Copyright Adam Schlosser

Copyright 2005 Adam Schlosser

Posted by Pip

F283- A Real Bookworm

Gluttony is just hungry for knowledge. Ha-HA! Comedy gold, people. Hilarious.
Why isn't this comic more popular?

Quick Critique: Castlevania: Harmony of Despair

Looking to sate my action-adventure-exploration itch until Bloodstained comes out and thanks to a sale, I decided to try out Harmony of Despair (which is already needlessly confusing because Harmony of Dissonance already was the HoD entry!). It's a keen idea but one that's badly implemented. It basically a loot game without much loot. I think Shanoa only has four weapons. In my initial playthrough, I only found one of them outside of the default weapon and it was garbage so I never used it). In a loot based game, I spent the entire game with the default weapon, which kind of defeats what loot games are all about. It's hard to make your character better since you can't level up, there's so little equipment, spells take forever to level up and even for beating Dracula, all I got was a pair of shoes that were worse than what I already had equipped. You can also only bring one item into battle and you can only hold extremely limited quantities (like a single potion that refills all your health).
Because it still has the trappings of a loot game, it's built around replaying stages over and over. The stages have a lot of unnecessary gimmicks like switches and transporters that make even replays a hassle. It's hard to read the maps due to a bad camera and closed paths that require multiple people, so it's not a lot of fun to play and it makes your first time through any level a pain in the butt. The boss battles are the best part since there isn't much real exploration or character growth in the level, but the fights are far too long. They don't require much strategy but the bosses have ludicrous amounts of health to grind down. The game doesn't even change if you're playing alone, so the enemies retain all their health, paths remain locked without multiple players, and there are items you can't reach alone. Progress is mostly tied to a single character outside of some pieces of equipment, so there isn't a great reason to change characters once you find the one that works for you. It doesn't even explain how to get new skills/weapons for characters that don't get standard equipable items and doesn't explain how the skills work, so they create an odd wall for new players to jump in to join an established player. Just to rub lemon juice in the wound, the soundtrack is awful and almost entirely uninteresting. For a game built around cobbling together old rooms, sprites, and elements, they could have at least included the classic music or top tracks from the franchise's past.
A short, replayable action-exploration game is an idea with merit, but HoD went about it all wrong. There needs to be a good reason to replay it, the base game needs to be fun enough to stand up across replays, and Dracula needs to drop better shoes.