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If I only buy one Castelvania game on the DS it should be..

Alistair HuttonAlistair Hutton DrEdinburghRegistered User regular
edited June 2007 in Games and Technology
I would like to play a Castelvania game, the DS games seems as good as place as any as I loves me some DS.

Should I get "Dawn of Sorrow" or "Portrait of Ruin"?

I tried to determine this myself using the power of game reviews but it seems that reviewers use the uniquly self-refferential unit of Castlevanianess to measure the games. e.g PoR has 1.9 times as much Castlevanianess combat , DoS has 7.3 units of non-linear Castlevanianess and so on and so on. Please could you refrain from comparing the games to other Castlevanias when recommending one to me.

I am a gamer, I like turn based strategy, FPS games like battlefield, and some CRPGs. I do not like aimless wandering, excessive grinding or WTF? item combinationing to solve problems.

Alistair Hutton on
I have a thoughtful and infrequently updated blog about games http://whatithinkaboutwhenithinkaboutgames.wordpress.com/

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Posts

  • SisterRaySisterRay Registered User
    edited June 2007
    Dawn of Sorrow as a bit more open ended and offers a greater degree of customization. If you want to plow through the game you can but if you want to explore a bit, you'll discover a very rich rpg-like system of upgrades and spells.

    They're both great games, but I'd go with DoS.

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  • yalborapyalborap Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    They're both awesome games. Portrait of Ruin hovers closer to classic Castlevania style gameplay, but only roughly, whereas Dawn of Sorrow(and the game it is a sequel to, Aria of Sorrow) uses distinctly different mechanics.

    However, I will say this: If you like unlocking characters and playing a game over again with them, Portrait of Ruin has...Four distinct sets of characters, I think, whereas Dawn of Sorrow only has two.

    Do note, however, that these games are NOT like the oldest Castlevania titles. They are of a more recent breed, known as 'metroidvanias'. The classic ones are linear titles. Just so you know.

  • VashinVashin Registered User
    edited June 2007
    i have them both and i must say Dawn of Sorrow had me glued to my little screen for hours, while Portrait of Ruin's system left me wanting DoS's combat system.

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  • Vincent GraysonVincent Grayson Frederick, MDRegistered User regular
    edited June 2007
    I prefer PoR, because the stylus stuff in DoS was fucking stupid.

  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    Portrait of Ruin was excellent and Dawn of Sorrow was good, but bored me. I had no real desire to bother with the extra endings in Dawn of Sorrow. And as VG said, the stylus stuff? Fucking stupid.

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  • Alfred J. KwakAlfred J. Kwak Registered User
    edited June 2007
    I am a gamer, I like turn based strategy, FPS games like battlefield, and some CRPGs. I do not like aimless wandering, excessive grinding or WTF? item combinationing to solve problems.

    Isn't this what the Metroidvania-style games are all about?

  • MooreningMoorening Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    I love the "metroidvania" styles of games. My preference is on DoS though (even with the stupid stylus stuff). I played through it several times with the main character and the second set of characters. I loved the soul collecting and the weapon synthing of it all. PoR is great, but I didn't have the same urge to complete it with everything (I still need to finish it for the first time). I liked how you could connect with other people via wifi and buy and sell equipment. The whole quest thing with Wind was pretty cool too, but it just wasn't enough to get me to finish it all before moving on to another game.

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  • CaswynbenCaswynben Registered User
    edited June 2007
    Dawn of Sorrow was much, much better than Portrait of Ruin. PoR is wayyy too short and easy. Plus, Dawn of Sorrow is readily available now for 20 bucks wherever you find DS games.

  • CherrnCherrn Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    I didn't care for Portrait of Ruin. I thought it was gimmicky, the music forgettable, and the level design was really subpar - I don't think the "return to classic CV style" is quite accurate. Yes, it's level based, but it's still just Metroidvania moved to another map. DoS felt a lot more solid, but it's the second part of a story if you care about that (and you shouldn't, because the story is terrible) - the final boss is also a lot cooler.

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  • UncleSporkyUncleSporky Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    Dang, this thread is really polarized.

    I enjoyed PoR more and I think it does have more unique content going for it - you go into paintings which act as different worlds, so there's a pyramid and a bizarre carnival rather than "the basement/caves" and "hallway #6."

    And as you said, you don't like aimless wandering, which PoR is good for because it's a bit more linear (but not boringly so), and you don't like excessive grinding, which is sometimes the only option in DoS because the bosses are nasty.

