Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night Preview: A Castlevania for Today

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night Preview: A Castlevania for Today

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and Super Metroid are 2 iconic games of old whose design focus of exploring a single large map rather a normal standard progression was so singular it spawned it’s own subgenre of gaming: Metroidvania. From Castlevania: Symphony of the Night’s release 20 years ago, in 1997, developers through the years have tried their hands at the unique formula but few can match the touch of the pioneers, specifically designer Koji Igarashi, whose mark on the genre is so deep, it’s also been coined Igavania.

Igarashi is back at the helm now with a new game in the Metroidvania concept: Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night which along with Igarashi is being developed by Inti Creates and published by 505 Games. Bloodstained is an exploration-focused, 2.5D side-scrolling platformer RPG for the PS4, Xbox One, PC, Vita and Wii U that features a unique crafting system and is seen as a successor to the Castlevania series. In May of 2015, the game entered a kickstarter and as of the campaign close had raised 5.5 million USD, in a testament to the enduring popularity of the Metroidvania style game.

Genre: Side Scrolling Platform RPG/Metroidvania
Developed by: Koji Igarashi, Inti Creates
Published by: 505 Games, Deep Silver
Release date: Late 2017
Age rating: Pending
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Vita, Wii U

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night Features

  • Exploration: Bloodstained’s story unfolds as you explore Gebel’s hellish castle; a sprawling structure that features a variety of locations.
  • RPG Elements: It’s not an Igavania without leveling, and Bloodstained will be no exception. As you play through the game, you will become more powerful and better equipped.
  • Exploration: Bloodstained’s story unfolds as you explore Gebel’s hellish castle; a sprawling structure that features a variety of locations.

Bloodstained Story & Setting

In Bloodstained, you will follow the story of protagonist Miriam, an orphan who is afflicted by an alchemist’s curse. The alchemist’s curse is devastating to Miriam, slowly transforming her skin into crystal. In order to reverse the effects of the curse, she must enter a demon infested castle and locate a summoner named Gebel, who is himself afflicted by the same curse.

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The game will unfold along the classic 2D Metroidvania style of games with 3D graphics, as Miriam will platform her way through the massive castle, exploring very dark corner. As she defeats enemies she will gain powers and equipment to improve her chances of survival in this deadly dungeon.

The effects of the curse on Miriam are severe; beyond the crystal fusion, the curse caused her to sleep for 10 years while it matured in her body. When she awoke, she found that not only had she missed the appearance of demons, but she was also suffering from a mild case of amnesia, not fully understanding what has happened to her.

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The man she seeks, Gebel, is the original host of this curse, which is also responsible for summoning the demons to the world. He is also the only one to have survived the effects of the curse at such an advanced stage. Turning his back on humanity, he summoned the castle players will be exploring, initially as a haven for Miriam but eventually the curse twisted his reasoning. In a Nietzsche style fall, his demon filled surroundings have cause him to become a monster himself, full of dark ambition to destroy humanity by using Miriam, all while the crystals swallow his body.

Gameplay

The game is being built on the Unreal Engine 4 with the developers planning to create a map that is larger than any of the previous Igavania titles. There are 3 tenets to the gameplay development: exploration, RPG elements and crafting.

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Exploration is the primary component of any Metroidvania game and Bloodstained is no exception. The star of the show is the castle’s map and with it being larger than anything in previous Igavania titles, players can expect many hidden areas and challenges. Old school platforming takes center stage here, with your playable characters leaping up, down and across chasms and platforms. Within the castle itself players will encounter a variety of different thematic locations, keeping the discovery element fresh. You’ll see grand rooms with ornate finery and dark and dingy dungeons with swinging lanterns. Because of the size of the map, the game will provide warp gates throughout the castle that will allow players to quickly travel from point to point to prevent an excessive amount of backtracking.

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Gebel’s castle is indeed hellish, populated with a variety of demons. Some are nightmarish denizens of the sea, others are intimidating armored foes using their own heads as flails. They each have unique combat properties and will present an ever changing challenge. While Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is a departure from the Dracula lore of Castlevania, the creatures themselves possess a Lovecraftian flavor that fits within the genre and historical feel of the series.

