Castlevania successor Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night looks the part in its new story trailer

Kicking back in the Gothic Hell Zone

Castlevania is on its way back, whether Konami want it to or not. Minus the license but not much else, Symphony of the Night director Koji Igarashi and his new crew, Artplay, have been busy on Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. Some were disappointed that we didn’t see anything new of the game at E3, and now it seems the team were busy putting the finishing touches on their new story trailer, which you can rub your eyes all over within, and even play a new demo build if you backed the game on Kickstarter.

Those flush enough to back the game for $60 or more back when it was funding on Kickstarter have been granted access to a new beta demo today, presumably running the same build of the game as shown in the trailer below. It all looks very authentically Castlevania, even if new protagonist Miriam isn’t quite as fabulous-goth as Alucard or leather-daddy as Simon Belmont. Still, there is something to be said for her Stained Glass Demon Gothic Lolita style, even if it’s a little busy.

Mechanically, the game is shaping up to be a spiritual successor to Symphony of the Night, although Miriam’s ability to collect boss abilities lends her a bit of an Aria of Sorrow vibe. Sadly, nobody here is coming close to challenging the fashion god that is Soma Cruz, but it’s nice to see fresh elements adopted on top of that familiar Metroidvania format. The enemy designs are pretty cool so far as well, being a little more grim and twisted than Castlevania’s oft-whimsical Hammer Horror featured creatures.

If there’s one thing I’m a little worried about, it’s that the shading techniques they’re using aren’t going far enough to differentiate foreground from background. While I like the character designs, they don’t stand out quite as strongly as, say, the more recent Guilty Gear games. Still, it’s not a major concern, and I’ve heard positive rumblings from those who have played previous builds of the game. Any backers among you grubby lot with thoughts to share on the state of the new beta build?

Igarashi and pals don’t have a hard release date worked out for Bloodstained, but apparently they’ll be announcing a rough target ‘very soon’. Until then, you can wishlist the game on Steam, and enjoy Inti Creates’ excellent retro spinoff Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon in the meantime.

13 Comments

  1. NailBombed says:

    Looking ….. well, like Castlevania in the Metroidvania style, which is great. Really really hope it’ll not suck (puns incoming, I fear).

  2. durrbluh says:

    Quite the dichotomy of “yay Castlevania successor” and “rubbery level art that looks like it was built in an early 200X iteration of Poser 3D”. Hopefully the final product is notably polished over this.

    • Addie says:

      Yeah, those graphics do look astonishingly awful compared to the beautiful hand-drawn artwork they used in the kickstarter videos. In fact, I would even go as far as to say they’re an even bigger step down than the Mighty #9 kickstarter to actual game changes were.

      Symphony of the Night is one of the few games that still really holds up well graphically from the Playstation One era; you’d have to hope that Iga of all people would have realised why.

      • anon459 says:

        Which is interesting because the prequel, Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon, has some of the best pixel art I’ve seen. I wish they’d just used pixel art here too. Everything here has that ultra-shiny gloss that games so often suffer from lately. Even the animations look squishy and unsatisfying here, probably because of the need to be 60fps.

        For me, this just confirms that people who complain about pixel art don’t know what they’re talking about and that pixel art is often 100% the best way to go.

        • icemann says:

          As a HUGE fan of the super nintendo – PS1 era Castlevanias (Super Castlevania, Rondo of Blood and Symphony of the Night) I’d have loved it if they’d gone that kind of graphic style.

          I’m a backer, but something about this new graphic style in the videos so far just hasn’t done it for me. Looks too high rez and too shiny. Give me 2D sprites.

          Now with all that said I quite enjoyed Dracula X chronicles on the PSP. But visually its SNES style graphics that most do it for me.

  3. Nevard says:

    I’m hoping that it is fun to play because watching it come all this way through development, I’ve given up any hope that it will end up being nice to look at.

    The concept art was really pretty.
    The art style they actually went with was, a mistake.

  4. ironman Tetsuo says:

    KS backer and SotN super-fan, I’m excited for this but still really disappointed with the art style, it all looks so stiff and quite bland.

  5. DatonKallandor says:

    Man that is one ugly looking game. Go with high quality shaded 3D for a cohesive art style or pixel art, or retro N64, or anything with style but not whatever the hell that is supposed to be. Abyss Odyssey came out how many years ago, using a similar art style, while still managing to look better on a tiny budget.

    • Addie says:

      Dead Cells looks fantastic, from a seven person team. Salt and Sanctuary is stylish and atmospheric, and certainly has its good-looking moments, from a two person team. Guacamelee! looks great and stylish, from a 14 person team. Bloodstained seems to have blown $5.5m on looking shite, from a director known for phenomenal-looking games. It is a Metroidvania mystery, most perplexing.

  6. Janichsan says:

    If there’s one thing I’m a little worried about, it’s that the shading techniques they’re using aren’t going far enough to differentiate foreground from background.

    That’s what you get when you ask your Kickstarter backers which shader style they prefer. There were other styles on vote where the characters stood out better, but they didn’t get the majority vote.

    That should be a lesson about design by committee.

  7. Jaydra says:

    I’m enjoying the gameplay, especially the customization options. Right from the get go you’re picking up a variety of weapons, and the ability to pick up shards from enemies and use their abilities is neat (especially since surplus shards upgrade the power of your existing abilities).

    However, I’ll echo what so many have said, and say that the game is hideous. Not only is it hard to determine what is background and foreground, but everything looks cheap, floaty, horribly shaded. It’s a real shame, because the style of the original Kickstarter pitch was a big reason why I loved the idea.

    I’m still curious to play it (hey, I already paid for it), and the gameplay is shaping up nicely, but it’s hard to get past how ugly it looks.

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