• Publisher: Konami
  • Release Date: Dec 5, 2006
User Score
8.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 95 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 74 out of 95
  2. Negative: 4 out of 95
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  1. Jan 22, 2015
    10
    Castlevania Portrait of Ruin in my Opinion is the best Metroidvania I've ever played. First off the music is some of the best in the entire series with fantastic remixes of songs like Cross your Heart(known as crucifix held close in the game), Iron Blue intention and Simon's Theme. They also have great original pieces like Invitation of a Crazed moon, Gaze up at the Darkness, The HiddenCastlevania Portrait of Ruin in my Opinion is the best Metroidvania I've ever played. First off the music is some of the best in the entire series with fantastic remixes of songs like Cross your Heart(known as crucifix held close in the game), Iron Blue intention and Simon's Theme. They also have great original pieces like Invitation of a Crazed moon, Gaze up at the Darkness, The Hidden Curse, and Jail of jewles. Even though this is not my favorite Castlevania soundtrack its pretty up there.

    Now that I've established the soundtrack but now let's dive into the gameplay. Now since this is a Metroidvania so there is a lot of familiar territory but there are some welcome changes . First off Side quests, for the first time ever you can undertake special tasks in different areas of Portrait of Ruin to get a stat boost, money, a new and powerful item or weapon ETC.. These range from punching butcher's meat, to entering button combos, or mastering a skill. Each new quest has a different fun and uniqe maybe a little difficult task. Unlike Order of Ecclesia most of these tasks are not endless Grind-fests and boring fetch quests and they feel more rewarding as you go on completing them. Now the core gameplay of explore the castle kill enemies collect relics, armor , weapons and leveling up hasn't changed much. Except now you have two chracters to play as that you can switch freely between them at anytime. They each have their own weapons armor and accseories. You can also obtain crush attacks that sap your mp like nothing else but they deal a lot of damage. All these things accounted for this game is actually not very easy especially towards the end. Thankfully unlike games like Harmony of Dissonnance and SOTH this game does get harder and thats a good thing.