However, Bloodstained: Ritual of the night is not stuck in the past and will also feature an RPG core to the system that is comprised of the typically expected stat spread, allowing players to improve their abilities as they progress through defeating the demons of the castle. You will also be able to choose from 12 different weapon categories that each have their own unique moveset. Of course there will be whips. Each of the different weapon types also have differing movement speeds that will allow players to match their preferred playstyle. This represents a modernization of the genre and institutes a weapon diversity that hints at the potential of Dark Souls and 2D Soulslike, Salt and Sanctuary.

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The combat is speedy and features flourishes from your weapons and abilities. There is a tactical element to how you mix and match your equipment depending on the enemies you face. Cut your way through them and you’ll square off against one of the game’s mighty bosses. For those who love the boss rush mode of classic Japanese gaming, Bloodstained will not let you down, letting you challenge these mighty foes in a dedicated successive mode.

Further adding to the itemization depth will be a crafting system that allows you to create items, weapons and abilities. As you kill the demon denizens of the castle, you will collect a variety of items, materials and magi-crystals. You will be able to take these items and apply them via the game’s alchemy themed crafting system to create new weapons as well as new abilities to improve your chances of surviving the castle, which will take on the quality of a character on its own.

A final piece of modernization for the new Igavnia will be the inclusion of multiplayer. The game will feature local co-op play for those couch buddy enthusiasts. Furthermore, Bloodstained will also have asynchronous online features similar to the Soulsborne series:

  • “Borrow” a friend’s character stats for a certain amount of time (your friend will get a bonus)
  • Ghost Data (See friend’s saved character movements while fighting a boss)
  • Friend’s playthroughs affect your game in some way (a gravestone and an offering might mark the spot where your friend died)

These helpful elements will also create a feeling of partnership and should provide some help as players can learn from the successes and failures of others.

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Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is bringing the classic exploration of the Castelvania series and updating it to modern conventions by featuring an RPG core, diverse weaponry and a crafting system to improve main character Miriam. By fusing the best of nostalgia’s past with the sensibilities of today’s RPGs, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is looking to bring the unique Igavania genre to the modern era. Perhaps it will serve to ignite yet another subgenre all of its own.


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Editor at Fextralife. I look for the substantial in gaming and I try to connect video games to the emotions and stories they elicit. I love all things culture and history and have an odd fondness for the planet Jupiter. I think my dogs are pretty awesome too.

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10 comments on “Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night Preview: A Castlevania for Today”

  1. Avatar skarekrow13 says:

    This is a game I could see myself playing and likely loving.

  2. Avatar Valvatorez says:

    Looks rather interesting. I haven´t played a real Metroidvania in quite a while. Dust: An Elysian Tail was the last really good one I played.

  3. Avatar Emergence says:

    It looks like a reason to hold onto my Vita lol.

  4. Avatar skarekrow13 says:

    There’s plenty of reasons to hold onto your Vita, especially if you have Plus. VVVVVV and Titan Souls just to name two recent ones.

    Though I suspect Titan Souls might be a better experience on the PS4. Also S&S is coming…

  5. montyuk says:

    Interesting, first I’ve heard of this game, sounds like one to watch

  6. Avatar EldritchImagination says:

    I’ve only played two Castlevania style games in my life. The original Castlevania via emulator and Guacamelee.

    I didn’t like Castlevania, but only because attacking was so limited, thus making fighting enemies artificially harder, especially enemies like death (screw those scythes). In any game like this, it should be standard to be able to attack up (diagonally is nice as well)

  7. Nunkuruji says:

    Hoping this will exceed SotN, and that the co-op is good enough to warrant several of my friends picking it up to play when we get together.

  8. montyuk says:

    Those magic words "local co op" always draw my eye, they’ve added 33% to my interest quotient

  9. Avatar Languard says:

    I’ve been watching this since the kickstarter. Really looking forward to its release.

  10. Avatar EldritchImagination says:

    why is local co-op barely a thing anymore? I mean I don’t have anybody to play a local co-op game at the moment, but when I do, it’s some of the best fun I can have with a video game. Seems like a terrible loss for the gaming experience.


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