Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night Reviews
On PS4 and PC, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is a lovely homage to classic Castlevania with a collection of smart quality-of-life improvements and impeccable craftsmanship. Koji Igarashi has been hailed as a visionary who helped define the “Metroidvania” genre, and his return to it is worth celebrating. Unfortunately, the Nintendo Switch version of Bloodstained suffers from significant technical problems, and it’s difficult to recommend over other platforms.
Symphony of the Night may be the most famous of Igarashi’s works, but the series of micro-sized follow-ups he produced on the Game Boy Advance showed portability was a boon to its newfound RPG-like mechanics. Games like Harmony of Dissonance squeezed much of what was wonderful about those games into a form factor that allowed picking up and playing wherever you might go. Bloodstained appeared primed to offer this again for a modern age, with one contiguous experience between the console and portable forms. However, the Nintendo Switch version of Bloodstained struggles to deliver an experience on par with other platforms.
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Interconnected level design that unfolds beautifully
Versatile Shards and weapons provide combat flexibility
New quality-of-life features modernize while fitting right in with classic gameplay
Goofy sense of humor keeps gothic tone feeling light and enjoyable
Visual fidelity is significantly downgraded on Nintendo Switch, compromising beautiful designs
Frame rate and input issues make combat feel sluggish and frustrating
Long load times break up the flow