Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is an auteur project by the creator of Symphony of the Night after he left Konami. Like many SotN fans, I was excited for it.
This is porn. Having played Order of Ecclesia, I was prepared for some skeeviness when I heard there was a female PC, but I was unprepared for just how far Igarashi was willing to go now that he had access to full 3D. I returned it the day after I bought it, because I simply couldn’t stomach it.
The opening informs us that, similarly to Shanoa from Ecclesia, the protagonist was subjected to horrific experiments that gave her magic superpowers. Instead of losing her personality in a magic accident, she fell into a coma for ten years, but the end result of making her completely dependent on her male handler is the same.
Once actual gameplay starts, we get to see that the protagonist is dressed in a petticoat designed to show off her enormous boobs, while the male characters are dressed in three layers. You can’t see it here, but her idle animation in these cutscenes is a ridiculously exaggerated hip sway. (Also, this is minor compared to everything else, but those horns are only an accessory, not an actual part of her body, because God forbid these “horrific experiments” change her body in any meaningful way, that might get in the way of players’ wank fantasies.)
Once we get control, we see that her animations are absolutely ridiculous and designed to show off her body as much as possible. Her default stance is to daintily stand on one foot, definitely something a warrior would do, and her default attack is a sexy kick. Not pictured here: when she uses an actual weapon, instead of swinging it normally like the Castlevania protagonists, she rotates her whole body to do a boobs-and-butt pose.
Then the first boss is a giant naked lady monster with a demonic mouth for a vagina.
But the tipping point for me was discovering that every time you get a new ability, you have to watch a little animation of Miriam getting penetrated by a magic crystal while she screams in agony.
Every. Single. Time.
There is no non-porn explanation for this. The creators are absolutely getting off to this, and they absolutely expect the player to as well.
In addition to all of this, the game is just graphically sloppy. Of just the opening, which is the place you’d expect the most polish: The sense of connection between the rooms is terrible, which is important for a game centered around exploration. The deck of the ship has pouring, torrential rain; you go between the deck and the inside of the ship through holes in the ship’s ceiling, but there’s not even a hint of rain from the inside. Even worse, the save room is blatantly from the castle:
What is with those stairs leading into the foreground? I kept assuming there was some room they led to, but they’re just for decoration. And the very idea of massive stairs highlighted with carpet in a Metroidvania being purely decorative is utterly bizarre. The save room also doesn’t sway like the ship does, because it’s obviously supposed to be part of the castle, even though you haven’t reached the castle yet.
There’s also a bizarre mechanic where you activate cannons to break down the walls in your own ship, which is so stupid. Why does the ship have cannons pointed towards its own walls. Why is the ship untraversable without knocking down walls. This was reasonable in Castlevania where the castle explicitly was not supposed to make sense, but this isn’t part of the castle.
These graphical issues aren’t something you would necessarily quit over, but you’d expect an indie passion project to put more effort into. It gives the feeling that they did only the bare minimum, and then got back to modeling boobs.
So, nope. Your unbridled horniness lost you a customer, Igarashi. I play Metroidvanias for fun action adventure, not to watch sexy ladies getting brutalized. If you absolutely must make a porn game, be honest about it instead of cramming porn into an otherwise respectable game like an ugly tumor.