"This game keeps the style of the series, but it's not original and the flaws are considerable."

User Rating: 6 | Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin DS

This title is not even close in quality terms as symphony of the night, rondo of blood, or even bloodlines.

It's another recycled style like Dawn Of Sorrow, and you might think the formula works, well... sort of. This game is not improving anything except the fact you can play with a partner. The game design is too generic and the boss fights are unfair and uninspired, there's no strategy to follow, and you just have to drop all your magic and that's it, very poor boss fights design. So sit back and relax, because you are about to read the best and more precise review of this game.

Presentation/Plot (6/10):

Nothing interesting here, just some dialogues, you may believe that a long intro will improve the plot, but not in this case, there's more questions than answers here, they don't explain well the events and you can learn more by playing other castlevania games, or just go read the wiki, they don't explain anything well in this game, the same is the case of the spells. The first impression of this game is a boring menu screen.

Gameplay (5/10):

Very mediocre gameplay mechanics to say the least. Your character moves very slow and the AI of the partner is laughable. The developers failed in programming even a basic AI. They fix that making the character respawn just behind you. Your partner always get hit, no matter what you do, your partner is not capable of avoiding a single attack, and that affects your MP, which is very low. The boss rush mode does not help either, because you will be facing the bosses fights very bad equipped and with no special attacks whatsoever, that results in very unfair bosses fights, when you die, you are forced to see a very long restart screen over and over, they did not fixed that problem, like in symphony of the night. I don't understand the purpose of the online shop, they don't explain that either. The level design is terrible, is like a labyrinth, you will be running into walls and you don't know where to go next, that's a very annoying thing, until you figure out that you have to exit the painting after a certain point, you will have wasted a lot of your time. Overall, the gameplay is a joke, you never feel comfortable with bad programmed controls, Castlevania for the nes has better controls.

Graphics (6/10):

The graphics are average at best. The characters and enemies look very pixelated, that sometimes you think that you are playing a GBA game. They add some sort of weird 3D models, that doesn't help at all. The textures are nothing special and the level design is recycled, you will see the same backgrounds over and over again, they don't even put detail in some backgrounds. The effects when you use magic are very mediocre, again, it looks like a GBA game, and that's not a good thing.

Sound/Music (7/10):

Here is the best part of the game, sadly. The music sounds good but the sound effects are lame, like the sound of the whip or the axe. The voice acting is terrible, I give this score just because of the music, they keep a good quality of music, but nothing special.

Improvements (5/10):

There's only one improvement, and that's the fact that you can play with a CPU partner, wich is not very helpful, but at least it add something new. There's some tasks that you can do only with your partner and you can mix attacks and do some special attacks, wich is a good thing, but that's the only improvement I can see, they recycled almost everything from the previous titles, that's a shame.

Conclusion:

Caslevania Portrait Of Ruin is an average title at best, it "ruins" the experience that we saw on the previous title, with a cool anime design but with very bad gameplay mechanics and almost no improvements whatsoever, there's some replay value, you can play as some secret characters, but the game becomes very easy in that way. I don't recommend this game, you should play it ONLY if you really like the castlevania franchise, because as a castlevania fan, I consider this game a disappointment, it's not enjoyable, but at least worth playing.