You may as well call it a Castlevania game, and there's nothing wrong with that (Pic: 505 Games)
If you've not heard, there's a new monster slayer in town. Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night is the latest project from Koji Igarashi, created with crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. The game has been in development since 2015, and offers classic Metroidvania gameplay on PS4, Xbox, Windows and Switch. Is this a castle worth exploring, or should you heed the warnings from the townspeople and steer clear?
Set during the industrial revolution, players step into the boots of Miriam, a "Shardbinder". One of only two in the world, her body reacts with demonic crystals called Shards that imbue her with new powers. Her counterpart, Gebel, feeling betrayed by the world's treatment of Shardbinders, leads an army of demons against mankind. As you'd imagine, your mission is to stop him.
Bloodstained's gameplay is quintessential Metroidvania, as you'd expect from Igarashi's involvement. You'll move from screen to screen, battling enemies with a range of melee and ranged options. The game's gothic architecture feels as oppressive and yet conducive to exploration as Castlevania's, and while backtracking isn't for everyone, there's a similar feeling of satisfaction when you return to a previously inaccessible route and use a newly acquired skill to carry on exploring.
These skills are often just as fun to use in combat, too. Miriam needs to be in constant motion to avoid projectile attacks and combining this movement with getting in close to deal damage with close-range weaponry feels like a dance after some practice.
Augmenting this is the addition of a surprisingly deep RPG system. Miriam's abilities, both active and passive, can be improved and swapped out with random drops of "shards". These have a chance to drop from enemies and are worth seeking out. Gear and consumables can be crafted by grabbing ingredients found throughout levels, too, and turned in to an NPC.
These items change Miriam's skillset, stats, and appearance, meaning there's an impressive amount of build-diversity to be found.
You'll need those shards and all of your new gear, too. Bloodstained is a tricky game, but one well worth persevering with. There's an impressive number of monsters to fight, from guitar-wielding demons, disembodied dog heads and everything in between, while screen-filling boss battles feel positively epic.
Characters are campy in the best way, and there are plenty to chat to, with a lot of side quests to complete. There are even multiple endings for those looking to find every secret.
Bloodstained's industrial revolution setting allows for some beautiful gothic vistas (Pic: 505 Games)
Unfortunately, there are a number of issues with the game's Switch port that prevents it from Read More – Source