Poll

How good was ROTN ???

Better than all Castlevania titles
0 (0%)
Better than SOTN
0 (0%)
On par with SOTN
1 (14.3%)
SOTN>>>>ROTN
5 (71.4%)
I like Math…..
1 (14.3%)

Total Members Voted: 7

Voting closed: January 27, 2022, 04:58:43 AM

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Offline zangetsu468

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Bloodstained ROTN Review (long overdue)
« on: January 06, 2022, 11:54:53 PM »
0
Belated review of Bloodstained ROTN 07.02.21

Sup folks. The fact is that life has been too busy to get around to this… So here it finally is!

Disclaimer: The recap of anomalies I've run into and previously mentioned(some of this will be recalling the post on the ‘first sign rises with the full moon’ thread) are littered throughout this review, mainly in the ‘Less Redeeming Factors’ and some in the ‘Overall Verdict’ sections.

Gameplay/ Controls

Easily one of the best parts of the game and why CV fans keep returning for more. It wasn’t exactly as I like them - floatier & more towards SOTN than AoS - there was nothing inherently bad and they were inherently sound.

One gripe is the use of R3. I would’ve preferred they limited this to the underwater sections(probably unpopular opinion) or as an aiming tool for projectile weapons, rather than use it to push/ pull blocks (see ‘Less Redeeming Factors’ section).

Total =  8/ 10

Music

Disregarding all the negatives instances above, I say without prejudice for myself that the tracks - despite having Yamane - aren't as memorable for me as CV's were. I really prefer Forgotten Jade out of all the tracks although I don’t find them super-memorable.

I do believe we’re no longer in an age that’s as known for iconic tracks that were prevalent in the mid 80’s - 90’s… (I found the same thing with Metroid: Dread and I didn’t dislike any of the tracks, I actually appreciated that they didn’t recycle music in obvious scenarios and it was sparingly done at all(like using the Lower Norfair theme simply in ‘hot’ areas).

Total = 6.5/ 10

Graphics, Presentation, Art Style & Consistency

While the graphics are decent and some of the effects are beautiful (such as the rain/ water on the intro stage) and I appreciate some of the the backgrounds turning while still in a 2d perspective, some of the levels can look static or bland and just feel like they're missing a few minor details, touches or secondary activity in the background. (Like the Castle entrance windows opening and shutting in SOTN with the occasional sound of thunder - I realise this wasn't going to look or feel exactly like SOTN, this is just an example. Metroid Dread uses similar examples via organic life, which was also a trait of Samus Returns).

I'm not personally a huge fan of the style of graphics although for 2.5d they've done a reasonable job and I can appreciate Iga's team revamping the game prior to release. It's disappointing to me that the only piece of artwork (lovely as it is) is painting in the title screen, one thing which does irk me quite a bit is the blown up character sprites during dialogue, because there was a lot of well drawn concept artwork on the Bloodstained KS page and surely they could have used some of this?? I understand leaving the start menu in 3d to showcase Miriam's customisable outfit, I still think there should be some traditional artwork featured, even if these were purely in character portraits during dialogue. For art’s sake, I also appreciated the earlier art where Miriam had bigger hips and a smaller chest. Given Dominique was introduced as a character, this would’ve balanced the books and created more consistent artwork, which honestly, there was nothing wrong with.

There were other minor issues as well, the giant’s den for example, with the large enemies  may have never looked 100% accurate. It simply felt that until the boss fight, the regular demons were executed lazily.

On the plus side, certain areas such as Gebel’s area in the castle and in particular the magma caves(?) area and Glacial Tomb, were really where the graphics and environments shone and stood out more imho.

The biggest disappointment in this department is that the original concept image of in-game graphics looked 5 x better than the final product. This not only screams development issues, it also indicates a sense of the team severely under-delivering a product that isn’t necessarily visually true to its predecessor, SOTN. I’m personally not a graphics person, but I lean towards pixels (it’s not a purist thing, it’s a CV thing. A game like Metroid, whether 2d platformer or fps I prefer 3d in both scenarios). While I appreciate Iga releasing that dramatic trailer with the graphical tweaks, it was great that the fans were appreciated and listened to. However, when playing the game you also realise that yes that was a blessing, but at the same time it was like picking the hardest, most saturated IG filter, applying it to the entire game and saying “job well done”.  One fully understands they didn’t have time to overhaul the entire graphics, but in fairness, nobody forced the concept imagery out of them and they had time to deliver, but missed the mark, conceptually.

Total = 6.5/ 10

Story & Narrative/ Design & Plot Progression

Story & Narrative were okay, nothing we haven’t seen before, but nothing bad per se. Not a whole lot to comment on here.

