About a year ago I wrote an impressions piece on Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night’s E3 2016 demo. The ultimate point was that it’s a title that dares only to find how close it can get to Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow without receiving legal action from Konami. Unfortunately, what has been shown since has done little to sway my position. I stand by that original article in full, outside of Inti Creates no longer being involved in development.
In presenting this argument, I’m often asked “well, what do you want from Bloodstained, then?” It’s a hard question to give a direct answer to. Nevertheless, just looking at Castlevania’s history shows that there’s definitely room to wiggle around within the pre-existing formula. However, the example I’ll be using is from a game Koji Igarashi had little to no involvement with – Circle of the Moon.
Seeing a random title with a big publisher’s name on it is always sort of a surprise. I found Crimson Tears for the PlayStation 2 in a game store’s bargin bin, complete with Capcom’s logo on it. Released in 2004, this title completely passed under my radar… Probably because I was deep in a Final Fantasy XI obsession. Little did I know it actually shares some blood with The Bouncer. DreamFactory is a common developer between the two. Unsurprisingly, given their previous PS2 release’s middling reception, Crimson Tears is not quite a hidden gem.