With the release of all kinds of Konami-created Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin bonus art on the Japanese site, it becomes clear that the horribly-rendered official packaging and promotional illustrations (which made the hero look like some sort of amateurish Full Metal Alchemist reject battling a pimptacular Gollum) were a carefully-calculated plan to make the game fail. And that’s just not cool. It’s a fine game, even if the second half is a bit of a mess, but why would they possibly use horrible kids-anime art to sell the game when someone on staff is capable of rendering work like this?
Honestly, Konami. Sometimes you bewilder me.
Speaking of Portrait, I’m replaying the game in fits and starts, which I think may be the best approach for this particular chapter of the series. It all turns into a big homogenous blur when I play for more than 30 minutes at a time, but the “train ride home” approach makes it downright effervescent. I’m taking the most obsessive-compulsive approach possible, backtracking constantly, warping out of levels as soon as I acquire a skill that unlocks sections of other stages, grinding foes until I get their drops, that sort of thing. Currently my clock is at ten hours and I still have three more portraits to clear, if that tells you anything.
I’ve also been doing pretty much the same thing with everything I play in my spare time. I finished up FFV Advance over the weekend — well, “finished” in the sense that I walloped the final boss, not that I’ve completed the bonus content. I had 40 hours on the clock when I finally faced off against Neo Exdeath, which I think may in fact have been too much. I managed to crush him with a party that included no Freelancer-class fighters but did contain a Ranger, of all things. That’s probably a sign that my party was a bit overleveled.
I’m not the sort of person who does hyper-obsessive things, like “complete Final Fantasy Tactics with a party of all white mages” or “beat all the dungeons for every piece of gear in Disgaea 2” or whatever. I blame my steady diet of reviews, which forces me to rush through things at breakneck speed. I guess I’m exerting my free will be taking way too much time and being way too fixated on the mundane. Lord help me, I just know I’m gonna go after Yiazmat once I get to the end of FFXII. And the only way to go after that is downward into a never-ending spiral of lifeless fixation.
(In other words: MMOs, here I come.)
P.S., I’ve reviewed Twilight Princess for GameCube. I don’t want to give anything away, but I hear it’s pretty good.