(3 / 5)

While the overall design, progression etc was generally okay, telling Miriam she needs a ticket to ride the demon train is like telling NES Superman that he needs a pass to get on the Metropolis Subway… I really don’t get this, it’s very Spirited Away, the idea is a bit too fanciful and creates more restraint than wonder, particularly in the playthrough I experienced at the time. The main grievances I hold here are in the ‘Less Redeeming Factors’ section below.

The other element which is a big no-no in this day and age is having to farm and kill a random jellyfish above ground, to get the ‘breathing under water’ soul. That’s some straight up Simon’s Quest-Red Crystal-while proposing to a woman who is actually a cliff-bullshit right there. At the time I was hearing that a boss didn’t make it to the final game, a boss from Curse 1, so they simply made it easy by letting you get access underwater, right??? WRONG.. Had the soul been 100% drop everything time, it would’ve been somewhat excusable, but it wasn’t. Honestly this is poor form and adds nothing of value to this game.

(1/ 5)

Total = 4 / 10

BONUS POINTS’

* Redeeming Factors

- Secret 8-bit area & Secrets in general (Iga incorporated these well) +1
- Multiple additional characters (Zangetsu & Bloodwench); Replayability +1
- Hard mode, which substantially increased Boss Rush’s difficulty; Replayability +1
- Multiple endings & Cutting the moon in half, not once, but twice!! ⚔️ 🌕 💫💥 🌗🌓; Replayability +1
- Innovation: The inverse function; literally turns the game on it’s head +1

(+5)

* Less Redeeming factors (Mainly Game Glitches)

- Upon starting the game for the first time, it crashed on PS4. Once I downloaded patch 1.10, it's not done this since, but I was like wth. I thought initially only the Switch version was plagued with crashing and slowdown issues. -1
- The Livre Ex Machina’s room where you have to use R3 to pull out the blocks to progress, it didn't work the first 2 times I tried it (and no, nothing was done differently to when it worked.) on the third occasion I had already turned the system off and on…. I consulted a walkthrough and it worked on that playthrough...
It seemed that exiting the room and going back in for whatever reason changed something, but no point speculating further is all I can say on that.
If there was a indication that the game had glitched out or something, it would’ve saved a few valuable hours of time. That was rubbish because it should never have been a thing.  zer0; no penalty awarded(Penalised in above section)
- Loading in general and loading related bugs. Example: The boss fight with Zangetsu on the train, I got to the end of the carriages where the Train is and as the fight is about to start, all of a sudden Miriam is outside the boss door, with the timer still running. Not knowing what to make of it, I fudge around for a bit and have enough time left to run back to the start, thinking "maybe you have to escape or jump ship" etc... The game just glitched me out of that screen and I was stuck until the timer ran out. - 1
- During the Dominique fight, she actually bugged out and disappeared off the current astral plane (similar to how you can jump screens in SFII’ Rainbow Edition) with invisibility. She couldn’t hit me, however, I could hit her (score! I guess… ). It wasn’t for the whole fight. zer0; no penalty awarded(odd, but can live with)
- Acquiring the underwater soul or rather knowing how to (mentioned above) zer0; no penalty awarded(Penalised in above section)

(-2)

BONUS POINTS Total = +3


OVERALL VERDICT


I had been looking forward to this mostly after enjoying the shite out Curse of the Moon 1(particularly the second playthrough and how it ends really boosted how good the game was, similarly to DoS’ Julius Playthrough, which I preferred to Soma’s). Initially upon playing Curse 1 (and now Curse 2) I had a suspicion I would prefer this series more than ROTN, although the stages mid-bosses were a bit more Shovel-Knight-esque as opposed to oldschool CV, than I liked, it was a good alternative. (Curse 2 is no exception and I’m liking it slightly better than 1’s first play through at this stage)

Initially I was disappointed with ROTN. Upon getting closer to and finishing the game, I grew more fond of it also realising that the reasons I disliked it are also reasons I shouldn’t have to dislike any game, but unfortunately, most of these ‘less redeeming factors’ are in general, remain dealbreakers for me. They can take a game that should’ve been Legendary (#puNintended) and turn them to less memorable, less enjoyable, even if the replay value is there because you now know what to do. (Note: I’ve still awarded bonus points for replay value) I do believe playing on Hard Mode would make me appreciate the game way more, I just can’t invest the time into it for the moment.

Would I play a ROTN 2?? Yes, but I would wait for spoiler-free reviews and it isn’t something I’d back as a KS or preorder.

