Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
At a recent event, I had the chance to play through the opening of Koji Igarashi's Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, a spiritual successor to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Though the demo wasn't that long--15 minutes at the most--it did deliver much of the same feeling I had when I originally played Symphony of the Night all those years ago.
The basic setup of Bloodstained has you playing Miriam, an orphan exploring a demon-occupied castle in the hopes of finding a way to break a curse that's slowly causing her skin to turn into crystal. A third-person, 2.5D action RPG, Bloodstained has you collecting powers that help you navigate the castle and defeat enemies. During my time I came across a wealth of weapons I could equip, like swords and even kicking shoes, but I kept to my whip mostly, which dished out a fair amount of damage from a distance. I also collected powers that let me shoot bones and flames at foes, which was immensely helpful when I came up against some of the more powerful enemies, like massive knights.
The castle itself is interesting if a bit traditionally medieval. There's a lot of stone and bell towers. The art style makes the setting feel exceptionally gothic instead of generic. I had fun navigating the various nooks and crannies, leaping down on enemies with my whip.
The demo ended with an intense boss fight with a demonic vixen who uses blood magic to cast projectiles at you and moves rather quickly. Despite almost losing the battle, I manage to get the upper hand in the end by attacking her from a distance. Easily the best and most challenging part of the demo was this encounter and I hope the full game offers fights that are just as engaging.
Though I only had a brief period of time with Bloodstained's opening, I came away from the experience feeling pretty impressed and intrigued in what other monsters and obstacles await Miriam in this castle of horrors.
For more on Bloodstained, check out our interview with creator Koji Igarashi about the project and his departure from Konami.