Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night was everything I wanted it to be. So how good is this obvious Castlevania game with a different name?
This is a Metroidvania. That means most of your time will be spent fighting enemies, finding loot, unlocking new abilities, and backtracking to areas you’ve previously been through so you can access some hard to reach areas or areas that were previously closed off to you. And it’s absolutely fantastic. Bloodstained plays just like an old Castlevania game. You get a wide variety of weapons and armor to wear as well as a crap ton of spells to cast. You’re free to build your character up in any way you choose by equipping different items and shards.
What are shards you ask? Shards have a chance to drop from every enemy that you encounter. It’s a similar mechanic to Aria of Sorrow and works beautifully. Do want those pillars of fire that demon is using on you? Kill it enough times and you’ll get the shard and enough upgrade materials to use it in its full glory. The gameplay is reminiscent of Castlevania at its peak. I mean it’s exactly the same. The weapons, spells, and even some enemies that you fight. Koji Igarashi has not lost a step with creating these kinds of games and I can’t wait to see what’s next for this series that he’s created.
I want to own the soundtrack to this game. That’s how much I enjoyed listening to the in-game music. It’s really creative and some areas I didn’t want to leave because I wanted to finish the song in the background first. The voice acting is… hit and miss and casting spells sounded like I thought they would. The highlight here is the music and thankfully it never lets up. Every area has a nice tune playing in the background and blends perfectly with what I’m doing. The music isn’t too loud or too low. It’s perfect.
Bloodstained is a good looking game, but it never wowed me. It also has a lot of technical issues on every platform. Especially the Nintendo Switch. This game looks like a wet turd on the Switch and there’s no excuse for that and the fact that it runs like crap too. What happened? On PC, this game runs mostly fine on my 1080 system. Bloodstained runs really well when I’m doing random stuff like exploring, but towards the end of the game, it lagged a lot during boss fights.
The PC port is fine but could use a few quality of life patches. The Switch version needs a lot of shit added and a graphics boost for me to even consider it anywhere near good.
The character models (on PC anyway) are decent. The animations are excellent and the lighting is excellent at times, but mostly just okay. I do wish there were more graphical options than what we have. You have your basic antialiasing and shadow settings. I would have liked options like Ambient Occlusion and HBAO. What we have is decent though.
Bloodstained has some pretty unique boss fights, but none of them are particularly challenging. I made sure I fought all of them during my first playthrough. I really enjoyed going up against the vampire lady and a secret boss that I don’t want to spoil for you. Most of the bosses are really well designed and I enjoyed fighting them. None of them wowed me though and that’s why it’s in this category.
The Switch version of the game should have never launched in the condition that it’s in now. It needed more time to bake and for some reason, the developers decided to go ahead and launch the game anyway. The Switch port has more issues than all of the other versions combined and it’s a shame since it would be my goto version if not for many of these issues. I’m not one to bitch about graphics, but it’s a pretty big leap from the PC version to the Switch. Bloodstained on the lowest settings look better than the Switch version and there’s no excuse for that.
Your goal is to chase a dude named Gebel because the main protagonist promised that she would stop him if he ever went evil. This game tried it’s best to tell a good story. It even has a few surprises thrown in there to mix things up. The thing is… that I never really cared about anyone or what I was doing. I was just in it for the gameplay. I do really like both Miriam and Zangetsu and I can’t wait for co-op to come to the game.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is everything I hoped it would be. Yes, the story sucked and the Switch port is complete crap, but I still really loved the experience I had playing through this game. It's absolutely incredible and is everything I wanted a modern Castlevania game to be. It's fun and is getting a lot more content added in the near future so it's worth coming back to later on. This game does need some polish though and I would recommend buying it on any other platform than the Nintendo Switch.