A lot of hopes are riding on Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, the spiritual successor to classic Castlevania headed by series veteran Koji ‘Iga’ Igarashi – but impressions of early builds were lukewarm, particularly regarding the bland 2.5D visuals. 505 Games has taken that criticism to heart, and has a revamped art style to show for it in a new trailer for Bloodstained’s June 18 release date.
This might be the first time ever that a game trailer has directly responded to a comment that the aesthetic “looks like poop,” which is the most memorable of the many community criticisms cited in the video. It initially brings to mind that bizarre ‘accolades’ trailer (opens in new tab) for Square-Enix’s laughably bad bomb The Quiet Man (opens in new tab), but Bloodstained actually has something to show for its critiques. In response to all the online hate, Igarashi and his team have overhauled the lighting, textures, and backgrounds in Bloodstained, and it’s looking far better for their efforts. Where once there was washed-out colors and muddy-looking textures, there are now vibrant characters that really pop against the darker backdrops.
The most striking improvement shown off in trailer’s many comparison shots has to be the ship level and its boss fight against a colossal sea monster, who looks like she’s actually made of water now, instead of bright blue Play-Doh. The smallest of details have also been adjusted, like the way our hero Miriam relaxes on an ornate couch underneath a creepy statue, or the angles on some of the cutscenes. Considering that Bloodstained was once the most-funded game in Kickstarter history (opens in new tab), this new aesthetic should hopefully help meet the high expectations.
All those added lighting effects have done wonders for the look of each stage, though I’m a bit nervous that the visuals might’ve gone a bit too far in the other direction – that lava level in particular is blindingly bright. Another criticism I’ve heard is that the levels look a bit too empty, and this graphical overhaul doesn’t seem to have changed that bit of design. You can see Bloodstained’s new art style up close when it comes to PC, PS4, and Xbox One on June 18, followed by the Nintendo Switch version on June 25.
Bloodstained is among our most anticipated new games of 2019 (opens in new tab). See what’s happening this week in games and entertainment with our latest Release Radar: