A few hours with “Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin”

Konami was gracious enough to send me “Portrait of Ruin” and “Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops” this week. As great as the urge was to slap in MGS like I was reloading a pistol, I started off the week with “Castlevania” … and I haven’t been able to put it down.

I’m siding with many of the critics on this one. The game isn’t innovative or different by any means — instead, it seems to concentrate on many of the design elements that made previous “Castlevania” installments fun to play. First off, it’s in 2D, which I think should always be the case with this franchise. However, it reminds me a lot of “Symphony of the Night” with its level design and ability to have the player stumble unprepared into a room housing a boss character (though in my experience, slowly opening doors should indicate BOSS. I’m blind.) In my case, it was a floating demon head that attached itself to a giant armored suit. Fun was had by all.

I really like how the game is handling the “buddy” system between the two characters. I like how the non-player character can do a bevy of other things aside from just standing there and attacking when you attack. They can help you push things, form up for combo attacks, help you jump higher — very nice co-op stuff.

This’ll probably be the one I review for next week. Then, it’s MGS. ‘Till then.