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.