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Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night whips it good today

No need to cry bloody tears

Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night, the crowdfunded return of Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night director Koji Igarashi, is out now. Produced by his new studio, ArtPlay, it's a series successor in all but name. There might be a shortage of Belmonts or Draculas, but there's a big gothic castle to explore, bosses to clobber, and a bundle of RPG elements to pad out the platform exploration and brawling. Below, a very tongue-in-cheek launch trailer, featuring Igarashi hamming it up in front of the camera again, daft character customisation, and free DLC plans.

More than Symphony Of The Night (although that's what the title is obviously invoking), Bloodstained reminds me of Casltevania: Order Of Ecclesia on the Nintendo DS. The similarities run all the way down to the primary protagonist having magic tattoos which let her steal abilities from monsters and re-purpose them. Igarashi was just a producer, rather than director on that game, but I'm hoping it manages to recapture that fine balance between RPG flexibility and tricky platform combat. Brilliant as Symphony could be, it was a little on the easy side if you explored a bit.

Matthew Castle is apparently down in the video dungeon working on something Bloodstained-related, but any reviews or deeper coverage may take some time. The game launched alongside an enormous day one patch, the scope of which has surprised those who got in the door early. That said, I've heard good things from early adopters. It sounds like Igarashi remembers how to Dracula with the best of them. Plus, the game is only going to grow, with plans for thirteen free add-ons, including a third playable character, online multiplayer and even a roguelike mode.

Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night is out now on Steam, GOG and Humble for £31.49/€35.99/35.99, with an optional £8/€10/$10 bit of DLC containing the Kickstarter backer goodies, including a boss fight against Igarashi himself, and a sword-whip weapon, for people who couldn't make up their minds in the 'sword vs whip' poll early in development. It's published by 505 Games.

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Dominic Tarason

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