the time limit will NEVER trouble you. Not even the first time. If you want me to slay everything for you so you can get PHAT LOOT, I'll do it. If you want me to back off, so that you can do stuff on your own, I'll do it. I've got 40 hours with this game...That's just with one characters. I plan to master all 5 in the end...So, I pretty much enjoy this game no matter what I'm doing.
What is it with you and game pushing? First Limbo now this... I think maybe you are getting a cut.

You better play with me if I buy this, because I don't know anyone else who has it, and I don't want to be like Susan, standing in front of a wall that doesn't move because I don't have a partner.
 

sageoftruth

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Jan 29, 2010
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Well, I'm sold. Nothing tempts me like saying that a game is very hard. Maybe I'll put it on my list after Demon's Souls.
 

Anti-Robot Man

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Apr 5, 2010
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Time limit + NO OFFLINE CO-OP = No Sale. And I love the Castlevania series, I hope Konami pull their act together and release a real 2D Castlevania game (hopefully with some redrawn sprites).
 

Kuchinawa212

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Apr 23, 2009
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Ooooh owwww man I thought it was going to be better. The demo I played looked like "man we should get some guys together and play this" but if it's still lack luster? daaaamn
 

Susan Arendt

Nerd Queen
Jan 9, 2007
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Harmony of Despair lets you and up to five friends play as one of six iconic Castlevania characters, like Alucard, Soma Cruz, or Jonathan Morris
After this, I couldn't take a single word you said seriously.
 

Z(ombie)fan

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Mar 12, 2010
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ONE: HAving to know about castlevania isn't remotely a flaw. I mean seriously. "You have to know about castlevania wHeh". ... and?

TWO: the time limit isnt that bad every, go play the pre-SOTN CV games. see? time limit ain't that bad.

EDIT: yeah sorry, but still I think the review sounded whiny. basically It sounds like a mix of classic and new-classic CV games, Only with Co-Op.

Also: Harmony of Despair...

Oh what the fuck? you mean they are STILL using the lame titles?
 

RvLeshrac

This is a Forum Title.
Oct 2, 2008
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HarmanSmith said:
I think the developers forgot one important thing when making this game: bosses in Castlevania are going to kill you... a lot... before you can memorize their attack patterns and kill them. Making players restart the level every time a boss kills them is a completely unnecessary annoyance. Call me old-fashioned, but I like playing fighting from save point to save point, just like I always have.
"Old Fashioned"?

So I take it you've never played Castlevania, and had to restart from the beginning of the game when you were Bat-ed off a ledge, climbing to Drac, eh?

"Old Fashioned" indeed. :/
 

Dr. Wily III

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Jul 27, 2009
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Z(ombie)fan said:
Also: Harmony of Despair...

Oh what the fuck? you mean they are STILL using the lame titles?
Yeah, why don't they just say "Castlevania 29", seriously, what the hell?

...not to be taken seriously, thanks.
 

Kivan12

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Jul 31, 2009
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WHAT were they thinking with a time limit?! god the stupidity of game designers. What baffles me is that all the designers woudl have had to approve this at some point, and it gone through levels of decisions where everyone agreed it would be an excellent idea
 

Ghostkai

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Jun 14, 2008
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Speaking as someone who has completed it on hard (you have to complete it on normal first before you unlock the difficulty), the time limit isn't an issue, you can happily clear the entire level, and get all the loot in about 15 mins.

Also, I have over 10 friends to play this with online. 6 player co-op is a blast.
 

HarmanSmith

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Aug 12, 2009
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RvLeshrac said:
HarmanSmith said:
I think the developers forgot one important thing when making this game: bosses in Castlevania are going to kill you... a lot... before you can memorize their attack patterns and kill them. Making players restart the level every time a boss kills them is a completely unnecessary annoyance. Call me old-fashioned, but I like playing fighting from save point to save point, just like I always have.
"Old Fashioned"?

So I take it you've never played Castlevania, and had to restart from the beginning of the game when you were Bat-ed off a ledge, climbing to Drac, eh?

"Old Fashioned" indeed. :/
Ok, you caught me, I only started playing Castlevania when they came out for the GBA and only had started playing SotN when I cracked the disk (it was not good). To make amends, I will go buy SotN on XBLA. Regardless, that's how I remember Castlevania from my childhood. Leave my nostalgia alone!
 

Jared

The British Paladin
Jul 14, 2009
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Time...limit? HUH!? Seems like a really..>REALLY stupid idea to me...

oranger said:
No offline co-op/singleplayer? cash grab. no thanks, konami.
Agreed!
 

Deacon Cole

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Blue-State said:
Time Limit
II
Deal Breaker
This.

Yeah, I know Super Mario Bros also had a time limit and so did a lot of games. but games have outgrown arbitrary time limits like that since we stopped playing games in video arcade and failure meant inserting another quarter.
 

Susan Arendt

Nerd Queen
Jan 9, 2007
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Z(ombie)fan said:
ONE: HAving to know about castlevania isn't remotely a flaw. I mean seriously. "You have to know about castlevania wHeh". ... and?

