Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night – PC Review

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Genre: Action, Adventure, RPG
Developer: ArtPlay
Publisher: 505 Games
Release Date: Jun 18, 2019
Edited by Thorstag

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is the spiritual successor to the long-lasting Castlevania series and became one of the most supported videos games on Kickstarter. Part of the success and excitement around this game is the devs that worked on Castlevania also worked on this game. Unlike what happened with Mighty Number 9, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night delivers in what was being craved from many “Metroidvania” style games by the same developers that pushed and worked to better this style of game. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night focuses on the success Castlevania: Symphony of the Night‘s gameplay to bring something long waited and very welcomed to mine and other’s library of games.

You play as Miriam, a lady that has the power of demons from an experiment her and another went through a decade ago by rouge alchemists. You and your alchemist partner’s  mission is to journey into a demon-infested castle to take out the other individual that went through the experiment with Miriam. Along the way the demons you fight will grant you shards, these shards give you more abilities and increase in power as you gather more. All demons in the game provide a different ability drop, their own loot materials, and even gear. Bloodstained has many different damage and resistance types to mix, match, or change at will to counter demons you face. Both of these mixed together has led to different experiences then friends in terms of what our best abilities are or favorite weapons. You can farm for loot but just playing though not knowing much of the game you will have different experiences, and I can’t help but love that for replayability. It may seem complicated, but all upgrades and items you craft are ones you create from what you gather. Slowly expanding your arsenal as you adventure back and forth through the castle.

Those new to this style of game will have some trial and error, but long as you explore and look at at the map, you will have a great time as you slowly find passages to new places and hidden items. The array of weapons types and armor not only help counter what you are fighting but also tailor to playstyles you may enjoy more. While knives stab fast and straight, weapons like the great swords and whips have more arcs to them to be more friendly with jumping or exploit openings more. I found nothing but great balance and improvement as I played through, including finding items to change up my playstyle without losing the power I have gained. This improvement includes changes from being more of a melee player to being one that uses magic. With most item drops being able to upgrade or make a few items each, you will have more than enough to play around with. If I had to say anything bad of the gameplay is that those newer to “Metroidvania” games will seem overwhelmed at first with exploring and backtracking but that shouldn’t steer them away from this game. It also doesn’t help that the shortcut system is clunky, swapping abilities in the shortcut command can be annoying to the point you may ignore the system as a whole and just swap one ability as needed as the shortcut changes an entire loadout. You may find yourself having to update multiple loadouts too often.

Visually the game is amazing, and the animation is smooth with 3d renders even though it’s on a 2d playstyle. Throughout the game, I felt the art style and demons fit in with the environment and nothing seemed too out of place other than a few humorous demons like a large over-sized demonic house cat or deadly chairs. The music fit with each section of the game and was composed by Michiru Yamane who composed the music for Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. The humor and references to pop-culture and other games don’t take away from the Gothic experience the game provides and if anything just more so fleshes out Bloodstained‘s world more and leave the player unexpected to how some of the demons or crazy rooms in the castle will challenge the player. Placement of the obstacles where spot on with nothing pointing out to be “unfair” or seem too easy. With the talent making Bloodstained they even went further and got the voice acting for the characters spot on, also getting talent such as David Hayter who is most known for playing Solid Snake from the Metal Gear series is voicing an NPC of the game.

Something great of this game isn’t just what was released but the free updates to come in the near future. They plan on adding co-op and a vs. mode along with additional playable characters, a few extra modes of play, including a boss rush. One mode I’m curious about when it releases is the roguelike dungeon and how expansive it may be and how much gameplay it could bring to either the coop or versus if it can. If you are debating to wait to buy this game based on the upcoming content, I wouldn’t let that be the only reason not to buy this game today. The game is complete even without this extra content to come, and I feel it will just add to it. The quality that I have seen from Bloodstained at the time gives me high hopes that the updates will not be lackluster. Even without the extra content that is free to come, the game is worth it.

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night took a long time to get here from first being devised in 2015, but the wait was worth it, and I think Konami may be hating themselves to let another great talent leave their company to start a separate great success game franchise that carries the Castlevania spirit to gaming today. I’m even more excited to see what sequel this will bring and what other games the passionate team that made Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night will bring next. If you loved Castlevania, you would love this game. If you haven’t played a Castlevania style game before this one is worth a try. With it also being released on the Nintendo Switch I’m sure many more will enjoy having this sort of game on the go. It is also a very welcomed sight to see such a large hit backed on Kickstarter knock it out of the park to bring more faith back to backing video games after many stories of some failing to live up to expectations.

Pros

  • Fantastic “Metroidvania” Game
  • Many Combat Options
  • Great Story, Visuals, Music
  • Free DLC Updates

Cons

  • Clunky Shortcut System
  • Some Quality of Life Mechanics Not Explained.

FoxieEXE gives Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night a Drastik Measure of 9.0 (90)

If you enjoy “Metroidvania” games then jump over to Steam and grab it out for $39.99