    Overall after you beat the game you unlock 2 other sets of chracters a hard mode with 3 sub difficulties and a boss-rush mode. SO all in all for what ever you can find this game at its a really good deal. I will say there is a boss later on that will make you ooze with nostalgia if your a long running fan and its one tough cookie so be ready. But besides that Portrait of ruin is filled with content with 10 maps to cover, a boss rush mode, a total of 5 difficulties, and 3 sets of chracters to play as your gonna be here for a while.
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  2. JakeS.
    Jan 2, 2007
    10
    Fantastic! I got bored with DoS, but I can't stop playing PoR. The dual characters are fantastic. Controls excellent. Story not invasive. Big, and well-done. Gameplay is fun.
  3. ShaneS.
    Feb 12, 2007
    10
    (9.7 actually) Well I'm ashamed to say that this is my first Castlevania game. I was a Sega kid growing up and the DS is my first handheld. But anyway Castlevania PoR is a classic sidescroller type action game with RPG elements mixed in. There are two different characters in this game a female magician and a male warrior. The warrior uses weapons of all types, and can don three types (9.7 actually) Well I'm ashamed to say that this is my first Castlevania game. I was a Sega kid growing up and the DS is my first handheld. But anyway Castlevania PoR is a classic sidescroller type action game with RPG elements mixed in. There are two different characters in this game a female magician and a male warrior. The warrior uses weapons of all types, and can don three types of armor that modify his stats differently. Heavy armor makes him resistant to physical attacks but weak agianst magic. Ninja gear makes his attack rating go up, but easily killed by all attack types, and magic gear turns him into a cross between the magician and the warrior. The magician also has three general armor types. Magician gear makes her heavily resistant to magical attacks and gives her a boost in magic power. Dancer gear makes her "lucky" and get a lot of critical hits along with slightly higher attack ratings. Heavy gear makes her a cross between the two characters. There's also tons of special gear in the game with unique effects. In the game you have a magic meter that you use to either do special moves with the warrior, or cast spells with the magician. Most of the special moves with the warrior are throwable weapons of some sort. The more you use a specific special move the stronger it gets, until you eventually become a master in said skill. The spells range from damage of all types (fire, frost, shock, poison etc.) to protection spells, transformation spells, and healing spells. There are also "super moves" that you can use and deplete a lot of magic in the process. In Castlevania PoR there are hundreds of different enemies, and each one occasionally drops a unique item upon death. There are about two different items per monster, and hundreds of items in the entire game. There are also different items hanging around in the different levels. You can buy or sell items with a shopkeep at the entrance to the castle as well. The shopkeeper has two items that cost a ton of money but make the game a bit easier and are essential to beating the game on hard mode. There's also a trainer which gives you quests. Upon completing a quest you are rewarded with a new item. Unfortunately most of these quests are too obscure and confusing to complete without a cheat guide. Different monsters are weak or strong against different attack types, so you'll want to switch weapons and attacks strategies a lot in this game. The main world of PoR is Dracula's castle, but there's also eight different painting worlds. The castle is four times bigger than the painting worlds and has six different bosses. Each painting world has it's own boss as well. The bosses are not to be trifled with. While not quite Ninja Gaiden hard, these bosses are extremely tough to beat, and well designed. Add all this up and you've got a game that'll take you about twenty hours the first time around. Add a boss rush mode, hard mode (ala RE4 where you keep all your previous money and gear), and the desire to collect every bit of loot, and you've got a game that should keep you satisfied for weeks. A lot of reviewers bash Castlevania for just being a photocopy of the last incarnation. I guess there's almost as many Castlevania games out there as there are Final Fantasy games. Don't let that fool you though. This game is really a AAA title and one of the best DS games since Advance Wars Dual Strike. Expand
  4. MarkV.
    Mar 21, 2007
    10
    FANTASTIC! Despite being not quite as good as DoS, this is still one of the best games for the DS. If you own a DS and like 2D adventures or action RPGs, you MUST buy this game. Thank me later.
  5. Aug 21, 2014
    10
    I believe in all rights this is one of the best Castlevania I've ever played, and I've played just about every one of them. (This includes Castlevania 64.) As far as the level designs go it's pretty much Castlevania. Some areas with tons of floating platforms and a segment that always has giant turning cogs. This of course isn't a problem as it just feels like a Castlevania. (Much unlikeI believe in all rights this is one of the best Castlevania I've ever played, and I've played just about every one of them. (This includes Castlevania 64.) As far as the level designs go it's pretty much Castlevania. Some areas with tons of floating platforms and a segment that always has giant turning cogs. This of course isn't a problem as it just feels like a Castlevania. (Much unlike Lord of Shadows which feels like a God of War wanna-be.)

    The two main roles of the game, Jonathan and Charlotte are both interesting characters who play off of one another. Like Charlotte's way of playfully nagging at Jonathan or his insecurity that she helps him with. Charlotte has an adorable way to point out his flaws, and he has an adorable way to point out the horribly obvious. I believe that these two characters are better fleshed out then most Castlevania characters who just kind of waltz around and smack things with a whip in a silent stupor.

    As far as the story goes it breaks away from the generic Castlevania storyline which is nice to see. The main protagonist for the longest duration of the game (Brauner) has entirely different goals then most other enemies. (Who are not Dracula.) Of course for the sake of not spoiling anything I'll refrain from going any further. It was just nice and refreshing to see a new idea for Castlevania instead of some cult raising Dracula. Or some cultist priest raising Dracula. Or some other cult derived from the past cult of cultists who worship a cult of resurrecting Dracula. (See the pattern?) Pretty much...there is no cult.

    Then we boil it all down to the gameplay. Switching between Charlotte and Jonathan is a nice addition. Charlotte's spells make grinding for items much quicker, and everyone who's played Castlevania will be grinding for items. As for Jonathan he's the man you use for the boards you'll be traveling to. Then you switch back to Charlotte to annihilate the bosses. All in all, it's not a gimmick but a new way to play your Castlevania. In the end...the gameplay is pretty much Castlevania. Before it got bad of course. (Insert lame God of War wanna-be title here with giant roided out meathead as the protagonist.)