I believe it’s safe to say it’s one of those games imo which are better during the second half and gets better, progressively. Slicing the moon in half never felt so satisfying… Even if the blade was (initially) slightly more dull than one would have liked.

Grand total Score = 27/ 40 (67.5%)
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Offline X

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Re: Bloodstained ROTN Review (long overdue)
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2022, 09:45:57 AM »
+1
Well my vote's in. SotN is still the better game. But RotN is okay and I have played it multiple times.

The graphics really are a mixed bag and despite the amount of time the game was in development something more could have been done to make them extraordinary. Whatever filters the game uses for helping the graphics clearly slows the game down in terms of frame-rate. The screen shots of the early development IMO looked better. But since several teams came and went over the development years the game clearly shows it visually. There's just too much gloss going on and not enough of anything else here.

The music is by-and-large passable. Nothing really stood out for me in terms of talent. And given Yamane's track record with Castlevania I was left wondering: "why do these songs sound somewhat mediocre?.. It's like Yamane didn't really put in the effort this time.". The tunes that did stand out for me was the ship stage, the castle entrance, and the sand area. Everything else was just themes that really didn't do much except grace the otherwise empty silence filled with sound effects. The fire stage could have had a more interesting theme but instead it sounded like generic J-rock which seems to be all the rage in the recent Ys games  :P  I personally would have preferred a more varied, rich, and vibrant OST that featured themes with their own individuality.

I found the controls to be fine, so no issues there. If I had to lodge a complaint it would be the functionality of the whips. I have gotten used to using them, but they would have been much better if they functioned similar to their CV counterparts. Instead we have to jump and attack in order to utilize them effectively (and speedily). Also the lack of different whips was noticeable. Four or five more types added to the current number would have been enough for me.

Quote
For art’s sake, I also appreciated the earlier art where Miriam had bigger hips and a smaller chest. Given Dominique was introduced as a character, this would’ve balanced the books and created more consistent artwork, which honestly, there was nothing wrong with.

For me it's the opposite. Miriam as she stands now looks balanced visually. Given how her upper body is more narrow, making her hips slightly smaller and enlarging her chest size helps to balance her look. Obviously it won't sit well with others but for me it works out. The art-style is also fine for me too. There's not much of a difference between the old and new so it's not too big a stretch. I do agree that art consistency is a must. This is a big problem I have with web-comics when, out of nowhere the creator decides to change things up or bring in help, and we are left with a web-comic that visually, doesn't work out well. Exiern did this a while back but recently returned to the original style. I could name others but I"ll save it.

The story is so-so. It's not bad but not stellar either. IGA is not the most renowned story-teller as his previous CV titles indicate. He's pretty much a one-trick pony that can do one thing and one thing only; cliché Japanese story-telling with little or no variance in the formula.

I did like the inclusion of the extra characters. Zangetsu mode I've not played a whole lot of due to his control scheme. In order to use him effectively the player has to memories different button configurations. That's a bit of a mess in my mind and I've still not finished his play-through to this day. Bloodless mode on the other hand I really liked. She's simple to control and doesn't require a whole lot of muscle memory in order to play. The original mode was a nice add-on too. My only gripes are the slow frame-rate--again, and the lack of whip power-ups to make it feel even more oldschool. But other then those the original mode was a good play.

Overall RotN is a good game on it's own but it still doesn't top it's predecessor; SotN. Would I play a RotN sequel? The answer is yes. It does scratch the itch that Konami doesn't care to acknowledge anymore. And it gives IGA a chance to tell his own stories without risk of messing things up, like with what happened in the CV series; potholes and inconsistencies galore.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2022, 09:54:03 AM by X »
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Offline Gunlord

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Re: Bloodstained ROTN Review (long overdue)
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2022, 12:47:14 PM »
+1
Yeah, as much as I love Bloodstained, I think SoTN is still the king. Very fair and thoughtful review from you guys, though. I think RoTN2 might have a chance of dethroning SoTN, but we'll have to see...

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Offline zangetsu468

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Re: Bloodstained ROTN Review (long overdue)
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2022, 01:41:28 PM »
0
@X Thanks for your two cents. I actually wasn’t aware of Classic Mode and how recently it appears to have been added. I’ll definitely be checking this out after my Metroid Dread Hardmode play through. (Expect another review for that, it certainly won’t be as belated as this). I’m seeing that it was only added more recently, which is good, because it won’t sway my review, in context.

