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Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night - Short Review

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I mentioned in the "what's new" thread some weeks ago that I began playing this (on the PS4) although the game came out over a year ago. 

I finished the game. Here are my thoughts:

Pros

+Nice start to new franchise with original (although arguably very cliche) lore. 

+Graphics were good (PS3 level), sound and music was very good.

+Controls were very smooth. 

+SO many items and weapons!

+The cooking and crafting system are very fun. 

+Some great personal touches such as the piano sonata.

+Lots of SoTN references/homages. 

Cons:

-Environments didn't feel different, just slightly different background - so what?

-Most weapons are pretty much the same, and you can easily finish the game with just the (overpowered) great swords.

-Same thing with the shards. So many shards, but I ended up only using a handful of them. 

-Bosses too easy (didn't die once) and not at all memorable. 

-Cast of characters are fun, but far too few.

-The plot twists were so predictable it was actually a bit lame.

 

Despite the negatives, overall it was quite a fun game and I'd give it a score of around 85/100. Honestly, it's much better than most Metroidvanias, but it's not Symphony of the Night. That said, I think given everything they've learned, perhaps a sequel could live up to SoTN.

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I couldn't really get into it, it was pretty boring and I didn't feel the movement was smooth at all.

Would anyone actually buy a sequel after what we experienced with this release? It still has problems and I don't think they've delivered all of the Kickstarter rewards even 5 years later.

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2 hours ago, Code Monkey said:

I couldn't really get into it, it was pretty boring and I didn't feel the movement was smooth at all.

Would anyone actually buy a sequel after what we experienced with this release? It still has problems and I don't think they've delivered all of the Kickstarter rewards even 5 years later.

The game has a 95% positive score on Steam. Has sold over 1 million copies. A bunch of free updates are being planned.

So yeah, I'd say many people will purchase a sequel, regardless of whether that includes you 🙂 

All that said, I do have to admit the game did have a few bugs that I found "strange",  some even a bit funny, but overall didn't detract from the experience. 

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Posted (edited)

I don't think any of the game's issues are really tied to the franchise itself, so I'd definitely like a sequel.
Most of its problems are entirely technical (one of the few games where it actually heavily impacted the gameplay experience for me), related to absurd kickstarter bloat, or in the graphical presentation which just fell incredibly flat comapred to SOTN which it obviously wants to compare itself to.

I mean, there's already one other game in the series that managed to come out before ROTN did, and that game is absolutely brilliant! It's probably the best thing to come out of the kickstarter so far.

Edited by Sumez

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I thought the game was fantastic.  Once I saw the specs for Switch in a kickstarter update I preordered the PC.  I was concerned about how many cuts needed to be made and it turns out I made the right choice changing platform.  If they make a sequel it will be a day one buy for me.  They had to learn a lot making the first and I think they would succeed in improving with a followup.

Scaling back the shards a bit would be nice.  The variety was cool but I only ever experimented with a few.  SOTN having a few spells and transformations kept the quality up.  Other than that I am fine.  The story doesn't mean much to me in this type of game.  It can be as cliche or anime as they want.  I just read it and move on to the gameplay. 

 

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2 minutes ago, zeppelin03 said:

They had to learn a lot making the first and I think they would succeed in improving with a followup.

Hopefully one thing they learned was that making everything 3D and/or basing it on a ready-made framework didn't save them the budget they had imagined, and definitely didn't help the game's visual appeal either.
I feel like we could have gotten a much better, tighter, less buggy, and faster result result with a completely 2D game, and maybe the game would have also run properly on Switch then, and didn't have to load for minutes on PS4. Of course that's still a hard sell in the 2010s, and probably the 2020s also, but even with 3D models they probably should have shot for a more specialized game engine...

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Posted (edited)

Btw, it's worth noting that COTM actually wasn't the "classic mode" promised by the Kickstarter (and it's not the secret CV1-styled area either). This was announced when they released it, but I think it's easy to miss. It's still slated for later this year, and I think it'll basically just be new mode in ROTN with a bunch of new stages, added with a patch?

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Some of the other upcoming stuff sounds interesting, but honestly I'd much rather like to see them just leave this game behind, and focus on a sequel.
It's the endless curse of Kickstarters.

Edited by Sumez
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7 minutes ago, Sumez said:

Hopefully one thing they learned was that making everything 3D and/or basing it on a ready-made framework didn't save them the budget they had imagined, and definitely didn't help the game's visual appeal either.
I feel like we could have gotten a much better, tighter, less buggy, and faster result result with a completely 2D game, and maybe the game would have also run properly on Switch then, and didn't have to load for minutes on PS4. Of course that's still a hard sell in the 2010s, and probably the 2020s also, but even with 3D models they probably should have shot for a more specialized game engine...

I would prefer a 2D game over the current art style.  Lots of indie games have great pixel style art now.  I think of Dead Cells as an example of levels and enemies.  Something like that would work for me.  SOTN style sprites would be ideal but I can get why they may scale back a bit.

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Posted (edited)

There's a general idea that 2D graphics are just more expensive due to the excessive work that has to be put into the animations, etc. provided you aren't just going for an old-school "retro" look.
But looking at all the delays, and complete graphical + engine overhauls ROTN got over the time it was in development, I think it's time to throw that notion in the garbage bin. Creating the assets might take more work, but everything else regarding the game development and the eventual performance of the game just gets way more convoluted from all the overhead brought in by it.

I think a LOT of people want a completely 2D game, but the biggest strike against it is probably still the publishers trying to read a broader audience than that.

Edited by Sumez

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2 hours ago, Sumez said:

Hopefully one thing they learned was that making everything 3D and/or basing it on a ready-made framework didn't save them the budget they had imagined, and definitely didn't help the game's visual appeal either.

I'm a bit confused by what you mean "making everything 3D"? The only part in the game which was 3D-ish was the clock tower bit, which I thought was great! 

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Posted (edited)

The graphics, and the whole engine the game runs in despite being a 2D game. There are multiple places in the game where things just act weird due to being actors in a 3D space, and the only area where it actually pays off is that tower area! And I agree that was kinda cool. (even if the boss fight there was abysmal :P)

Edited by Sumez

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