Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

By: John

Reviewed on Xbox One


Are you looking for a game that pays homage to old school Castlevania games then look no further than Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night.

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is a metroidvania style video game developed by ArtPlay an published by 505 games the game’s development was by none other than former Castlevania series producer Koji Igarashi and is considered a spiritual successor to the series and to be honest it couldn’t be any better. Igarashi conceived this love child of a game after his departure from Konami in 2014 prompted by numerous fans to make another metroidvania style game and we were gifted this beautiful and stunning work of art.

My overall experience with Bloodstained brings me back to when I was a kid playing Castlevania Symphony of the Night, one of the best Konami games that was ever created (Besides Metal Gear Solid) in my opinion. I was taken away by its stunning visuals, incredible soundtrack, its completely customizable cosmetic pieces of armor you find and a very Intricate craft system, but most of all its unbelievable story. When playing I love how it’s a mix of 3D visuals and 2D side scrolling, the combat is also a wonderful, using different weapons that fit your play style ranging from daggers, short swords, broad swords, whips, punching and kicking weapons, and pistols. There is a play style for everyone and that one of the many features that makes the game unique. Now this game wouldn’t be a true Igarashi game without its trade mark level up system mixed with the ability to play how you want i.e. if you want more magic based attacks you can spec Miriam (ex. Equipment: Witch’s HatScarlet Dresssolomon’s ringskull necklaceover the rainbow, Shards: Words of wisdomBolide Blast, Sacred Shade, Familiar: Dullahammer Head How to play: Bolide Blast mini-stuns most bosses. Using mana focused equipment and Words of Wisdom to decrease mana cost, you are able to spam it on top of the boss stun-locking it most of the time. You can user Invert ability to attack from the ceiling if the room is small enough. It is advised to take MP potions.) This is just a sample build you can try and for a few more visit or create your own. There is also the crafting aspect of the game since the game centers on the art of alchemy as well as crafting. Enemies will drop materials which you can use to craft new weapons and abilities using Miriam’s training in alchemy as well as potions to give you that extra edge in combat. I also find it interesting when playing you’re not just doing the main story but as you come across survivors throughout the game, they can give you side quests and tasks to do that can give you extra XP, as well as rewards of different kinds which also prompts you to explore the land. Exploring does have its advantages, be it a new piece of equipment or weapon or a magic shard to add to your builds to make you that much stronger. There are several ways for you to find out what works best for you which in turns help you mold the game to fit you and your unique playstyle.

You are Miriam who is just woken up from a long slumber to world that’s getting destroyed by a former friend who is also an alchemist named Gebel. It is up to you to storm his Castle and fight your way through legions of enemies to stop his reign of terror. As the game progresses you do come across a new ally known as the samurai who is voiced by none other than Solid Snake himself (David Hayter) that comes equipped with his own weapons and move sets.

The game can be difficult at times but not unforgiving (unless playing nightmare difficulty). I always find it more fun to play on higher difficulty so you can see what the game can really throw at you.

I’ve invested 40 plus hours on this game and still haven’t gotten 100% map completion as well as unlocking all recipes for my alchemy and weapon crafting, so I can easily say that this game can be stretched for another 10 plus hours to get 100% completion,

As with any game it’s going to have its bugs during my play through I did find that some chest would randomly disappear or there is a lag in the SFX every now and again but nothing game breaking. However, there are reports of the game refusing to let you go past a certain point but the majority of those were reported on the switch version of the game.

A series staple and very close friend of Koji Igarashi, Michiru Yamane  returns as the main composer for Bloodstained. She’s famous for her long library of compositions featured in the Castlevania series, most notably in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. A masterpiece of a game with an amazing score and top-notch voice acting on both English and Japanese setting nothing could be more perfect.

The visual aesthetics of the game are breathtaking that spans all the way from the background to the foreground the mix of 2D and 3D side scrolling and platforming to the cinematics and conversations between characters are amazing.

My time with this amazing game was unforgettable so many ways to play, many places to explore, it’s everything we could have wanted from a Koji Igarashi game. Breathtaking with its new features and game play but also keeps the classic features that made the previous Castevania games so great. However, despite having so many nods to a decades-old series and despite being so deliberately nostalgic, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night feels like something very fresh.