Fans still mourning the abandonment of the Castlevania series will have something new and interesting to sink their teeth into with the coming of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. The game was funded on Kickstarter back in 2015, when the total funds collected amounted well over five million dollars—five times the initial goal. Fans were thrilled over the prospect of a new game helmed by Koji Igarashi (the brains behind many Castlevania games), and so far the game is looking suitably compelling, and reminiscent of the series it’s based on.
Our look at Bloodstained during E3 included a quick 20-minute demo taking place, for the most part, on a ship. We jumped right into the game as Miriam, a young woman who is slowly succumbing to an alchemist’s curse which slowly crystallizes her skin. The goal so far appears to be finding and stopping Miriam’s old friend, Gebel, as he summons a demon-filled castle with which to threaten humanity. Along the way, of course, Miriam’s own humanity is at risk. While fighting through the ship, we (as Miriam) picked up some cool-looking weapons, played around with her combat abilities, and faced down an intimidatingly huge boss enemy before crashing onto land. The demo was cut off not long after making landfall, but we still got a look at the town surrounding Bloodstained’s much-discussed demon-infested castle, and fought off a few straggling demons for good measure.
In terms of both style and gameplay, Bloodstained played just like a Castlevania title, which is a good sign for fans of the genre. The game’s narrative and lore are new, but everything in its look hearkens back to the aesthetic of Castlevania. This wasn’t surprising, as it is widely known that Bloodstained is intended as a spiritual successor to the series. The demo allowed us to interact with a few important NPCs, and get a brief look into their characters as well as a system for creating alchemical substances and the game’s system for buying and selling goods. It’s still hard to tell how NPC interactions will play into the game overall, but there will be opportunities to speak with them and take on side-quests.
You don’t need to have played Castlevania to dive into Bloodstained, as it is a new IP, but Bloodstained was absolutely made with fans of Castlevania in mind. Whether you’re looking to recreate the experience in updated 2.5D graphics, or explore this genre for the first time, Bloodstained certainly looks like a promising candidate.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is coming later this year for Steam (PC, Mac, and Linux), Xbox One, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PS Vita.