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  • ShadowfireShadowfire Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    Dang, this thread is really polarized.

    I enjoyed PoR more and I think it does have more unique content going for it - you go into paintings which act as different worlds, so there's a pyramid and a bizarre carnival rather than "the basement/caves" and "hallway #6."

    And as you said, you don't like aimless wandering, which PoR is good for because it's a bit more linear (but not boringly so), and you don't like excessive grinding, which is sometimes the only option in DoS because the bosses are nasty.

    Also, getting some souls requires way too much grinding... killing a critter for nearly an hour to get his soul? Yea, not as much fun.

    Both games will serve you well, but if you don't like wandering, I'd shoot for PoR.

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  • LlyranorLlyranor Registered User
    edited June 2007
    DISCLAIMER: I wasn't a Castlevania fan until I played these two games. Now I am.

    My first real Castlevania was Dawn of Sorrow (though I did play Symphony of the Night a bit beforehand, I just couldn't get into it - must have been the mindset), and my second was Portrait of Ruin. I love them both.

    I've heard complaints that Dawn of Sorrow was too similar to previous Metroidvania games, especially its GBA predecessor. This didn't affect me one bit, so my enjoyment of the game was untouched. I really really loved this. This was my favorite DS game for a long while and singlehandedly made me a fan of the series. I enjoyed the level design. It takes place entirely in a castle, with some nonlinear aspects to exploration. As you defeat some bosses and gain new ability, you unlock access to new areas of the castle. I didn't find there was much backtracking (unless you're used to COMPLETELY linear games), and there are also teleporting stones throughout the castle for quick travelling.

    I would say that there really isn't any grinding to do (ie. I did virtually *none*) unless you WANT to. The game's soul system is that, by defeating enemies (every different enemy has a different souls), you can gain some soul powers. Some of them are equipped 'items' (eg. increase strength, improved throwing range, etc), some are on/off abilities (floating, turning into a bat, etc), and some are one-time abilities (lightning attack, teleporting, etc). Some of the souls are stackable, eg. you can earn high levels by earning multiple souls from the same enemy. If you're the type of gamer that likes to collect everything, there's a lot to do. I certainly didn't do any collecting. I just went through the game, killing enemies as appropriate (rather than hunting them down and killing over and over until I obtained some souls), and getting souls here and there. A JRPG analogy would be that I just went through the game with as few random encounters as possible - not AVOIDING them, but not LOOKING for them - without level-grinding. I found the game to be a decent challenge, and I did die a good amount of times. The bosses were really the highlight of the game. I thoroughly enjoyed fighting them. Some of them, especially some of the later ones, had me dying over and over again. Maybe because I didn't grind, but all the better. There were many instances where I had to rethink my tactics, switching equipped souls around, and experimented with multiple ways to take down the boss. I find that the soul system really made the game a whole lot more fun, even if you don't grind for it. I won't spoil any of it, but bottom line - if you like boss battles, you will like them here.

    The game has three endings. I enjoyed them. Though you can easily get the worst ending, reload, get the medium ending, reload and get the best ending without having to restart a new game. Depending on the ending you get, you can unlock a few features. One of them is hard mode. Using your previous save file, you just go through the game in a harder difficulty, but retaining all your previous souls. I haven't actually gone through this mode yet. Another feature is boss rush, where you use your save file character to go fight all the bosses in the game in rapid succession and try to get the fastest time. Good fun. The best new mode is ****** mode, where you get access to three new characters (whom you can switch around on the fly, as they have different abilities). It plays completely different than with Soma (the usual protagonist), and you also get a new final boss. I really enjoyed this mode too.

    Now, on to Portrait of Ruin. The castle design here wasn't as good. There was less exploration to do. It wasn't the main focus of the game, though. Through the castle are multiple portraits. Each one is a different area (eg. desert, old town, etc). The levels are more linear when compared to DoS, but I think the point was somewhat of a return to the series' platforming roots. The game gets dissed for having 'poor level design'. While I agree that it wasn't as good overall as DoS, it certainly wasn't *bad*. I liked going through the various areas.

