Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin Multiplayer Impressions

Castlevania is going online in Portrait of Ruin for the Nintendo DS, and we checked out the new multiplayer features.

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Konami recently stopped by with a near-final version of its upcoming Nintendo DS game, Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin. We've taken a look at the game a couple of times in the past and spilled the beans on features, such as the two-characters-at-the-same-time gameplay, the inclusion of mini-levels in the demonic portraits that are scattered around Dracula's castle, and the appearance of optional missions, which are given to you by the spectral wind character who's bound to the castle. We haven't, however, said much about the game's online components...until now.

The game's boss-rush mode can now be tackled either solo or with a friend in online mode.

With the appearance of two characters in the main game, you may have been hoping for full cooperative play with two players in the game's story mode, but unfortunately that doesn't happen in Portrait of Ruin. However, fans of co-op play will be happy to note that it is in the game in one form: as a part of the boss-rush mode. Fans of Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow will remember boss-rush mode as a kind of time-attack mode that had you take on all of the game's bosses at once as you attempted to race against the clock, with lower times earning better prizes that could then be carried over to the single-player game. Well, the single-player boss-rush mode is back in action, and it lets you control both Jonathan and Charlotte, the game's protagonists, as they take on all the baddies in their way. Also, there are now multiple boss-rush modes, three in all, with a different assortment of bosses and rewards for each.

The game's Wi-Fi Internet access can be used to play boss rush online with a friend. Because you'll be playing at the same time as someone else, it would be difficult to let either player pause the game for reequips, so the cooperative version of boss rush simply has pausing disabled; when you hop online, the game will pull your equipment from the saved game of your choice, and you'll be stuck with that until you complete the boss-rush mode. (You can still pause all you like in the single-player boss-rush mode, so the days of pausing and changing all your equipment every few seconds are still alive and kicking for the strategists out there.) Because some of the bosses in the game take advantage of the independently moving characters, it'll be interesting to see if a pair of skilled players can post lower times than the single-player masters. Luckily, you'll be able to know as soon as you access the online version of the game because your scores will be uploaded and added to a global leaderboard, letting you see the best pair of Castlevania players.

You'll be given plenty of incentives to hop online, not only because of the leaderboards, but because each of the online boss-rush modes offer different special items for completing them within a set period of time. These special items will then be added to your single-player saves, so it's possible that you might be able to ride on the coattails of a powerful friend and get some decent items for your character early on in the single-player game. Or, if you've saved up some cash, you can do the same thing with the online shop mode. In shop mode, you can set up your game to access the Internet and list items that you want to sell from your inventory. When someone connects to your shop, that player will be able to fork over the dough to you and buy your items. Here's the thing, though: You get the cash, but you don't lose the item. So if you find an ultra-rare sword and want to offer it up online, you could sell it a few dozen times if you want; it'll still be there in your inventory when you're done.

You have to be connected to shop mode to sell or buy wares, but you'll be able to find rare or difficult-to-find items online.

One of the drawbacks of shop mode is that you have to be actively engaged in online trading to sell or buy wares; you can't access the shop or sell goods while you're playing the game. That said, if you want to leave your DS hooked up to the Internet while it's charging, you can conceivably stay in shop mode overnight and let players connect to you and buy whatever they need. Alternately, whenever you want to save your game in the single-player mode, you can do so, hop out to shop mode, load up on goodies, and pick up right where you left off in the game. This should be helpful to players who've fought their way to a boss, then realized that they were running low on potions and had to run all the way back to the game's shopkeepers.

Although we're definitely going to miss the compulsive soul-collecting feature found in Dawn of Sorrow, Konami seems to be adding some intriguing new features to its second Castlevania game for the Nintendo DS. We even hear word of some unlockable playable characters. However, you'll probably have to play the game for yourself to get the details on that stuff. But you won't have to wait long, because Portrait of Ruin is currently scheduled to ship in early December.

Discussion

73 comments
Arsyad05
Arsyad05

hope it include more fighting style

Sam_Lowery
Sam_Lowery

I ordered this game online, which I never do, just to make sure I can get the bonus pack. 20 years of castlevania, wow. I remember playing the first one. Frankenstien used to beat me down something awfull.

pinpals
pinpals

i want this game whit all the bonus stuff.

Sacif
Sacif

yeah I am loving the castlevania stuff thats being thrown out on the DS, all I can say is that from being an ex-PSP owner...I am finally home.

cfamgcn
cfamgcn

Hope is as good as Dawn of Sorrow

arline6
arline6

I'm getting my hands in it at Best Buy. The price of $34.99.

DoubleAxe
DoubleAxe

Im gonna go out and pre-order this bad boy

somaslayer
somaslayer

Personally, I don't think there was really anything particularly special about Rondo, but if it was one of your favorites, I can understand. What I think is cool, though, is how they're adding pieces into the Castlevania storyline to fill in the gaps.

