Rinse. Wash. Repeat. Castlevania has slipped into a familiar formula on Nintendo's handhelds. As such, Portrait of Ruin doesn't stray far from its forebears' blueprints, but it does lose the gimmicky annoyances found in Dawn of Sorrow in favor of an effective, albeit underused team mechanic.
You want refined? Check out Portrait of Ruin.
- Game Informer (90/100) - "Putting two characters in the player's hands proves to be an ingenious way of expanding on Castlevania's bread-and-butter action ... The exceedingly minor irritation of reused environments is the only negative comment that I have about Portrait of Ruin ... this will quickly become one of the most-beloved titles in your DS library."
- IGN (89/100) - "The amount of times the two characters will need to partner together can be counted on two hands ... This two-character idea is a neat new way of presenting the Castlevania experience, but it's not explored as deeply as it should ... Even though the sequel's doesn't offer as strong an original design as the initial DS game, it's still immensely fun with a lot of legs thanks to multiple endings, additional unlockable characters, and a focus on multiplayer".
- GameSpot (83/100) - "It doesn't mess too much with the formula, but the changes it implements are good ones ... The partner mechanic works well, and it's remarkably easy and intuitive to control two characters at once ... [but you] can finish Portrait of Ruin in four or five hours on your first try".