Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night started out as a Kickstarter back in 2015. With the game development led by former Castlevania series producer Koji Igarashi, the project raised more than $5.5 million dollars from backers. Now, four years later, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is here for Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4.
Touted as the spiritual successor to the Castlevania series, fans like myself have high expectations from both Koji Igarashi and ArtPlay. Could Igarashi recreate the Castlevania magic once again after leaving Konami? Let’s take a look at this Metroidvania-styled game and see how it stacks up!
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night Details
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4 Pro
Publisher: 505 Games
Modes: Single player
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
A fight to save humanity and yourself
The game takes place in 19th century England during the Industrial Revolution. The Alchemy Guild, who have great influence and power over the wealthy, fear change that the Industrial Revolution brings. As a result, the Guild creates Shardbinders—humans that have been forced to be fused with demonically-charged crystals and are attuned to demon powers.
The Guild plans to sacrifice the Shardbinders in order to summon demons from Hell and spread fear amongst the wealthy. Though, things don’t quite as planned. Instead, the Guild is wiped out and so is much of England by these demons. That is, until the Church is able to banish them back to Hell.
10 years pass and we discover that Gebel, one of the sacrificed Shardbinders, has survived. In a plot to seek revenge, he has summoned demons to cause devastation and punish the surviving alchemists.
Miriam, a Shardbinder who mysteriously fell asleep before the sacrifice, suddenly wakes up and learns of Gebel’s evil plot. She sets out to find Gebel and put a stop to his plans. The game does a great job of pulling you into the story early on by not only offering an interesting story but also interesting characters. As a result, this made it very easy to slip right into the game and get vested in the story.
Classic gameplay with modern elements
If you’ve played previous Castlevania games such as Symphony of the Night or Order of Ecclesia, you’ll feel right at home with Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. You get a mix of old-school Castlevania mixed with a modern dose of action and exploration. And, this is all done in a massive demonic castle that is filled with hidden entrances and doors.
You assume the role of Miriam, who is a formidable foe. She has a variety of weapons to use such as daggers, whips, guns, maces, and swords. And, as a Shardbinder, Miriam has a variety of powers that you cultivate as you progress throughout the game. These certainly come in handy later on in the game.
Additionally, weapons can be enhanced by finding books throughout the world. Furthermore, as you collect the items dropped by enemies you can craft new items and food dishes that give you boosts. This is all in addition to the over 100 different shards that you can absorb throughout your journey. As a result, gameplay is versatile and there is a great amount of flexibility in this game that Castlevania and Metroidvania fans will be smiling from ear to ear.
Gorgeous visuals along with an astounding soundtrack
During the game’s development, various clips of the game in action where shown. While many fans were excited with gameplay, there was a strong opposition to the game’s visuals. Igarashi and ArtPlay heard these complaints and completely overhauled the visuals. They even went as far as making a trailer, as you can see below, showcasing these changes. Colours now pop and the character models and textures are higher quality.
Ritual of the Night’s music is composed by Michiru Yamane. Who just so happens to have been the composer of several Castlevania games. As expected, Yamane does an excellent job in delivering yet another brilliant soundtrack.
As fantastic of a game Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is, it does have its faults. Throughout my time with the game, I did experience some occasional slow down and some missing words in dialogue boxes. Nothing really that I would say will deter you from having fun with this game.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is exactly the type of game Castlevania fans have been waiting for
Although Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night spent a lengthy 4 years in development, it was well worth the wait. The game does an excellent job of combing classic Castlevania gameplay while also adding modern elements to it.
In addition, the game’s visuals and musical score are a perfect fit to the game. Aside from some performance issues, Ritual of the Night has everything that fans have been asking for. Let me know in the comments section below if you plan on picking up Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, or if you already own it.
+ Great mix of classic and modern gameplay
+ Huge castle to explore
+ Superb visuals and soundtrack
+ Fantastic character and boss designs
– Questionable performance issues
– Random typos in dialogue boxes
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF BLOODSTAINED: RITUAL OF THE NIGHT
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5
Overall Rating 4.4/5 (88%)
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I’m definitely interested in picking this up. I’d really like to pick up the Switch version, but I’ve heard some things about performance issues on that system. Have you played the Switch version at all? Can you confirm if any performance issues show up and how they affect your view of the game?
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