Ruining all other Castlevanias

User Rating: 8.5 | Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin DS

In all of the castlevania games out to date this one takes the cake; if not all of it, most of it... I've played a lot of the castlevania games in the past and have been content with them. When I played Portrait of Ruin, I found myself putting aside my other games to make time for this one. I had no expectation when I popped it into my DS, but found out that this was no ordinary game. There are a lot of deciding factors that make this a great game. The first thing that had me set on the game was that it was on the Nintendo DS! It's one thing to have a great game, but to have a great game that is portable is another. Because of its portability and the suspend feature (sleep mode) I can play anytime, anywhere, without worrying about having to get to a save point. This made it perfect for me to take to work and play in my boredom of a job-- whenever you hear the boss coming just suspend the data and turn off your DS leaving no evidence that you ever playing at all... Now that's my kind of game.

Aside from being portable the game offered some features that were new to castlevania; namely the team feature that I found to be great for a while but found myself focusing more on using Jonathan a lot more than Charlotte because of how the leveling system was set up. Seeing as how both your characters share the same experience, health and mp (besides the fact that your team mates health "is" the mp bar) you don't need to work on leveling each individual character to keep their levels even. One of the tedious parts of the game for an elitist was the sub-weapon system. Now, I'm usually not super thorough in the games I play... you know- getting everything little thing no matter how obscure, maxing out my levels and stats, maxing out my money, the list goes on and on.. Yet, in this game I somehow found myself drawn to try to get everything. I just didn't get the feeling I fully completed the game without doing all that stuff... This is where the sub-weapon system becomes a bit tedious. Most the sub-weapons can be mastered at "1000". This 1000 stands for enemies killed. Now I'm not saying this is hard at all, but is a very heavy undertaking... You can cut down on some of the grind if you find a good location to grind and have the master ring. Mastering all the sub-weapons again would be like you asking me to play Final Fantasy VIII two times in a row (not exactly, but you get the point). One of the other great features (again new to the series) was the Wi-Fi feature, and unlike a few other DS titles took a better approach. A few of the DS games like "Contact" only allow Wi-Fi between people on your friend list. The difference is you can and will be matched to someone from around the globe regardless of friend status.

All in all this is a must play for the DS AND the series.