@Gunlord Thank you for reading the detailed responses. I do also believe that a ROTN2 has a better shot to take the crown. I mean for me personally, the crown jewel has always been OOE, not SOTN, but SOTN always has a place in my heart for allowing me to keep and maintain interest (since it’s release) in the Metroidvania genre.
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Offline X

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Re: Bloodstained ROTN Review (long overdue)
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2022, 05:22:33 PM »
0
Classic mode has been out for some time now, I'm surprised you missed it. Definitely give it a shot when you can.
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Offline zangetsu468

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Re: Bloodstained ROTN Review (long overdue)
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2022, 07:06:28 PM »
0
Classic mode has been out for some time now, I'm surprised you missed it. Definitely give it a shot when you can.

To clarify, I finished ROTN on 30th June, 2020. (I only know this from IG)
From the trailers I’m seeing on YouTube, this launched 11-12 months ago, so I’m not surprised.
I watched the trailer, it’s got me intrigued now.

EDIT: Playing Bloodstained Classic on Hard Mode now.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2022, 06:22:38 PM by zangetsu468 »
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Offline Aceearly1993

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Re: Bloodstained ROTN Review (long overdue)
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2022, 06:37:30 PM »
+1
Glad to see yet another lengthy review of Bloodstained. Most of the Less Redeeming factors in this review is also exactly what I thought during my first meet.
The Aqua stream shard really could be guaranteed to get somewhere else instead of killing a random minor enemy. Combined with what was shown from datamining, this issue was even more unforgivable as from midway of the progress the game feels kinda rushed. Even if the boss didn't make it into the game due to design issue the ability really could be placed somewhere else as a container... but didn't.
 
Giant area is also a rushed product in order to meet the release date, in the concept art it's much better atmosphere-wise and less disorted.

The volcano zone... It has lava streams burst from lava lakes in the concept art, which was a shame that it didn't get into reality. It could be the reason why the lava lake feels so dead in the game. The music for the volcano zone was done by Ippo Yamada's group but it could be much better.


What I feel really disapponted toward this game was from Zangetsu mode. It was meant to be added just after the launch, but delayed way too long and seriously rushed. The downward, downward, stab command move was meant to have an air edition in the initial draft (you can cosplay boss Zangetsu's drag to ceiling through the chain, then downward strike in that version), but was left out just before its release. I'm more curious about why it must be deleted/left out/abandoned, just like I wonder where did the original pure blood 2D RotN made by Inti Creates goes before the 3D one took the place. If a RotN 2 could pick up the abandoned pure blood 2D route I'd once again built up my confidence to IGA, otherwise nope.
Also in the initial draft of Zangetsu mode there's no lacking of attack power problem like in the released Zangetsu mode, in the released version it was really a pain in Zangetsu level 1 cap. It really shouldn't use the IGA-ish damage decreasing formula for level 1 cap once again, have some mercy, man.


For Classic mode what really bugs me was it's like an exact reversed copy of Castlevania 1, plus the name of 1986 mode to me, always feels like they're taunting Konami or something. Even Konami is as jerk as one could could imagine it's not too good to taunt them to the point like that. Parody is OK but this goes wayyyyyyyyy too beyond the redline of parody zone, which gives an impression of serious lack of originality and creativety to me.


The story is so-so. It's not bad but not stellar either. IGA is not the most renowned story-teller as his previous CV titles indicate. He's pretty much a one-trick pony that can do one thing and one thing only; cliché Japanese story-telling with little or no variance in the formula.


True. IGA is indeed a one-trick pony not only from story-wise, but also from how he ordered his men to do the damage decreasing ratio/formula in level 1 cap; This is the reason why I hate the released version of Zangetsu mode, when the initial draft of Zangetsu mode was revealed through datamining I checked it, I was so hyped to see the high damage output (prototype value at the point) and expecting a side character who finally got enough attack power capable to deal with late game of level 1 cap, and when the Zangetsu mode is finally out I checked Zangetsu level 1 cap and I was like "dang, he never changes at all and eventually returns to his self...Not cool, man"
Honestly, even if they buffed Zangetsu's basic attack power to 50 ATK it could still be much better than its current shape.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2022, 07:59:01 PM by Aceearly1993 »
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Offline zangetsu468

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Re: Bloodstained ROTN Review (long overdue)
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2022, 07:47:01 AM »
0
@Aceearly1993 I haven’t gotten to a Level 1 cap play through at this stage (not finished with hard mode) and not sure that I want to tbh.

