Dawn of Sorrow had the Tactical Soul System; Portrait opts for a skill-based power-up method that rewards you for using weapons in battle. Throw more knives, they become more powerful over time. Once mastered, each weapon changes slightly in appearance and really starts dealing some damage. The added cosmetic boost not only makes mastering weapons fun, but also lets you slay even more monsters with cooler-looking weapons. Case in point: the knife, one of the first weapons you obtain. Instead of tossing two, you're now hurling three of them for a boatload of hurt.
Above: Mastering certain weapons will grant you an updated, insider arsenal
One of our faves was the javelin - Wind upgrades the javelin to Alucard's Spear, a totally kick-ass weapon Jonathan can wield. Its attack power is greater than the Vampire Killer and, as another bonus, happens to be the same spear Eric Lecarde uses in Portrait's predecessor, Bloodlines. Importing gamers will note that a similar weapon appears in the Sega Saturn version of Symphony of the Night. Again, top-notch fan service.