    The new dual character system in PoR I really enjoyed. You have two characters in your arsenal, whom you can switch around on the fly. One if focused on melee, and has some attack-focused abilities (thrown weapons and the like), whereas the other is magic-focused, casting various spells (casting tornados, icicles, etc). You find the new abilities/spells by killing enemies (again, you can grind this, or you can not - I did not). There are also dual-character spells, which are powerful spells that usually affect the whole screen and use both characters, but cost a lot of 'mana'. You also have the option of choosing to have your second character on the screen at the same time as you, and s/he will follow you around, attacking as appropriate. You can also order it to cast abilities/spells with a quick button press. If s/he gets hit, you lose 'mana' instead of hp ('mana' regenerates). I found this dual character system to be a very good addition to the game, and a good change from the soul system.

    Boss battles in this game are also topnotch. I can't say which ones were harder - I did die a lot in both of them. This game also has multiple endings (I've found two so far, maybe there are more). You can unlock boss rush mode (which you can also play coop ONLINE this time, but this is a fairly small feature in the game) and hard mode. There are also 3 new character modes. One is more traditional akin to the new character mode in DoS, the second one is focused in stylus controls, and the third is a surprise.

    Music is great in both games. In terms of which one was longer, I think PoR was a little longer. They both took me less than 10 hrs to complete, but both have good lasting values, especially thanks to the new modes. Honestly, I wouldn't recommend you just play one game. What I would do is get Dawn of Sorrow since it's now cheap (I've seen it being on sales for 20 bucks at times). Play it and see how much you enjoy it. If you do, there really isn't any reason to not get Portrait of Ruin (or wait until it drops in price too). Arbitrarily deciding now to get just one at this point will just be a case of you missing out, especially if you end up really enjoying the game you choose.

  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    They are the same yet different. More apples and pears than chalk and cheese.

    Personally I prefered Dawn but both were solid pieces of fruit.

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  • Alistair HuttonAlistair Hutton Dr EdinburghRegistered User regular
    edited June 2007
    Llyranor wrote: »
    DISCLAIMER: I wasn't a Castlevania fan until I played these two games. Now I am.

    My first real Castlevania was Dawn of Sorrow (though I did play Symphony of the Night a bit beforehand, I just couldn't get into it - must have been the mindset), and my second was Portrait of Ruin. I love them both.

    Your post was made of awesome win and other such things. Exactly what I as looknig for.

    I have a thoughtful and infrequently updated blog about games http://whatithinkaboutwhenithinkaboutgames.wordpress.com/

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  • DarlanDarlan Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    I'd recommend Circle of the Moon or Aria of Sorrow over either DS one, but really they're all good games.

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  • ChenChen Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    DoS is more varied, but I find the weapon customization absolute bull.

    The story in PoR is really, really weak. Like, really. On the up side, whips!

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  • SirUltimosSirUltimos Don't talk, Rusty. Just paint. Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    They're both good, but I personally found DoS to be the better game.

  • MashalotMashalot Registered User
    edited June 2007
    I way preferred PoR. Partially cause DoS was too same-y for me after the 1st three GBA iterations.

    I felt like I kind of had to slog through DoS & I wasn't at all interested in 100% it... PoR I couldn't stop playing, I had to do everything. PoR has some bullshit stages that are just re-tooled versions of stages earlier in the game, which is lame, but I still like it better.

    And DoS had that terrible, terrible, touch screen seal shit. Which wasn't usually hard but was pretty stupid. Basically to beat bosses you had to get their health down then draw a seal, if you fucked up they re-animated with some health regained.

    There are some pretty creative unlockables in PoR, too.

    And to keep it from being a money grindfest there's a cheat that can net you basically as much scratch as you want without a lot of hassle.

    Or you could go with one of the GBA versions.

  • ZackSchillingZackSchilling Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    Dawn of Sorrow is the better game, even with the silly gimmick seal drawing. The soul system and weapon synthesis is so much cooler than the way things are presented in Portrait. The level design is so much better too. The castle is very huge and coherent. Portrait had excellent graphics sometimes and lazy, terrible graphics other times. Dawn was consistently good. In Dawn, the difficulty level slowly ramped up and though the first few bosses were really easy, the game was a real challenge later on. Portrait had some easy first bosses, moderate middle bosses, and absolutely pathetic ending bosses. Grab a few tonics, spam some team magic super moves and they're dead in under a minute. You didn't even break a sweat. Yes, this even works on Dracula.

    It might not be all that common of an experience, but I've found Portrait to be buggy as well. It has frozen on me twice and I've found a few actual glitches, one of which is totally game-breaking if you follow through with it (Infinite quest rewards from Wind, use to max out your HP, MP, and money early in the game).

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