Since Castlevania hit the Game Boy Advance just after the system's launch, it's been nothing but pure gold. Even Harmony of Dissonance, which is considered to be the weakest of the series, is still an amazing package that does the series justice. But while the GBA titles were great games, Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow for DS is the only one that, in this reporter's opinion, comes close to the pinnacle side-scrolling adventure game Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. In fact, it's the pursuit of dethroning what is considered by many to be one of the world's greatest games - my personal favorite - that keeps the Castlevania series reaching to such heights, as we see it again in Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin.

Whether or not this is will be your first Castlevania game or not, Portrait of Ruin is destined for greatness. Spring-boarding off the previous DS adventure, Portrait of Ruin again combines the now legendary gameplay that brought the Castlevania series into the next generation. Rather than sticking with level-based gameplay that was (despite the pun), very two-dimensional, Konami gave new life to the series by adding in a very balanced level up structure, free-roaming environments that feature some of the best adventure level design since Super Metroid, and a ton of diversity in gameplay. If a player wanted to go through the whole game bare knuckled, they could. If they wanted to focus on magic rather than steel, it was an option. The Castlevania series has morphed into the definitive "go anywhere, do anything" 2D series, and it's secured its place in history for it. Portrait of Run is no different from its predecessors, though it brings a different kind of variety to the table altogether

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