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.
If there’s one thing that stands above anything else for me in a game, it’s if they achieve something unique. When focusing on the most recent releases, this is largely limited to looking at what has come before it. However, sometime later you can also start to take into account what comes after. I’d say it’s similar to the whole phrase “____ hasn’t aged well.” Yet instead of from perspective of how the ever moving bar leaves some titles behind, it’s more about about how the level of iteration dilutes the original.
I’ve feared nostalgia for years. Recommending or highlighting something simply because I enjoyed it as a kid feels irresponsible. I usually want to talk about a game’s current day relevance. Yet as I frowned upon analyzing with rose-tinted glasses, I had a lingering sense of doubt. It seems like a silly question ask, but I started to wonder if I was being influenced by nostalgia when choosing what to play.
This review was written for my editorial and critical writing class.
The Castlevania franchise dates back to 1986 with its original release on the Nintendo Entertainment System. In the last decade, the series’ popularity started to dwindle until the 2010 reboot Castlevania: Lords of Shadow for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 reinvigorated the franchise. Western developer MercuryStream changed the series’ direction from an exploration-focused dark fantasy game to an action game more in line with traditional fantasy seen in Dungeons and Dragons and Lord of the Rings. It was praised by reviewers for its polished action and more serious approach to a Castlevania story. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 builds off that foundation, but not always in the right ways.