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    BrodoFaggins's Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin (DS)

    [January 8, 2007 06:07:15 PM]
    I started Portrait of Ruin on Friday, January 5. My experiences thus far with previous Castlevania games have only been the ones Konami put out for the Game Boy Advance, and the previous DS title, Dawn of Sorrow. I never owned the older generation of consoles due to my parents ban on video games when I was younger, so I've missed out on Symphony of the Night, as well as the original Castlevanias for the NES. This is neither here nor there, so on to my thoughts on this title.

    This game is very inconsistent when it comes to powerups and new abilities recieved. From the 4 previous Castlevanias I've played, new abilities were acquired once a boss was defeated. In Dawn and Aria of Sorrow, they came in the form of souls. In Circle of the Moon and Harmony of Dissonance, they simply came to you after killing the boss. However, in Portrait of Ruin, you simply find them near the area where the boss resides. It's somewhat jolting to me, as I expect some kind of reward immediately, but it never comes. Some of the powerups seem a bit redundant. For example, last night, I got a kind of double jump powerup, which let me jump on my partner's shoulders (more on the partner aspect in a bit) to reach previously unattainable platforms. Today, I beat a boss (a slime monster in a boiling cauldron), and I recieved the double jump ability shortly thereafter. Now, I can triple jump by first jumping onto my partner, jumping off of her, and then jumping again once midair, but it all seems unintuitive.

    Now, this partner comes in the form of a female protagonist that you can summon or send away at will with the press of the A button. The AI of the game will take over its control, and will fight whatever enemy you're facing, or if you want to use her magic ability, you press R to activate it. You can switch control to become the girl, with the male protagonist as the AI controlled teammate. It all works very well in my opinion, and is a good gameplay mechanic that opens up new possibilities for co-op. For instance, the slime boss' cauldron needed to be moved to the right so it's weak point would be more exposed, so I started pushing it. I then called my partner with A, and she automatically started helping me, halving the time it took. Other things include having her stay on a lever so that a door can stay open, at which point I'll run in, send her away, and then summon her again by my side. It takes some getting used to, but it works well.

    The two characters are somewhat boring in design, but I never really cared about characters in games where the plot isn't imposed on the player every five minutes. The male lead is Jonathan Morris, a direct descendant of the famous vampire-hunting Belmont clan. The female lead is Charlotte Aulin, Jonathan's childhood friend. Jonathan uses physical-based attacks with swords, knives, and axes, while Charlotte uses books. She thrusts a tome in the direction of the enemy, and some sort of weapon will pop out.

    Gameplay-wise, I'm finding it very fun to explore new areas. I arrived in a new part of the castle, which of course, included new and stronger enemies. There was a sense of trepidation, as I frantically searched for the save room (which also replenishes my health and mana). I wasn't able to find it, but I did find a teleportation room, which let me warp to another area of the castle that had a save room close by. The enemies in this game are modeled off of mythological and fantasy-based creatures, such as golems, skeleton warriors, and succubi.

    In terms of reward structure, the game has a good weapons system, but it's a step down from it's DS predecessor, which allowed you to upgrade weapons with the use of souls collected from defeated enemies. In this one, you gain skill points every time you complete a specific mission or use it enough. It's fine for regular gameplay, but the collect and upgrade feature is sorely missed. Enemies will sometimes drop a weapon, but it's rare. I got a couple of Gladius' from some Hill Guards, which I'll probably sell for money. Once I get the stronger weapon, I'll sell anything weaker for money, which I'll probably use on potions and anti-venoms.

    More later.
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    BrodoFaggins's Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin (DS)

    Current Status: Playing

    GameLog started on: Monday 8 January, 2007

    BrodoFaggins's opinion and rating for this game

    A very substantial exploration-based platformer, continuing the classic Castlevania gameplay, with some co-op twists.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

    Related Links

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    More GameLogs
    other GameLogs for this Game
    1 : Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin (DS) by jp (rating: 5)
    2 : Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin (DS) by r3dhalo (rating: 5)


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