For the last 22 years, many games have lived in the shadow of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, trying and failing to combine the timeless gothic allure and tense platforming action that the classic game is known for. It should be no surprise that it ultimately took Castlevania series producer Koji Igarashi to create Bloodstained Ritual of the Night, a new game that both emerges from those shadows and casts a bright light of its own. If you love a good challenge, tight controls, and robust character customization, this is the that Metroidvania-style adventure game you’ve been waiting to play.
Though not a member of the Belmont clan, Bloodstained protagonist Miriam is more than worthy of picking up the mantle. A shardbinder, she can use crystals fused with wild demonic powers found throughout the game to defeat her foes. There are also scores of weapons, armor pieces, and accessories that can be used to boost your stats found either after defeating the monsters you’ll battle or crafted using components that enemies also drop. You’ll need the best of all those items if you want a sliver of a chance against the beasts you’ll face because they’re as tough as they are ugly. That said, the game’s visuals are stunning, from the rich environments to the multi-headed dragons that will be snapping at your heels. The game’s soundtrack is also a high note worth listening to, as it was primarily written by former Castlevania music composer Michiru Yamane.
Bloodstained Ritual of the Night Review Final Thoughts:
Just because the pieces are there to create a spiritual successor for a classic game via Kickstarter doesn’t mean that success is guaranteed (see: Mighty No. 9. Actually, don’t.). Thankfully, Bloodstained Ritual of the Night was created by a motivated team filled with former Konami folks that fought hard to give fans what they’ve been missing. Even if this is your first time happily getting lost while exploring monster-filled rooms with a whip on your hip, you won’t regret the dozens of hours that you’ll inevitably pour into this game. Once you crush Bloodstained Ritual of the Night, I also recommend taking a look at developer Motion Twin’s 2018 master stroke Dead Cells for more Metroidvania goodness.
Bloodstained Ritual of the Night on PS4
- Challenging platforming action that respectfully builds on the legacy of Symphony of the Night.
- Striking visuals, catchy music, and (surprisingly) voice acting.
- Tons of magical powers and weapons to strengthen your character as you backtrack through expansive maps.
- Sharp combat learning curve that may intimidate casual players.
- Dense dialogue and storyline that suffers from comparisons to Castlevania and the Dracula lore.