Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night
Castlevania’s guiding light kickstarts a new age of darkness
PC, PS4, Switch, Vita, Xbox One
Developer Inti Creates
Publisher 505 Games
Format PC, PS4, Switch, Vita, Xbox One
Set for release a full decade after the last true 2D Castlevania – series fans understandably discount loot-obsessed co-op adventure Harmony Of Despair and Lords Of Shadow spin-off Mirror Of Fate – producer Koji Igarashi’s spiritual successor to his lauded platformer-adventure series represents a somewhat more delayed resurrection than his traditional vampiric villain is used to. Not that Dracula himself is the undead inconvenience this time out. Writing a brand new scenario in order to step comfortably away from Konami’s currently mothballed official series, Bloodstained transposes the action from Transylvania to merry old 18th century England, and forges a new fanged threat with not a Belmont in sight. There is, of course, a whip.
Not that the change harms the game’s feeling of authenticity any more than proxy Counts and interchangable, befrilled villagers trouble the loosely adapted Hammer horror films that so clearly inspire both Castlevania and Bloodstained. There’s still a magically conjured castle; there’s still a plucky, multi-skilled hero; and there’s still a family-focused narrative. And this being a game in the item-collecting, ability-earning, Metroidvania style, there’s a great deal of back-tracking exploration, too.
If the full extent of that isn’t entirely comprehensible in Bloodstained’s E3 demo – clearly a truncated, condensed slice of the bloody action designed to relate an impression of the game’s slow-burn, abilitygated progress system at show-floor-friendly turbo speed – then there is a tantalising glimpse of it in what isn’t present. Crumbled passageways, locked gates, and seemingly impossible-to-reach platforms appear in
Don’t be fooled. This chap isn’t cheering on your fancy footwork. Quite the opposite, in fact
TOP Aerial combat can be dicey without a blade separating Miriam from her target. It is, however, stylish enough to warrant the risk.
ABOVE Another Castlevania holdover. In this grandiose, regal stronghold, most of the cash is found hidden inside smashed light fittings