Bloodstained Ritual of the Night Review – Sucks Blood but not Quality
Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One
Publisher: 505 Games
Release: 18th June 2019
Kickstarter games trying to resurrect seemingly dead genres in the bigger market often disappointed. Until this day Mighty Number 9 is a landmark of how not to handle both your development and final product. As a result, many games have to face doubts by their backers and press. However, game designer and director Iga never doubted his project, always showing how much confidence he has in his Bloodstained as a follow-up to Castlevania, even releasing a rather provoking trailer before launch to show exactly that. And well, how right he was all along, so right I´m bringing bad pun titles back!
Taking over the role of Miriam, an orphan affected by a curse that turns her body into crystal. In order to save herself and the world that´s endangered by an onslaught of demons, she has to battle herself through the castle of her old friend Gebel. He didn´t only succumb to the curse but also became a puppet for the evil forces raging destruction over the world and it´s on Miriam to stop it all.
The true core
Another amazing system is the combat, consisting of dozens of combat styles itself. Instead of opting for 2-3 weapons or even 1, Iga and his team went all out and basically threw everything in here you could hope for. There´s the classic hip, Miriam´s own shoes, daggers, swords, shortswords, big swords, spears, all kinds of magic spells and quirky weapons. On top of that, every weapon type offers its own advantages and disadvantages, like the spear with its wide movement set in every direction and situation, while the dagger only has short thrusts that can barely hit but is a lot faster.
On top of that, every weapon has unique hidden skills you can discover by reading one of the many books scattered throughout the castle and can equip 1 passive boost, a trigger magic spell, different familiars that
So, Bloodstained has an already pretty great core movement and super diverse combat but without a true castle to explore and constantly get surprised by, all that would´ve been way less impressive. Luckily, Iga was actually one of the biggest factors in Castlevania´s creation and the mind behind many, many castles. Naturally, it shows. This castle doesn´t downplay itself by marketing itself as the biggest one created yet, featuring basically anything you could hope for. On the one hand, it constantly bombards you with new areas or biomes, there was never an hour where I didn´t discover 1 to 3 new big ones and getting wowed by them. There´s your typical garden, catacombs, luxurious castle sections but also a bit more playful ones like a rotating tower that offers a lot of verticality or even a clock area playing with its chains, gears and shortcuts.
On the other hand, every single area offers tons of shortcuts in itself, allowing for a really smooth traversion when backtracking is needed, but also has multiple connections to the general castle structure, even in wholly different areas. Every new ability or area opens up a handful of shortcuts to previously visited ones, making this castle feel like a giant, interconnected level, that´s simply fun and smart to explore for hours, as it´s packed with all of those moments. When I had 10 “Aha” moments in my first 3 hours, I knew I was in for a level design treat and Bloodstained doesn´t disappoint. All, while constantly maintaining a great pacing with downtimes, hard boss fights and huge levels, regularly passing each other by. Not to mention, every path rewards you with utensils and ingredients for crafting, cooking or for improving your weapons through forging.
Last but not least, the aspect which Bloodstained itself aggressively marketed itself with: The graphics and presentation, or rather, the overhauled one. Since
In conclusion, Bloodstained is pretty much what anyone has hoped for, a giant, beautifully crafted, amazing spritiual successor to Castlevania, restoring some confidence in Kickstarter once again. It´s bigger than I could have ever imagined and every fan of the genre should be pleased with this title without a doubt.
[A Review Code was provided by 505 Games]