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

Generally favorable reviews- based on 74 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 64 out of 74
  2. Negative: 3 out of 74

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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. 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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  3. May 7, 2013
    5
    Portrait of ruin is a tonka truck wishing it were a big-rig. It looks, smells, and acts like Castlevania, but at the core it's simply a watered down adventure game derived from more successful ventures of the same franchise. The anime art direction undermines the serious Gothic overtones that should prevail in any Castlevania entry. The characters are surface level and cliche. There isPortrait of ruin is a tonka truck wishing it were a big-rig. It looks, smells, and acts like Castlevania, but at the core it's simply a watered down adventure game derived from more successful ventures of the same franchise. The anime art direction undermines the serious Gothic overtones that should prevail in any Castlevania entry. The characters are surface level and cliche. There is little to no innovation, nor are there any clever game play elements.

    Portrait is frustrating. Not in the sense of difficulty, or boss fights (both can be solved by simply gaining a few levels and trying again not much skill required there), but in that you find yourself meandering around lazy copy-and-paste environments filled with cheap challenges looking for the end of the dungeon so you can move on. Then, the game has the audacity to send you back through those levels on fetch quests for a fat, bald priest and a ghost with too much fashion sense.

    The game's redeeming factor, the boss encounters, save it from a score in the red, but it's not enough for me to recommend this title over others for the DS. The story is lame. The levels are lame. The action is decent. But then again, you can get incredible action, story, and levels with Order of Ecclesia, so go buy that instead.
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  4. Mar 6, 2012
    5
    At a distance Portrait of Ruin smells good. But when you give it a bite it isn't really that tasty.

    The Good: Great replay value since it's a long-lasting adventure (with many unlockables to go for besides a whole bunch of items); amazing soundtrack, well worthy of the tradition of Castlevania's melodies; good animation, especially in Dual Crush moves and in some boss battles. The Bad:
    At a distance Portrait of Ruin smells good. But when you give it a bite it isn't really that tasty.

    The Good: Great replay value since it's a long-lasting adventure (with many unlockables to go for besides a whole bunch of items); amazing soundtrack, well worthy of the tradition of Castlevania's melodies; good animation, especially in Dual Crush moves and in some boss battles.

    The Bad: Replay value is all based on doing the same things over and over; stupid dialogue, and story/plot running faster than it should; stretched rooms just to make a bigger castle.

    This new installment in the Castlevania series has the right ingredients: two different characters to switch between or to play together, a huge map to explore, many--really, many--items to get, relics to collect, side quests to solve, skills to learn and master, a superb soundtrack, and good animation/voice acting. So, after all, what's wrong with PoR? The problem is that under all this stuff rests buried a lazy production.

    The main question is about the replay value. OK, it may last for weeks or months, but what for? By unlocking some features you can play with other characters and under new difficult levelsâ
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  5. Oct 4, 2011
    6
    It's OK, but nothing special. Too short and kind of unimaginative. The story is incredibly boring and uninteresting, so it all comes down to the gameplay and level designs. They're OK but even after 10 hours I found myself thinking "OK, when is this going to get fun?" The dual character thing feels like a gimmick, I used Charlotte about three times and played as Jonathan the rest of the time.
  6. Mitch
    May 30, 2007
    9
    One of the best Castlevania games. A new level of perfection.
  7. AndrewG.
    Apr 2, 2007
    7
    I have never played a Castlevania game before, so I was pretty excited to play this. Honestly though, it's not really that fun. Perhaps I'm just not a faction of the action genre (i.e. I hated the Marvel Ultimate Alliance game on the Wii, etc.). I think POR would have been much much better if a coop option was available in the story mode. I also would have liked it better if the I have never played a Castlevania game before, so I was pretty excited to play this. Honestly though, it's not really that fun. Perhaps I'm just not a faction of the action genre (i.e. I hated the Marvel Ultimate Alliance game on the Wii, etc.). I think POR would have been much much better if a coop option was available in the story mode. I also would have liked it better if the ending for the normal mode weren't so lame. I played through one of the extras as well, and it wasn't really worth it (and still didn't explain more of the story). The other problem I had was with the difficulty level. Normal is way too easy, and Hard is a little too hard for me. Even so, I did complete the game (twice, if you count one of the extra modes), and there's a strangely addictive quality to it. Recommended for fans of the action genre. Expand
  8. TracyC.
    Mar 28, 2007
    6
    I was a fan of the way old school Castlevania games and decided to pick this up for my DS. It lasted about 10 hours or less before I finally admitted to myself it was boring. I just did not enjoy it and it did not pull me in.
  9. 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.
  10. 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
  11. 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.
  12. 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
  13. Will
    Dec 18, 2006
    8
    The gameplay is excellent. But several aspects of the game seem a bit unpolished.
  14. NateB.
    Dec 11, 2006
    6
    An okay and challenging Castlevania that comes up short in a few really annoying ways. 1) the dual character mode isn't implimented nearly as well as it could've been. There's a very low rate of puzzles and abilities that utilize this new feature. 2) the quest mode can be really frustrating. Sometimes you'll need an item that you have previously sold and can't get An okay and challenging Castlevania that comes up short in a few really annoying ways. 1) the dual character mode isn't implimented nearly as well as it could've been. There's a very low rate of puzzles and abilities that utilize this new feature. 2) the quest mode can be really frustrating. Sometimes you'll need an item that you have previously sold and can't get back unless you know someone selling it on the WFC shop mode or start the game over. They should've made any quest releated items non-sellable, or allow you to complete the quest even if you do sell them. Also, you can take on 5 quests at a time max, so if you have that quest and can't complete it, you're just stuck and can't pick up any new ones. 3) Selling items is a huge pain, as you are forced to keep one item of everything to prevent the above mentioned quest problem. Even if you did want to sell a bunch of stuff, it doesn't remove your equiped gear from the "to sell" list, nor put an E or anything next to it, so you may accidently sell your equipment if you're not paying attention. 4) Way too many enemies (and bosses) are reused...again 5) The story is really comedy/anime driven and this proves to be a major distraction and seems very out of place given the timeframe of the game (WW2). 6) Promise of co-op play is only limited to boss rush mode. 7) 95% of the items and abilities are worthless or just clones of one another. 8) Re-used stages (or similar looking levels) within the game. You'd think the portraits would bring in some new variety, but the only really different type of level is the pyramid level. Most of the others just look like any other CV castle. While still playable and sometimes enjoyable, this game definitely is the worse CV title since Harmony of Dissonance. Some of the levels and all the new enemies are cool, and so is the dual character mode. But for the above mentioned reasons this game fails to live up to Castlevania's previous body of work. The biggest improvement in this game, though, is it's back to the Circle of the Moon difficulty level. Expand
  15. 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
  16. 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.
  17. 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
  18. Oct 4, 2011
    0
    It's OK, but nothing special. Too short and kind of unimaginative. The story is incredibly boring and uninteresting, so it all comes down to the gameplay and level designs. They're OK but even after 10 hours I found myself thinking "OK, when is this going to get fun?" The dual character thing feels like a gimmick, I used Charlotte about three times and played as Jonathan the rest of the time.
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. 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.