My 1st impressions after beating Portrait of Ruin. While it has a lot of replay value, PoR is just more of the same.

User Rating: 7 | Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin DS
Portrait of Ruin continues what SOTN, and Dawn of Sorrow left off, classic 2D Metroidvania goodness. There is a new cast of characters to play as like Charlotte, and Jonathan as well as a few that are unlocked once you beat the story, like the sisters and Richter from bloodlines. But all in all it's pretty much just another Metroidvania game. Other than the fact there is additional character with you at all times and there is some team work it's just more of the same. Teamwork stuff and power moves affect the game so little that it really isn't as noticeable as you would think. In fact most of the time I left my partner on the side lines because it was far more useful to have them come in for a power attack rather than have them drain my meter to perform special attacks. Overall, I don't understand why they tried to make this mechanic and just instead developed the characters more then what they did. Both characters seemed interesting at first, but they just don't interact throughout the story like you think they will, no real bonding points or cutscenes really make it clear. Other characters in the story have this problem too, but the main characters were really lacking in development and its sad because they did have the potential to be interesting.

I also have to wonder why Dracula was really involved with this game, the story didn't really call for it, and frankly I would have loved to see Charlotte and Jonathan just travel the world rather than thru portraits. Its fun going to places other than Dracula's castle for once, and PoR really did bring that part out. However, all these segments do end up suffering in lack of detail or exploration and in turn make Dracula's castle the same. There isn't much detail in either sections due to trying too hard to deliver two things at once to players when really they should have focused on one or the other. I didn't feel like I was exploring Dracula's castle once again, but rather just jumping from point A in the overworld, and finding point B in it only to do the same thing I did in A, but in a different location. Also save points were often scattered far too much and that tended to make the game annoying when exploring newer areas. But not everything is all bad, once you beat the game you're reward with tons of new stuff to play with, like the sisters mode, cap levels, hard mode, boss challenge, and a bunch of other cool stuff. It can at least be said that Portrait of Ruin does deliver content and for that I admire it. I can't say Portrait of Ruin is my favorite Castlevania game, but it's far from the worse.

Portrait of Ruin really could have been better if we didn't actually return to Dracula's castle. However, that is not the case, and while it's not a bad game, a lot of potential was missed. Still, Portrait of Ruin offers a lot to players, and I think if you're even remotely interested in Castlevania you will have fun with this game.