First Impressions – Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
If you looked at the trailer for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night and thought, “wow, this is looks like Castlevania,” then you would be on the right track. Bloodstained, along with Castlevania, was created by Koji Igarashi. However, Bloodstained is not a copy of Castlevania. In fact, it can be considered a spiritual successor of the Castlevania franchise. After a highly successful Kickstarter campaign, Bloodstained is getting closer to release, and we had the opportunity to try it at E3.
Bloodstained takes place in the late 18th century England, an era when people’s lives changed dramatically with the ushering in of the Industrial Revolution. You are Miriam, an orphan scarred by an alchemist’s demonic curse, which is slowly turning her skin to crystal. As the curse matures, Miriam drifts into a mysterious coma and awakens ten years later as a castle appears and Hell is resurrected. Now, she must travel to the castle to hunt and kill its summoner, Gebel, battling his demons as she searches for a way to stop the curse.
Now there are some things that you can expect with this spiritual successor to Castlevania. First, you will be sidescrolling, jumping, and fighting your way through hordes of evil monsters and demons. That is to be expected from a gothic Igavania style game. However, you will notice a lot of cool features that make it a little more than a simple platformer.
For starters, Bloodstained features RPG elements. Enemies in Bloodstained will drop a wide variety of items, materials and magi-crystals necessary to create the items that will get you safely through Gebel’s castle. You will also level up, find new weapons, and gain new abilities by taking these crystals. The new abilities are very beneficial as enemies get harder and harder to vanquish.
Not only that, but you also have access to warp points. Gebel’s castle is a sprawling structure that features a variety of eerie locations guarded by malevolent demons. As you explore the massive palace, you’ll find helpful Warp Gates that will allow you to traverse quickly through it without having to backtrack. This will enhance your playthrough and make it easier to explore.
In the demo, I worked my way through an early part of the game. I gained abilities, fought demons with sword and magic, and platformed my way across the map. I didn’t have a lot of time, so my exploration was limited. However, the art design is fantastic with depth and detail in the backgrounds. It really is a beautiful game. Towards the end of my demo, I fought against a demon who threw and controlled blood. It was very challenging to say the least. Luckily, health potions helped a great deal. I can see from this boss fight that Bloodstained will be a challenging experience, which is what we expect from a spiritual successor to Castlevania.
We have some time before Bloodstained is released (the team is hoping to release in 2018). We have the opportunity to play on Microsoft Windows, Linux, OS X, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One. Overall, I’m excited to see more of Bloodstained. It has the feel of Castlevania, but with better graphics and RPG elements. Vania fans will no doubt enjoy Bloodstained.