- System: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch
- Publisher: 505 Games
- Developer: ArtPlay
- Release Date: June 19, 2019
- Rating: T for Teen
- Genre: Action, Adventure
- Players: 1
- Official Website: https://playbloodstained.com/
Who it Caters to
What to Expect
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is—as we mentioned—the mirror image of how most Castlevania games play. Player’s assume the role of Miriam who has joined a special unit given the task of ending a plot that could possibly wipe out humanity. Luckily, Miriam isn’t just an ordinary woman, within her lies a power crafted from experiments that allows her to harness magic and otherworldly spells to aid her in this battle. With an array of weapon training and these supernatural talents, Miriam is ready for the battle ahead. However, will you want to join her in that battle? The answer is a simple yes.
Akin to Castlevania, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is a 2D side scroller/adventure game that has players running, jumping and hacking away at enemies. You’ll explore various locations fighting numerous baddies and gaining an arsenal of powers/weapons along the way. Miriam can consume shards that fall randomly from enemies she defeats which enable her to use their powers or even summon them in battle. Miriam can also equip numerous weapons that range from whips—a Castlevania tradition—swords and even pistols/guns. With guns, players can equip varying types of ammo, but once that ammo reserve depletes, you’ll use normal bullets which don’t do much damage. One of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night’s strongest elements is how it copies not just one type of Castlevania game but numerous ones and seems to take the best elements of each.
Now in terms of gameplay, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night excels without a doubt. Combat feels great and each weapon/power handles differently to suit the player’s individual needs. An example of this is using a bastard sword for heavy—but slow—damage while maybe using quick magic like shockwaves or long-range fire/water to conform to an in and out form of combat. If you want to be an assassin and skewer enemies you can use rapiers or daggers for low but quick damage and boost your shard magic with defensive skills or magic that can pepper the enemy with damage. Some bosses can be defeated by using specific gameplay maneuvers, but Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night doesn’t force you to cater to one style it allows you a wide berth to really make the game work in your favor.
Exploration is another strength of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. We loved running around wide vistas and dreary castles/ruins to find secrets and ways to move forward in the story. Just like most Metroidvania games, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night has players backtracking a lot to make progress. You’ll often hit dead ends that seem impossible to move past, but once you find a key in a room or a special power, you’ll once more resume progress and repeat the process later. If you’re new to mechanics like this, you might see Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night as a bit of a repetitive romp at times. Luckily, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night succeeds in learning from past titles and doesn’t rely on constant backtracking every few minutes. You’ll often make a lot of progress before finding a dead end and being forced to backtrack to a missed area or find a spot you didn’t explore thoroughly.
Visually—and sound wise— Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is another real treat. The visuals—which were improved after a lot of backlash during the beta—look ten times better with character models having a nice and clean cel-shading. The backdrops also look marvelous with a ton of detail in every faucet possible. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night sounds incredible to with a very similar Castlevania OST that works to make every moment—from walking through dark rooms to strange paranormal locations—feel impactful and important. The voice acting is also solid with Miriam stealing the show.
Now as great as Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is, there are some minor gripes we have with it. The main issue we noticed comes from the story which—let’s be honest—isn’t that great. Miriam’s childhood friend turned baddie has been done in every type of genre like it and never were we moved by any story revelation. Equally, one of our previous gripes about too many weapons in Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night still remains but with a new kind of problem, stiffness. Some weapons just feel overly stiff to use such as the bastard swords and even katana. They do work and can be used efficiently but using them feels off at times and often we’d rather rely on quicker—but lower damage weapons—as they offer more ways to make combat feel smoother.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
- Excellent 2D action/exploration worthy of being a homage to Castlevania
- Numerous weapons that feel unique and powerful
- Wonderful art design that screams Castlevania but equally has its own theme to it as well
- Numerous bosses and enemies for a good challenge
- Wonderful OST
- Some bosses feel a bit too cliché
- Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night’s story isn’t all that enthralling or creative
- Some weapons feel a bit stiff to use