This game was dropped for free for all PlayStation Plus subscribers and I will admit that a great deal of my gaming choices are decided by what they have on offer for the month as far as this is concerned. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose - every now and then the games are complete duds and sometimes you can't believe they are for "free" because they are so great.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is somewhere in the middle and After about 10 hours of gameplay I've come up with a list of what I consider to be pros and cons. I have a lot of opinions about this game so I decided to divide it up into two sections.
Let's finish up with the Cons of the game
Number 1: The load times man, the LOAD TIMES
I love retro style games because my "golden age" of gaming was in the late 80's and early 90's. Therefore, when we get a revamped game that is essentially Castlevania but with updated sound and slightly upgraded graphics I tend to want to play it. I am not a fan of how a lot of studios seem to be so focused on realistic graphics and forget about a little thing called "is the game any fun?"
Bloodstained is certainly fun for anyone that is an MetroidVania fan like me but since this is essentially a PS1 or maybe PS2 quality graphics, the excessively long load times just seems crazy to me. How is it possible that such a simplistic (by comparison to other more "modern' games) takes absolute ages to load?
When you first boot the game up, go ahead and go make something to eat or mop the floor or something because it is going to be a WHILE before you actually get to play anything. When I am playing a PS4 game and it takes 10 times as long to load as a game on the friggin Gamecube would take to load I can't help but feel that the developers did something terribly terribly wrong. God forbid you ever die too because it is going to be several minutes before you get another chance at playing. Mostly, when I die I will just switch it off and come back later because while I realize that it is just a few minutes, I have very little patience for this sort of thing in this day and age, especially when the game in question isn't even coming close the full processing capabilities of the console it is being played on.
Number 2: Crashes... and lots of them
Of course this isn't exclusive to just this game. For reasons I do not understand some PS4 games just do this and others don't. What is so frightening to me whenever this happens on PS4 is that in many instances - although thankfully not with Bloodstained - a large amount of your progress is also deleted when you get the blue screen crash.
I am one of those gamers that tends to save over the same save slot over and over again rather than have 15 save slots so when this occurs I will normally tend to just not play the game anymore.
Apparently the bugs and crashes are much worse on the Nintendo Switch and has many users deeming the game unusable because of it. These sorts of things shouldn't happen and in Bloodstained it has happened to me dozens of times. Thankfully, it only resulted in me losing any unsaved progress and didn't taint the entire file so I kept on playing.
Number 3: Familiars are almost completely useless
Familiars are found pretty early on in the game and they are basically just a pet that follows you around and attacks enemies for you. The problem is they rarely hit since their AI seems to be quite static in that they aim at a specific spot and normally by the time they execute their attacks the enemies aren't even standing there anymore because obviously the enemies are attacking you, not the familiar.
I love it when games give you "helpers" that will assist you in battle but in Bloodstained you are going to be very lucky if your familiar actually assists you at all. They also do absurdly low damage in the rare instance that they actually do hit anything. One of your own hits will easily do 10 to 20 times the damage of a strike from your familiar and therefore, while it will make you excited when you first get one of these guys, you are going to be let down because they rarely have anything to do with any sort of DPS. Sometimes they just roam off the screen and don't come back as well, which is always fun.
Number 4: Broken boss battles
I discovered this while fighting Gebel, who is presented as your primary enemy pretty early on. I have not yet finished the game but I would be willing to bet that there are some baddies after him.
While this has happened with other bosses as well, it has happened several times with Gebel. The bug seems to be triggered by when a boss has a "dash" attack and a lot of them do. If they dash to the far side of the screen they will sometimes go through the wall and then simply never return to the battle. Try as you may to lure them back out, the music continues, the fight is still going on, but you are now the only person that is going to be involved in it. Since you can not leave the room that boss battles are in once they begin, you have no choice but to restart the game and this brings us back to Con number 1.
I find all of these problems with the game to be quite unacceptable and since this game will soon be 2 years old I think we can safely guess that if they haven't been fixed by now, they are not going to be.
I still recommend giving this game a go, especially if you are a PS Plus member and got the game for "free" anyway. It can be frustrating at times but if you are willing to wait what I consider to be an excessive amount of time for loading and deal with the occasional crash and bug here and there it is still well worth the time you'll spend on it.
Here's a statement I want to make to devs that I think can be signed by every gamer in the world: Make your splash screens that advertise who made the game and what engines you used in creating it skippable after the first loadup. We don't care, we just want to play the damn game.