Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is a wonderful love letter to Castlevania fans. It's gothy, camp, and unabashedly old school. But it's also a meticulously crafted game that constantly rewards players for exploration and offers unbridled options in combat. For long-time Metroidvania fans, Ritual of the Night is an unmissable celebration of the genre from the mind of one if its chief architects, while for newcomers it's an accessible entry-point that's easy to pick up and oh so difficult to put down. Let's hope the next one doesn't take quite as long.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night could be one of the biggest surprises this year. For Castlevania fans, this represents the best chance you’ll ever have to experience that franchise’s golden days. For everyone else, this game is a tightly paced and engaging explore-’em-up that will devour your attention span and reward you appropriately. If you can forgive the lack of polish, it’s hard not to recommend this, especially when it feels so satisfying to play.
Bloodstained doesn’t hide what it is or where it came from; it embraces that. I wish it had been a new Castlevania game, but it doesn’t need to have the name to champion everything that made that excellent.
If you are looking for a game that captures pretty much everything that was great about Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, look no further: Bloodstained is the real deal, with a vast castle to explore, tight action, tons of upgrades and plenty of loot. That being said, the game is not perfect and some might argue that it sticks a little bit too close to its roots. That didn't stop me from enjoying the hell out of it though - after all, the game is exactly what the Kickstarter campaign promised.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is as close to perfect as fans of metroidvania games could hope for. Exploration is absolutely a blast; the enemies are as enjoyable to kill as they are creative, and aspects such as backtracking and grinding are actually fun. Plus, plenty of other game modes await after the final boss is slain, such as Boss Rush. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night has enough to keep gamers hooked for nights on end, and it’s only going to get bigger as time goes on.
Samurai Shodown is yet another fighting game that is fun to play but suffers in its core feature set. The hardcore fighting game fanatic will love it, but the mainstream consumer will find it offers much less than other titles on the market.
If you’re not keen on learning by jumping into the fray and taking your lumps, Samurai Shodown likely won’t do much for you. But when there’s another player facing you down, Samurai Shodown’s bouts are a fantastic mix of fighting disciplines. It’s accessible, nuanced, and flashy, and the ways it asks you to bet big to win make matches as exciting as they are tense.
It demands a high level of technical skill and lacks the chaotic hilarity you’d find in Super Smash (only bob-ombs on high). That being said, it’s a gorgeous game, and I could probably rope friends in for the style alone. If you have a community of fighting game aficionados or some pals who love over the top Wu-Tang movies, there’s a lot to be found in Samurai Shodown.
One of the more unique entries in the fighting game genre in recent years. It’s flashy, stylish and unique, and it drives home the importance of fighting game fundamentals that will help create the next great FGC legends in the coming years. It’s beautiful story mode and bevy of versus challenges will keep anyone occupied for quite some times, though it’s disappointing tutorial modes can do with a bit of patching in additional lessons in the future.
It's hard to resent a game as unapologetically dweeby as The Sinking City. It's an old-fashioned, bookish mystery rooted in the mythology and mysteries of a pulpy, cult-favorite mid-century American novelist--an effort not without charm, to be sure. But no matter how fond your affection for H.P. Lovecraft and the idea of a wide-eyed, slow-burn literary adventure, the poor design, cliched writing, and lumbering pace make this far more tedious than delightful, let alone unsettling or terrifying.
The design of the monsters and the Innsmouthers are fantastic and the world building is creepy and fun. However, The Sinking City gets hamstrung by an overall chunkiness it doesn’t quite recover from. It’s hard to stay invested when combat is terrible and glitches and crashes ruin pacing and progression. This is a game demands a lot of patience and tolerance.