For those that have been following the development of Castlevania
spiritual successor Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
, it's taken a few years to get to this point. With the ultimate question being - does it live up to its inspiration? Thankfully, the answer is a resounding yes.
Outside of the usual, “Oh hey, I’ll come back to that ledge after I learn how to double jump”, which can be found here – the joy of exploration in Bloodstained is mostly made up of having no clear idea what you’ll need to reach a particular location. How you might deal with water exactly. Will it be via swimming or draining a lake. And what exactly, are those shiny reflective surfaces for. In addition to equipping armour and weapons in the form of daggers, swords, two handed axes, whips, and spears, all spells and key abilities are part of a Shard system. Which can be though of as the crystallised essence of the enemies you defeat. This extends to the key abilities like double-jump.
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It’s an inventive approach and one that’s rich in creativity. For every flame breath spell learned from defeating a multi-headed dragon, there’s a fairy you can summon as a familial healer because that winged thing you just thwacked out of the air looks like a twisted version of the creatures Link loves to bottle. And preserve. Freak that he is.