I’ve played about 5 hours of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, the new game by developer ArtPlay and produced by 505 Games. ArtPlay was founded in 2014 by longtime Castlevania procucer, Koji Igarashi. Igarashi’s involvement with that storied seried led to Bloodstained being touted as the spiritual successor to Symphony of the Night, and the return of Castlevania in all but name.
As a longtime Castlevania fan, I am happy to report: Bloodstained:RotN feels like Castlevania:SotN. I find it to be quite the feat. There is a certain hesitancy when it comes to these projects, especially ones that got their start on Kickstarter. We have come to expect these projects to over promise and under deliver. I find it refreshing and exciting that Bloodstained:RotN steers clear of this.
The game looks and feels the part. The art style is 3D models on a 2D plane with plenty of light cel shading to give definition. The music is from Michiru Yamane, composer on Castlevania: Bloodlines and SotN. There are monsters and creepy locales. Hell, there is even a castle, appearing straight from hell, that you have to fight through. There are little nods and nudges for Castlevania faithful and a dynamic magic system is coming in full force to bring the flow of the game into 2019.
In the short time I’ve spent with the game, I feel extremely positive about what Igarashi and the team at ArtPlay have achieved. If you are a fan of Metroidvanias, and especially if your a fan of Symphony of the Night, you are bound to find much to love. It feels like a natural extension of Castlevania and has enough uniqueness in its combat system to stand alone.
I will have full review soon, but in the meantime, here are some tasty morsels to whet your appetite coming straight from 505 Games upon the release of the Nintendo Switch version on May 25th:
“In addition to the sprawling single-player story experience with alternate endings, more than a dozen DLCs will be released post-launch as free updates, including Online and Local Co-op and VS. mode, Roguelike mode, Boss Rush, Chaos mode and Nightmare Difficulty. Secret playable characters are also awaiting discovery, increasing the replay value even further.“
There’s so much to look forward to in the coming months if you’re a Castlevania fan (and if not a fan, its the perfect time to become one)!
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night released June 18 on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. It released June 25th on Switch.