TWO: the time limit isnt that bad every, go play the pre-SOTN CV games. see? time limit ain't that bad.

EDIT: yeah sorry, but still I think the review sounded whiny. basically It sounds like a mix of classic and new-classic CV games, Only with Co-Op.

Also: Harmony of Despair...

Oh what the fuck? you mean they are STILL using the lame titles?
Actually, having to know Castlevania is a flaw when it degrades the experience for anyone unfamiliar with the franchise lore. If the game did a better job of telling you what's what, then fine, but it doesn't. It doesn't make the game unplayable by any stretch, but it does make it a far more shallow and confusing experience.
 

pneuma08

Gaming Connoisseur
Sep 10, 2008
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I was definitively on board of this until I heard about the time limit, which seems just like extra baggage. That said, I was still considering it until I heard it doesn't have any offline co-op and it's not very good single-player.

Ugh.
 

samsonguy920

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Mar 24, 2009
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YukoValis said:
Everything looked decent up until the fricken time limit. A Time limit? geez that just ruins it all. I would love to explore a HUGE castle with friends because the hit detection can make the game a blast. Avoiding deadly blades and traps that come within inches of you is what made SOTN a lot of fun, so while this shares the same notion, the time limit really screws you over and makes you rush.
Just what I was thinking. They could at least have made it an option for the speedfreaks out there.
And then there is the entire lack of help for new players. Quite the way to limit sales, dontcha think?
 

Kinguendo

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Apr 10, 2009
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I have never found that 30 minute timer to be a problem and I have already racked up about 40 hours on it already. Also, I am awesome at it. :D

If you are going to play as a group the best size is 3 people. Dont choose the same characters otherwise you arent bringing anything new to the table.

Charlotte may seem weak to start with but she becomes very important when she learns the healing magic (from witches... she can learn both the magic attack and heal from them).

Get someone as Soma (even though I HATE him I still played as him because Konami decided not to put Juste Belmont in) because he is the best all-round character but can be a power house if you equip the right stuff and then your third can be anyone really...

However Shanoa is INSANELY good at long range. Seriously, lightning attack = awesome.

Also, Jonathon has powerful martial arts attacks and his B moves gained strength the more they are used... if you master them you also get stronger with the whip, oh and the whip is a good defensive weapon too as it can be swung around and has the longest range of any melee weapon on the game.

Who did I miss...? Oh Alucard, yeah hes alright... we sometimes had three different guys playing as him when we used a 6 person team, they werent exactly steam rolling the enemy but if you stick with any character they all get good.
 

Mass B

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Mar 2, 2010
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RvLeshrac said:
HarmanSmith said:
I think the developers forgot one important thing when making this game: bosses in Castlevania are going to kill you... a lot... before you can memorize their attack patterns and kill them. Making players restart the level every time a boss kills them is a completely unnecessary annoyance. Call me old-fashioned, but I like playing fighting from save point to save point, just like I always have.
"Old Fashioned"?

So I take it you've never played Castlevania, and had to restart from the beginning of the game when you were Bat-ed off a ledge, climbing to Drac, eh?

"Old Fashioned" indeed. :/
My brother raged when he saw what you wrote lol he played Simon's Quest on an emulator. those damn bats and medusa heads got us every time
 

tehroc

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Jul 6, 2009
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I'm so glad it's not been dumbed down for non gamers. Quite honestly I couldnt give a damn about the business side of gaming. I would rather play quality games that arent nerfed down to the lowest common denominator.
 

Onyx Oblivion

Borderlands Addict. Again.
Sep 9, 2008
17,032
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meganmeave said:
Onyx Oblivion said:
meganmeave said:
Onyx Oblivion said:
meganmeave said:
Ah, well, I thought the game looked a little wacky when I saw the videos of it on XBL. This clears up a lot of things for me.

I probably won't be getting it, even though one of my XBL friends has been playing it non-stop for the last week. I'll be waiting for the new Tomb Raider co-op... which a truly hope is good.
That's me, isn't it?
Perhaps... <.<

You do seem to be enjoying it. I was tempted to buy it only because I knew any time I got on I could try the multiplayer madness because you would be playing it.
I can promise you this...I'll teach you the levels, and then the time limit will NEVER trouble you. Not even the first time. If you want me to slay everything for you so you can get PHAT LOOT, I'll do it. If you want me to back off, so that you can do stuff on your own, I'll do it. I've got 40 hours with this game...That's just with one characters. I plan to master all 5 in the end...So, I pretty much enjoy this game no matter what I'm doing.
What is it with you and game pushing? First Limbo now this... I think maybe you are getting a cut.

You better play with me if I buy this, because I don't know anyone else who has it, and I don't want to be like Susan, standing in front of a wall that doesn't move because I don't have a partner.
I get a cut...I get a friend to play with!

I'm teach you everything. From how each character works, to the routes, to the backstory. And I'll do it all with glee!
 

