- “Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night” is the latest game from the former “Castlevania” producer Koji Igarashi.
- In 2015, more than 60,000 fans pledged a combined $US5.5 million on Kickstarter to fund the game’s creation.
- “Bloodstained” is a spiritual successor to Igarashi’s most celebrated game, “Castlevania: Symphony of the Night,” with all the flourishes of a modern classic.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Few video games are as influential as “Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.” Released for the PlayStation in 1997, the game was a masterpiece – a fully orchestrated vampire-hunting adventure with pinpoint controls and a haunting atmosphere that inspired countless copycats and defined a new genre of video games dubbed “Metroidvania.”
Koji Igarashi was one of the lead programmers and writers for “Symphony of the Night,” and he produced more than a dozen “Castlevania” games for Konami from 2000 to 2010. But when Konami shifted toward developing shorter mobile games instead of traditional console titles, Igarashi decided to leave the company and the “Castlevania” franchise behind.
In 2015, Igarashi asked fans to help fund a spiritual successor to “Castlevania”; that game was “Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night.” More than 60,000 backers pledged a combined $US5.5 million to the “Bloodstained” Kickstarter project, more than 10 times Igarashi’s original goal of $US500,000.
The additional pledges were used to fund additional features and content for “Bloodstained,” like extra bosses, a second playable character, and a cooperative mode. The funds even helped Igarashi produce a second retro-style prequel game called “Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon.” While the game had initially been scheduled for a March 2017 release, it was delayed for more than two years so the development team could deliver on all of the promised features.
Now, four years after the Kickstarter was first funded, “Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night” has arrived – and it’s everything fans were waiting for.
While “Castlevania” is about an eternal struggle against Dracula, “Bloodstained” is about a woman named Miriam who has been cursed with demonic powers.
Miriam and her friend Gebel can absorb the powers of demons and use them as weapons, but the curse also turns their skin to crystal.
Miriam has to use her powers to destroy this demonic castle and save Gebel from the curse.
The castle is massive — Miriam has to acquire new demonic abilities to explore hard-to-reach areas, and the map is chock-full of hidden treasures and secret rooms.
Each demon Miriam encounters has a specific ability she can absorb. Once she learns a move, she’ll keep it forever.
Along with a range of demonic abilities, Miriam can use weapons such as guns, swords, whips, and axes. As you defeat enemies you’ll gain experience and level up, increasing Miriam’s fighting skills.
Outrageous boss demons will test those skills and give you the most impressive new powers. You’ll need the right abilities and a solid strategy to come out on top.
Inside the castle, Miriam is joined by a swordsman named Zangetsu. An update to make Zangetsu a playable character is expected later this year, but for now he’s just a strong ally.
A few more key characters pop up during the course of the story, but most of them aren’t friendly.
“Bloodstained” lets you customise Miriam’s skin tone, hair style, and clothing, and certain items you equip will show up on your character model in the game too.
Your choices can change Miriam’s look dramatically, as I did here.
“Bloodstained” also has an involved crafting and item system for you to build new weapons and equipment for Miriam.
“Bloodstained” is clearly inspired by “Symphony of the Night” and shares its dramatic style.
The orchestral soundtrack does a wonderful job of filling the atmosphere, and the small moments when Miriam can interact with the castle help give the setting more personality.
Speaking of personality, “Bloodstained” also includes colourful portraits of its Kickstarter backers in some areas of the castle.
The additional Kickstarter funds also helped produce “Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon,” an 8-bit prequel to “Ritual of the Night” released in 2018.
“Bloodstained” has multiple endings and is meant to be replayed. Igarashi has promised 13 free updates for “Bloodstained” after release, including promised features from the Kickstarter campaign and other secrets.
“Bloodstained Ritual of the Night” is out now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch, and you can check out the full trailer below. Unfortunately, the Switch version suffers from some slowdown and graphics issues, but the development team has pledged to correct the problems through a series of software patches.
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