DirtyRotten
DirtyRotten

20 years of Castlevania and still no Rondo release stateside, I always hoped they would add it as a bonus for a collector's edition.

mackdaddy1342
mackdaddy1342

Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin is gonna be one of the best games of the year. Dawn of Sorrow was pretty good (by the way, the music in that game is awesome) and the graphics were crisp and colorful. I have high hopes for the new 2 character system. Hopefully there will be some challenging puzzles that will make me think (like Advance Wars: Dual Strike). I cant wait for this game to come out!!!

somaslayer
somaslayer

you cant collect souls, but you do have special abilities, so it evens up (charlotte is gonna be awesome)

Rayterd
Rayterd

Looks like a great game. Kinda gonna miss not collecting souls though...

volumesoxxs
volumesoxxs

I liked the other one they put on the DS (I bought it) so im definately going to get this one especially because it has online play and I can't wait to see how that turns out.

peeweeshift
peeweeshift

i havnt played castlevania since the snes days. Is it still hard like the old ones. final boss was to overpowered:(

tjharwin
tjharwin

Looks pretty good. I liked the first one very much, and the thought of going online sounds cool.

elythemonkey
elythemonkey

pre order it, can wait to see that 2 player style play, it looks awsome.

roboiago
roboiago

can' wait. must...preorder....naozorz...probably tomorrow...yes....myes...

3leMenT
3leMenT

Wounder if this can be made as good as it sounds :P

MandingoChief
MandingoChief

I'm just waiting for someone to find a way to convert CastleBucks into real cash...

Gamebills
Gamebills

Looks sweeeeet. I love castlevania and anyone who has any sense of gaming should give it a try.

Flint247
Flint247

Ds games with online owns.

gamer1_9_8_3
gamer1_9_8_3

CASTLEVANIA SERIES IS SO COOL! ESPECIALLY THE NEW ONE! PORTRAIT OF RUIN WILL TEACH US AGAIN HOW GREAT GAME WILL BE!

TintedChimes
TintedChimes

Castlevania fun because of the story and the ease of gameplay, there is depth to solve certain protions but its really easy to pick up and just go with it. Its just like mario, all you do is jump, stomp and occasionally throw a fireball, why was that fun? Well, it was easy to play and it was also challenging to a certain degree. No matter what, I'm pretty sure you fell into a pit once in a while or would get hit but a vine or accidently run into a koomba. So why would so many people like Mario? Good game play, easy pick up and fantastic graphics (for that time). With Castlevania, its just a more grown up mario battling monsters. Yes, the jumping isn't as smooth but there is more depth, collecting, and action. There's also, like you said, the exploration and the collection of cards, spells, and spirits. Also, if you really like exploration then play Metroid, that's a fantastic series. Castlevania might not be for everyone but many people like it. Just because a couple of people don't like a genre doesn't mean that genre is worst than the next. For example, I hate driving games but that doesn't make driving games less fun than other genre's because of my personal opinion, its just a preference. Oh, and this game will totally rock if it had dragons!

Hardly_Alive
Hardly_Alive

I guess I just don't get why these games interest so many people. I LOVE games like this, but the combat is shallow (1 or 2 buttons) no combos, the animations are stilted and the graphics blow.... Its just way too slow of a game, even though I love the exploration part. Someone explain...

jmac777
jmac777

Sweeetttt!!!!..Looks great

affius79
affius79

I've been waiting for another castlevania game where you can whip in 8 directions and swing from objects for 15 f'en years... looks like I'm out of luck once again...

leprechaunv
leprechaunv

Can't wait!!!!!, Castlevania series will rule forever :D

aus_pride
aus_pride

Um how do u play boss rush mode in dawn of sorrow?

Alcotamaysees
Alcotamaysees

It's good to finally hear something about this game. It went under my radar a while ago.

somaslayer
somaslayer

online shop...it just might be worth it...

xBlitzerx
xBlitzerx

Yes, can't wait! Castlevania owns!

REVOLUTIONfreak
REVOLUTIONfreak

thats dumb, I actually hated the boss rush mode in DoS

Gamepro2421
Gamepro2421

should be a good time, i wanna get my hands on DOS first, though, and play through that so i feel up to speed.

refugee0116
refugee0116

Ya,I love this series,but the changing of style is so great that I can't adapt it :)

LucasAW
LucasAW

Cool - can't wait for this 1!!

nightfire99
nightfire99

This game almost makes me wonna buy a ds just b/c this reminds me of the good old days of Castlevania on NES and my favorite Castlevania 3: Dracula's Curse, the best Castlevania game of all time.