BlindMessiah94

The 94th Blind Messiah
Nov 12, 2009
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I'll admit, I thought the review was all "Boohoo the game is hard make it easier" until the dreaded time limit was revealed. I agree with the above. Dealbreaker.

I'll just play SoTN if I want my Alucard fix.
 

Deofuta

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Nov 10, 2009
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How can people have a problem with the time limit? This is my first castlevania game, ever. And I have yet to run out of time (Cept for facing Dracula, 3 skele's kept dieing.)

It is NOT a deal breaker.
 

Atmos Duality

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Mar 3, 2010
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Psychosocial said:
Harmony of Despair lets you and up to five friends play as one of six iconic Castlevania characters, like Alucard, Soma Cruz, or Jonathan Morris
After this, I couldn't take a single word you said seriously.
Jonathan Morris might not be a Belmont, but he isn't that bad of a character.
My major complaint is that there isn't a real Belmont among the lot (unless you pay for Julius...yeah, thanks a pantload Konami).
 

Mass B

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Mar 2, 2010
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It's really too bad, i would have liked to play as some of the Belmonts, like Richter, Simon, Juste, and Trevor
 

BobisOnlyBob

is Only Bob
Nov 29, 2007
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I notice a LOT of sprite reuse from the DS games. That's not so bad, but they've recycled the bosses and their behaviours too. If you've played Symphony of the Night, Dawn of Sorrow, Portrait of Ruin and Order of Ecclesia, then it looks like everything will be familiar, including the characters...

This certainly isn't "old-fashioned" Castlevania. This is post-Symphony Castlevania, multiplayer, recycling everything from the four games above. Not that that's such a bad thing, but... ugh... timer...

I would most likely purchase it if I had an Xbox 360 readily available.
 

RejjeN

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Aug 12, 2009
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BobisOnlyBob said:
I would most likely purchase it if I had an Xbox 360 readily available.
Ditto. These XBL things almost make me regret I didn't buy a 360 :/
 

Metalgamer81

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Dec 28, 2008
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The game looks pretty sweet to me. But "cock rock soundtrack?" Really? I've never heard anyone singing about going to L.A. strip clubs in a Castlevania game. If by "cock rock" you meant "symphonic rock" you'd be more spot-on, then we might want to discuss your understanding of the word "cock."
 

Susan Arendt

Nerd Queen
Jan 9, 2007
7,222
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When I first tried this castlevania, it was as a trial demo and I thought the time limit was just there to shorten the demo. I must say I was surprised that it was actually in the full game as well. While I do still enjoy the game, I really wish there was no time limit at all. It doesn't ruin my fun, but it does detract a fair bit. Same goes for lack of local co-op. That was just crappy. One can only hope that they make a patch that makes the time limit optional and that puts in local co-op sometime.
 

Newblisk

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Mar 26, 2009
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castlevania HoD is an acquired taste for sure. but honestly if you're a fan of castlevania there's no doubt you'll enjoy this game. for those being put off by the time limit you need to understand the role the time limit is actually playing.

The time limit isn't there to make you hurry as 20 minutes should be the most you would spend on any chapter regardless of taking your sweet time. the time limit is there for balance issues concerning multiplayer. when a character dies they can be revived no problem, but should they die as a skeleton 3 minutes will be shaved from the timer making for many failed runs due to people continuing to die over and over.

As for the shortcuts designed for multiplayer they're ways to pass them on your own if you take the time to learn the game. such as the fire wall where susan was trapped, the hercules ring or tough ring will let you walk right through the fire. figuring out these neat little tricks make up a lot of the enjoyment to be had with this game.

Overall the appeal of this game would be 1. castlevania fans 2. speed runners 3. grinders, and 4. completionists or for those who like 100%. so if you're anyone of those 4 things you'll enjoy this game.
 

vxicepickxv

Slayer of Bothan Spies
Sep 28, 2008
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Newblisk said:
castlevania HoD is an acquired taste for sure. but honestly if you're a fan of castlevania there's no doubt you'll enjoy this game. for those being put off by the time limit you need to understand the role the time limit is actually playing.

The time limit isn't there to make you hurry as 20 minutes should be the most you would spend on any chapter regardless of taking your sweet time. the time limit is there for balance issues concerning multiplayer. when a character dies they can be revived no problem, but should they die as a skeleton 3 minutes will be shaved from the timer making for many failed runs due to people continuing to die over and over.

As for the shortcuts designed for multiplayer they're ways to pass them on your own if you take the time to learn the game. such as the fire wall where susan was trapped, the hercules ring or tough ring will let you walk right through the fire. figuring out these neat little tricks make up a lot of the enjoyment to be had with this game.

Overall the appeal of this game would be 1. castlevania fans 2. speed runners 3. grinders, and 4. completionists or for those who like 100%. so if you're anyone of those 4 things you'll enjoy this game.
I'm not going to disagree with that, but if you just want to dick around with friends online, get something that doesn't have time limits. Of course, with the right strategy or character, some of the bosses don't really matter.