Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night Review | (Nintendo Switch/PS4/Xbox/PC)


There’s been a general uneasiness around
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. It started off as a Kickstarter project that
rode the wave of being the spiritual successor to the classic Castlevania games. Through developer changes, delays and so on,
it was safe to say that many gamers were wary of just how Bloodstained would turn out. That’s why I’m happy and relieved to say
that despite this not having the triple aaa funding or the name of a new Castlevania game,
this is still very much a new Castlevania game. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night puts you
into the shoes of Miriam, a shardbinder who is able to absorb the power of demons. She’s one of many or at least there were
many. Upon waking up from a decade long slumber,
Miriam realizes that all but her and fellow shardbinder Gebel have been slain. Unlike her though, Gebel has fallen under
the demonic powers from the crystals in his skin, leading him to go completely insane
and release hell. Story elements are introduced through cutscenes
and conversations between the characters every few hours. It’s apparent that storytelling isn’t
Bloodstained’s strongest suit. It tries to bring up a lot of lore right away. It isn’t the easiest thing to follow and
I can expect some players to get lost in what is actually going on as your travel through
Gebel’s giant castle. Luckily that isn’t the star of this game
and that instead comes down to the gameplay. This is truly Bloodstained’s bread and butter. The Metroidvania genre has gotten increasingly
popular since it first caught the eye of many gamers with Castlevania. Both triple AAA and indie games alike have
used and morphed the genre into completely new experiences. Koji IgarashiMetroidvania though is the classic
form of the genre and is at center stage here with Bloodstained. Miriam is an incredibly customizable character
both in terms of looks and gameplay style. This comes back to the heavy rpg integration
throughout the game. You’re able to mess around with items, clothing
even down to hairstyles and voice. The shards that you collect in the world affect
Miriam differently depending on the crystal, also helping to shape combat. If you’re a defensive player, you can have
crystals that offer better defense support at the cost of stronger attacks. Perhaps you don’t like to get up close to
enemies and so you might invest in long-range attack stat booster instead. The more Miriam invests in these crystals
the more susceptible she becomes to the demonic forces and so that’s one thing to take note
of. In the end, my play style and your play style
might vary but that opens up the campaign to feel differently for each player, regardless
of all of us going on the same adventure. It doesn’t stop there though. Looting treasure chests throughout the world
leads to finding items, pieces of equipment or even weapons to use in fights. There’s even shops and crafting areas where
you can either purchase or forge new items based on what you’ve collected. All of the equipable items have stats attached
to them and it’ll be up to you to decide which one is worth using. For example, I gravitated toward the heavy
but also higher in attack weapons. These are slow, requiring more time and momentum
to swing but usually landing more damage per hit. The small dagger, on the other hand, is weaker
but is able to strike faster in a smaller attack range. Outside of the main campaign, you’ll come
across a few side quests like going to slay a specific amount of monsters in an area. They’re alright distractions but I mostly
gravitated toward the campaign. Ultimately Bloodstained Ritual of the Night
felt like a lovely mix of classic Castlevania with some modernization game design like fast
travel, slightly more forgiving combat and so on. It doesn’t feel like an evolution to the
gameplay of older metroidvania games but instead feels like it pays homage to them instead. In conjunction with the fleshed out RPG system
that let me create my own playstyle while upgrading the aspects I liked over time, I
had a great time journeying through hell. Bloodstained looks good and I’m happy to
say that because I think a lot of people were worried when word got out that it was going
through a visual overhaul. I wasn’t blown away by it but it features
some solid presentation that has a very gothic theme over everything. The final product mixes a lot of contrasting
designs that somehow just work well. The 2d gameplay is done in a 3d environment
in combination with multiple layers and a new lighting system. That lighting system shines, no pun intended. I love the look of a small candle giving the
slightest bit of warmth to a dark and gloomy hallway. The visual design style here is great also
contrasting the look of realistic environment textures and anime looking, character models. It sort of reminds me of a lot of anime based
rpgs like the SAO series that use more realistic textures that contrast the anime character
models. In bloodstained, I found that it helps you
keep track of both your character and the enemies around you. I think the only time the visuals ran into
hiccups were in the occasional pop-in moment and when the camera pulled back and made it
hard to platform the 3d environment in 2d. In terms of performance, you can see a 1080p
60 performance on base PS4 and Xbox One with that being bumped up to 1440p and native 4k
on PS4 Pro and Xbox One X. On the Nintendo Switch, you’ll see the frame
rate get locked to 30 fps with it running at 720p in handheld mode and dynamic 720p
in dock mode. It’s a bummer to see the frame rate halved
on Switch but in actual use, it felt fine, even the lower resolution in handheld mode
was good thanks to the smaller display. The problem in the Switch version would instead
be the massive crank down on compositing effects. The Switch version looks darker and generally
has a lot of effects missing. I think it’s most apparent in the introduction
where about 80% of the rain effects are completely missing. Frame rates across all platforms can also
get finicky when there’s a lot of enemies on screen. These moments were brief though and didn’t
ruin the gameplay for me. I think if you want to play this on the go,
you’ll be fine with the Switch but if the high frame rate is a priority for you then
you should bump up to one of the other platforms. This soundtrack slaps hard. The fast-paced Lu Voyage of Promise is catchy
and it makes me wish it was a song in Super Smash Brothers. On the opposite end is the song Surpassing
Grief that brings the temp down for a more emotional piece that sounds like it was ripped
out of Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep. Range of emotions this soundtrack is able
to compel of out of me is extraordinary and speaks to the degree of how well its made. Across the campaign’s emotional highs and
lows, you can count on the music to be the cherry on top every time. Michiru Yamane’s work dna can be heard in
just about every one of these tracks and it’s marvelous. The voice acting on the other hand I thought
was just decent. It wasn’t bad but didn’t really stand
out to me much but I think that’s more because the actors didn’t have a lot to work with
and not the other way around. Bloodstained Ritual of the Night doesn’t
reinvent the wheel but instead feels like a return to form to classic Castlevania. It offers a robust rpg system that truly allows
you to make Miriam feel like your own unique character. The presentation admitedly isn’t jaw-dropping
for me but works here with an interesting mix of 2d and 3d with lovely lighting design. You’ll have to deal with the occasional
frame rate and platforming hiccup from time to time, but that should stray you away, especially
if you’ve been eager for more Symphony of the Night.

