While we here at Operation Rainfall love covering the latest in gaming news and sharing our reviews of titles new and classic, we also just enjoy playing games in our downtime. So with that, sit back, relax, and check out what the oprainfall gaming crew have been up to this week!

Castlevania – Portrait of Ruin

Since my last contribution to our Week in Gaming post, I played and completed Castlevania – Portrait of Ruin. One of my favorites of the series, this plays and feels like a true Metroidvania without forcing tacked-on controls or stylus-based play mechanics the way they were with Dawn of Sorrow.

Castlevania - Portrait of Ruin | Intro

For the uninitiated, Portrait of Ruin follows vampire hunter Jonathan Morris and his friend the talented witch Charlotte Aulin, as they investigate the appearance of Dracula’s castle. A vampire by the name of Brauner has taken over the keep, channeling Dracula’s and the castle’s powers for himself through the use of his magic paintings. Having suffered a tremendous family loss during World War I, Brauner intends to use these powers to remake the world, again engulfed in a world war, to end all strife and finally create a peaceful existence for himself and his daughters.

Before starting it, I distinctly remember being upset with the art direction, as they did not opt for Ayami Kojima’s talents, instead adopting a more common anime style. Anyway, soon after, I noticed that the game itself still looks great, combining detailed 2D sprites with the use of 3D backgrounds throughout. The soundtrack has several real bangers, too, with remixed classic tracks and new music composed just for this title.

Castlevania - Portrait of Ruin | 1st Boss

The gameplay is still fun, though I encountered the weird difficulty curves I remembered from previous playthoughs. I felt like I would swing from underpowered to overpowered, back to underpowered in spurts. I also did not entirely enjoy the game’s quest system, as so many quests are only complete-able or even available towards the end of the game. Being a completionist, I, of course, mulled through them all. I also did something I hadn’t done in previous playthroughs: I never powered-up Vampire Killer. I, instead, opted to complete the game using alternate weapons and a heavy reliance on Charlotte’s magic. Especially using Charlotte more than I ever did previously, I think this ended up being my most enjoyed playthrough. And so, flaws aside, I had fun re-experiencing this chapter in Castlevania. – Drew D.

I started the week by finishing off The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky the 3rd. I really enjoyed this entry in the series and I learned a lot about all of the characters involved, especially Renne. I knew she had some bad stuff happen to her, but I had no idea how messed up it really was. No wonder she is a bit crazy and lays everyone that gets in her way to waste. Anyways, I’m looking forward to seeing her more as I play through the rest of this franchise.

After that I started Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero. I was pretty excited to see a new region in this world, and Crossbell doesn’t disappoint so far. The cast of characters here is great. Lloyd is a bit of cheesy guy, but he is very likable. The deadpan Tio basically stole my heart from the beginning and I can see why she is so popular among the fans. I can’t wait to see more of the antics from this crew and where this adventure leads me. – Steve

FFXIV Dawntrail | oprainfall gaming

My whole week has been solely dedicated to getting through Final Fantasy XIV’s latest expansion, Dawntrail. After the universe-ending stakes of Endwalker, it’s been nice taking a detour and helping out Wuk Lamat and company on an entirely new continent. I’ll have a fuller review ready later, but so far I’ve really enjoyed this expansion. Wuk Lamat is a great character, and spending more time with Erenville and Krile is never a negative. XIV has always excelled at world building, and getting to see a new region and people’s for the first time, and building up their political and cultural structures, has been such a joy to experience. The music as well has been phenomenal, with Soken pulling out all the stops to bring forth newer styles with varied instruments that really fit the tone and messaging of this expansion. I’ve also been having a blast with the fights and dungeons. This has been an all around enjoyable time and I am so excited for when Arcadion drops in a couple weeks. – Leah

What games have you been playing this week? Let us know in the comments!

You can read previous Week in Gaming entries here!

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