Can Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night live up its Castlevania roots?

J1 fans, how’s it goin? There is a game that has caught my interest a while back and I have been keeping track it. It reminded me so much of Castlevania, more specifically Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. It has a dark, gothic feel that made Symphony such as good game. The more I see of this game, the more I want to see of it. For this installment of “On the Next Level”, I, D13 (formally Devildriver1313) am going to give you a look at the upcoming title that is said to be the “spiritual successor to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.”

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is a Kickstarter funded title being developed by ArtPlay and DICO, and published by 505 Games. Former Castlevania series producer Koji Igarashi is headlining the project. Bloodstained features the main protagonist Miriam who is afflicted with a curse the is slowly turning her body into crystal. To stop the curse, she must fight her way through a castle in search of a cure. From what I have seen thus far, the game looks promising. It has the same gothic feel as Castlevania with a dark melodic atmosphere clearly inspired by Symphony of the Night. The backgrounds are rich and beautiful, and graphically impressive even in its early stages. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night follows linear exploration where Miriam can roam freely about this beautifully crafted castle and other yet to-be-announced environments. Miriam’s character design is reminiscent of Ritcher Belmont and her abilities are that of Alucard. Like Symphony of the Night, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night will have RPG elements. Miriam can equip new weapons, armor and skills she acquires throughout her journey. One of her unique abilities is the powers she gains by collecting Crystal Shards. So far, these Crystal Shards grant her fire magic, the ability to toss bones and fire spears at her enemies. This feature caught my attention and I am intrigued to see what other powers Miriam will have. Miriam appears to use a variety of melee weapons such as swords, maces and a whip. Being able to switch between weapons for specific situations has become a dynamic that heightens gameplay and adds variety. Action titles such as God of War III and Devil May Cry emphasized this. Igarashi has been releasing updates on the development of his new venture. His latest update shows a Japanese inspired level that may appear in the game backed by a soundtrack worthy of Symphony of the Night composer, Michiru Yamane.

Though I am liking Bloodstained the more I see it, I can’t help but show concern of it suffering the same fate as “Mighty No. 9”. Might No. 9, created by Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune, was expected to be the spiritual successor to the Blue Bomber but multiple delays and less than inspiring gameplay kept it from being the great game it could have been. I’m not saying that Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is destined to head that route, but I am not overlooking it either. Hopefully, Koji Igarashi’s new brain child can stand out from the shadows of Castlevania and be a great title on its own. As of now, no release date has been set but I will keep a close watch on this for a date and possible demo.

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night 10 minute gameplay

Until then, I’ll see you “On the Next Level!”