    So, with that said...if you like Castlevania, if you like interesting plots, if you like engaging characters, and if you like that good old Castlevania soundtrack then this is the game for you. If you own a DS you should definitely get this title. Also, I forgot to mention but the sprites look very nice as well. Pretty game for the DS.

    If you like mashing the square button a hundred times without having to worry about dying...then I feel for you.
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  6. ThomasM.
    Dec 8, 2006
    10
    Improves on all aspects of design from Dawn of Sorrow, which itself is one of the best Castlevanias. The dual-character system works wonderfully, and opens up the inventory/spells to lots more usage. The enemies (especially bosses) all have charming animations and flashy attacks. The size of Dracula's castle seems ordinary until you realize each painting is its own world...then the Improves on all aspects of design from Dawn of Sorrow, which itself is one of the best Castlevanias. The dual-character system works wonderfully, and opens up the inventory/spells to lots more usage. The enemies (especially bosses) all have charming animations and flashy attacks. The size of Dracula's castle seems ordinary until you realize each painting is its own world...then the game is huge (progress is measured in hundreds of percentage points). Just the right mix of challenge and fun. Expand
  7. Will
    Dec 18, 2006
    8
    The gameplay is excellent. But several aspects of the game seem a bit unpolished.
  8. Mitch
    May 30, 2007
    9
    One of the best Castlevania games. A new level of perfection.
  9. TonyG.
    Nov 25, 2006
    10
    What did you expect, a lower score? This game is an instant classic. The new abilitys let you do so much more. The graphics are better than ever, and the story is definitely twisted. So far I can say it takes SOTN out of 1st place and I thought it was not possible. But over 10 years later and on a handheld! Castlevania fans this is a must buy game! For everyone else, it's a great What did you expect, a lower score? This game is an instant classic. The new abilitys let you do so much more. The graphics are better than ever, and the story is definitely twisted. So far I can say it takes SOTN out of 1st place and I thought it was not possible. But over 10 years later and on a handheld! Castlevania fans this is a must buy game! For everyone else, it's a great place to start. Thank you 1 million times over Konami. You made this castlevania fan the happiest ever! and 3 words of advice.....keep em coming. BRAVO! Expand
  10. KelvinT.
    Dec 5, 2006
    10
    Simply the best Castlevania experience to date! The dual character set-up is makes for some crazy-ass action, easily directed by your own nimble thumbs.
  11. ReviewKing
    Dec 27, 2006
    9
    Over all better than Dawn of Sorrow, for these reasons: 1. no more monotonous soul system 2. Overall higher fun factor, close to Symphony of the Night 3. More detailed graphics, more layers in the background 4. AWESOME music score, it won best DS music score at IGN 5. fun to level up your secondary weapons 6. bosses are much more challenging, you dont beat most on the first try like in Over all better than Dawn of Sorrow, for these reasons: 1. no more monotonous soul system 2. Overall higher fun factor, close to Symphony of the Night 3. More detailed graphics, more layers in the background 4. AWESOME music score, it won best DS music score at IGN 5. fun to level up your secondary weapons 6. bosses are much more challenging, you dont beat most on the first try like in Dawn of Sorrow 7. Numerous portraits lead to very large levels, making this the biggest Castlevania game ever. Now go buy it! Expand

Awards & Rankings

3
14
#14 Most Discussed DS Game of 2006
6
#6 Most Shared DS Game of 2006
Metascore
85

Generally favorable reviews - based on 51 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 47 out of 51
  2. Negative: 0 out of 51
  1. A game that stays true to the Castlevania series. [JPN Import]
  2. Nintendo Power
    90
    Portrait of Ruin provides a whole lot more of a very good thing, and Castlevania fans won't be disappointed with the results. [Jan. 2007, p.114]
  3. 90
    A game that not only reaffirms the series' greatness, but is easily once of the best handheld games released this year.