30 thoughts on “Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night Review | (Nintendo Switch/PS4/Xbox/PC)

  1. Man, I was subbed when you had like 5k subs. I havnt wacthed u since you had like 20k subs (idk why) i need to watch you more

  2. Good review. You've made me have an interest in this game, but I'll wait until the switch version is cleaned up enough. Have a good one!

  3. This game is amazing on the Nintendo switch & since I'm an old school Castlevania fan here I'm planning to buy this game great job IGA.

  4. Nonsense! the switch version that I own is utter garbage it’s beyond blurry and ruins the gameplay and the input lag is terrible. Major letdown. The devs knew all of this prior to release and only issued a statement because people complained. Shit port and shit Devs.

  5. On the ps4 mine crashed yesterday, also sometimes the jump auto did a double jump with the wings but i only jumped once causeing me to fall in a hole, swung my sword right thru and enemy and did no damage, pressed to swing nothing happened and i got hit, tried to jump and just keep running off a cliff. Game is very buggy. Pls fix.

  6. Thanks for the review! I'll eventually pick it up, but I was actually more engaged by the 8-bit prequel, hehe. A bit of constructive criticism, there were a few audio hiccups in the second half of the video 😉

  7. I will definitely play this on Switch once they fix it. until then I'll play the Castlevania collection, because some of the things I've been hearing about the switch version are less than ideal.

  8. I have the PC version via Steam and it's fantastic! I'm playing it at 1080p but have played it at 4k and it runs fine. My rig is just slightly older (running a GTX 780ti), so I put the res down to 1080 just so I can get a solid 150-200 fps (I have a 144hz monitor). Overall, the game reminds me of when I first played Symphony of the Night so many years ago. An amazing experience, and honestly Bloodstained has not disappointed at all! Definitely a must buy if you love metroidvanias or Symphony is one of your favorite games of all time👍

  9. I knew it! The Switch version fails, while the PS4, Xbox, and PC versions have succeeded! Nintendo Switch lost this battle.

  10. The game may lack some polish however I am having fun playing it that the graphics don't concern me. I always prefer fun over polish. I'm old school I grew up with 8 bit and 16 bit games like duckhunt and super mario world. Child of the rocking 80s

  11. Holy crap, they really butchered the Switch version. It's weird when a game that has the visuals of a HD PS2-game suddenly looks like a pretty decent PS1 when running on a system that's stronger than a PS3. Kind of glad I didn't preorder it, and i hope they at least improve the textures in the coming months :/

  12. How do you feel about the input lag and general slower feeling of the Switch version, and would you recommend the Switch version to someone who has a PS4, but just prefers the Switch? I played both the Switch and PS4 versions recently for about 5 minutes each, and while playing handheld is my preferred way to play by far, it’s hard to tell how irritating the negatives will become over time. Also the review was great, I love how you mention the differences between the consoles.

  13. was gonna get it on the Switch but i heard too many bad things. It would of been my personal favorite way to play. I end up getting it on the PC. amazing game.

  14. One question, will this be as memorable as hollow knight, Because hollow knight spoiled all other metroidvanias for me.

  15. I'm a backer. It's killing me that so many others have got to play this & I can't get a confirmation on when my copy will arrive.

    Great review, was getting worried about the quality of the Switch version, glad to hear it isn't as bad as others have described

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