Completely agree about classic mode… I’m sitting here wondering how someone didn’t getting get their ‘eyes plagued’ (plague-your-eyes’d)…. It’s definitely a nice addition to the Library, but the laziness isn’t making me like the overall game more so. Although I’ve just beaten the boss to Level 3(clones) on hard mode with no sub-weapon, which was a satisfying victory.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2022, 04:11:28 PM by zangetsu468 »
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Offline X

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Re: Bloodstained ROTN Review (long overdue)
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2022, 10:46:50 AM »
+1
Classic mode was definitely a copy from CV 1. No question. I noticed that once I started playing it the first time. However I still enjoyed it despite those noticeable elements. And if it was intended to gouge Konami, well... they were asking for it so, meh  :-\
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Offline zangetsu468

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Re: Bloodstained ROTN Review (long overdue)
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2022, 04:20:48 PM »
0
Classic mode was definitely a copy from CV 1. No question. I noticed that once I started playing it the first time. However I still enjoyed it despite those noticeable elements. And if it was intended to gouge Konami, well... they were asking for it so, meh  :-\

Haha this is beyond a poke or a gouge, it’s almost impalement, in honour of Vlad III, one assumes…

I like the whipping motion better than ROTN tbh, I know you previously mention this as a dislike and I’m in agreement with that.

I like that you can change direction in the air and essentially do Richter’s backflip in a pseudo-forward motion.

Where it falls short for me is jumping in the instance you’re close to something. Despite there being a back-dash and a backflip, you basically can’t jump onto a neighbouring platform unless you’re positioned 3-4 blocks away left / right.. Otherwise you’re landing in a pit/ water. This has taken a bit of getting used to.

I’ve played through Stage 4, but not yet made it passed the harpies/ wolves.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2022, 05:50:23 PM by zangetsu468 »
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            +<<<<<Legends>HC>OOS>LOD>64       ^
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LOI>CVIII>COD>AR>BR>CVC>CVII>HOD>ROB>SOTN>OOE>BL>POR>AOS>DOS>>>KD
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                                                                         BE>*  
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Re: Bloodstained ROTN Review (long overdue)
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2022, 09:34:30 PM »
0
The whipping in RotN is not without it's own merits, I'll agree. It's attack has a sphere of effect that make's it very usable depending on the situation. I've spammed it enough times to know that it can be far more useful then swords or other weapons. I just wish it could be much faster right off the bat rather then the player being forced to build up the passive weapons skill. Dammit! now I need to play it again, and I've just finished watching Godzilla Vs Mechagodzilla.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2022, 09:36:35 PM by X »
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Offline zangetsu468

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Re: Bloodstained ROTN Review (long overdue)
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2022, 10:49:10 PM »
0
The whipping in RotN is not without it's own merits, I'll agree. It's attack has a sphere of effect that make's it very usable depending on the situation.

I just wish it were more easily cancellable out of attack/ charge frames.

I can’t recall if there is such a weapon in the main campaign- off the top of my head - but a WhipSword or two, like Soma’s in AoS (more akin to Classic Mode) wouldn’t have gone astray.

I still end up radiating towards overhead sword swings, given when you use ROTN’s version of Black Panther, you can actually zip in multi-directionally while the swing animation occurs, either hitting various enemies, doing more damage or both. 
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            +<<<<<Legends>HC>OOS>LOD>64       ^
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LOI>CVIII>COD>AR>BR>CVC>CVII>HOD>ROB>SOTN>OOE>BL>POR>AOS>DOS>>>KD
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Offline Abnormal Freak

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Re: Bloodstained ROTN Review (long overdue)
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2022, 01:54:19 PM »
0
I've only gotten a few hours into ROTN and every time I fire it up, I wonder if the game ever becomes not boring. Definitely several steps below all of the IGAvanias.
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Offline zangetsu468

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Re: Bloodstained ROTN Review (long overdue)
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2022, 02:50:36 PM »
0
I've only gotten a few hours into ROTN and every time I fire it up, I wonder if the game ever becomes not boring. Definitely several steps below all of the IGAvanias.

My opinion is the first 1/3 of the game is far more boring than the rest, after the
(click to show/hide)
is acquired.

What I’ve never gotten over is the amount of bugs, even in classic mode. I mean I’m not playing on Switch. I’ve got a terra PS4 with half of the memory free.
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Offline X

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Re: Bloodstained ROTN Review (long overdue)
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2022, 05:24:21 PM »
0
That's another issue I forgot to mention; the bugs. There are other games that took as long to produce, but had far more content to them and almost zero issues in terms of bugs and crashes. Maybe for the next Bloodstained game, they could do a better job with bug screening. I'd rather just concentrate on playing the game then worrying about the next freeze-up or CTD. It's minimal but there all the same. Far more effective and efficient methods of coding could have helped to alleviate most of these problems. And it would have made bug testing less of a hassle for the developers.
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