Usually, I’m not one to get anticipated for Kickstarter games, but when gothic horror and former Castlevania director Koji Igarashi is involved, it’s hard hard for me to ignore it. So when I got a chance to check out the upcoming Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night AND interview the man himself after, it should go without saying that I was more than a little excited. I admit, I had high expectations going into the demo room at 505 Games’ meeting room, and I’m very happy to report that my expectations weren’t let down in the slightest.
The demo began at the start of a new Cathedral level, highly based on those from the Castlevania series, full of massive gears and even bigger church bells. Miriam, the protagonist, started the level off unarmed, but it was only a matter of time until I found a short sword, and soon after that, a katana, a claymore, knives, and yes, even a whip. As soon as I got to swinging that sword, it dawned on me: Bloodstained really is Castlevania in everything but name. You crack open lanterns for gold, fight bone-throwing skeletons, and get tormented by flying medusa heads (now named Dulluhan heads). It’s classic Iga game charm, all set to a truly rocking soundtrack.
As the level went on, not only did I pick up more weapons and equipment, I also got gifted with special abilities that will presumably be given out by bosses in the full game. Chief among them were Castlevania standbys double-jump and fireball, but I also managed to pick up a very special ability after sending enough Dulluhan heads to an early grave—a Dulluhan head familiar of my very own.
The familiar came in handy when it came time for the demo’s amazing boss fight, Bloodless, a female vampire whom Miriam encounters soaking in a ceramic bath of blood. But Bloodless isn’t your average vampiress, she uses blood as clothing, and much like Bayonetta, a weapon. Bloodless flings powerful torrents of blood at you in multiple creative ways, from firing off blood-crafted umbrellas like javelins to literally making it rain hazardous blood. It’s a fantastic encounter that really pushed my (admittedly limited) Bloodstained skills to their limit and was a fantastic way to end the demo.
Once the demo ended, I was able to talk to the project lead himself, Koji Igarashi, about horror, monsters, and more, which you can see above.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night releases in 2018.
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