Review | Bloodstained: Curse Of The Moon 2
"How good can a game be when you make it 8-bit in 2020.? If you ask me it can be very good, but not when you have to beat the same 8 levels 4 times in a row. That is just nasty, and that is something I don't want to do."
I guess my current goal is to finish all games like Castlevania. Last few titles were of this genre, and what better game to try than the next in line Bloodstained title (that I’ve never finished)?
Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 is a video game developed and published by Inti Creates (lead by the former producer of Castlevania series). It was released for Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch on July 10, 2020. It is the third game in the Bloodstained series and a direct sequel to Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon. I will just mention the second title released 1 year ago, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night:
Welcome Zangetsu! I love that guy, he is the coolest after Alucard of course. Yes, this is a game from 2020!
8-bit madness starts here. It’s so weird that we have such an old-school themed game these days, especially when it is developed as if it was done 25 years ago. This review will not be long (since the game isn’t), so let’s share some words of wisdom!
Honestly, I disliked the game. Not because it’s bad based on its mechanics and the gameplay – but the repetitiveness is just the worst. I don’t mind that it feels stiff and without many angles of movement like it was before 20 years – you get used to it quickly. The real problem is that it consists of 8 story missions divided across 4 episodes which just repeat the same 8 story missions, but gives you different characters, Zangetsu being the protagonist in all of these.
Meet the companions! You start with some new ones, but later episodes will also let you choose the ones from the previous Curse of the Moon game. They come with differrent attack types and skills, but overall they die the same. Check your HP and make sure to switch to ones you aren't afraid to lose!
You are on your way to defeat some demons (like always). Along the way you will meet party members, each having different terrain skills like higher jump, crouch, etc. You can change playing characters as you progress, making new areas reachable. New paths contain some permanent upgrades, so it’s good that you keep some members alive to reach them. If you die as a character, he/she is dead until you lose them all (starting from the last level checkpoint).
If you want, you can play on Classic difficulty to avoid limit on Continue screen when you die. It’s maybe for the best I would say. Boss fights are neat, but simple. Overall, everything I noted is fine, but doing the same level for 4 times or more – its not fun at all.
Action palette is just enough, considering each character comes with a few special skills that you can exchange if that item drops (either from destroyable object or enemies in levels). Zangetsu has a sword which you can upgrade, making it the best blade you can get – and raises the gameplay for 1 point when you play as him.
The boss fights are the best part of the game, but repeating game makes even that part boring. They don't learn anything, they use the same patterns and it just feels like filler after second playthrough.
The epilogue is cool, too bad that the game doesn’t have more than repetitiveness included. The level where you fly using your vehicle is a great ode to early arcade games, and it makes sense to travel to the moon in this one (right?!).
Do you even need to explore all hidden areas in the game? Nope, usually you can get the money pouches which doesn’t do anything (what did I do wrong here?). Getting permanent upgrades is needed, but you can do without if you’re a good player. Also, playing next episode requires you to select a new save slot (weird!).
Boss fights are always the same in each of the 4 playthroughs. Why? Only the last boss can have a different variation (which I approve!). You just need to memorize the pattern and you will win for sure. You can use the robot party member for an easier time – his null damage skills is the best if you just want to stand there and kick until your mana meter depletes.
The most unique part of the game is definately the last episode, the ride towards the moon and the phases of the last boss. It even represents a challenge if you decide to tackle the boss alone (I wish the whole game had ideas like these).
At the end of the day, I had my fun, but barely. Repeating levels even with different level paths just feels too similar, and it decreases the overall fun meter. I had to play this during few days, I was not in the mood to play 2 episodes at once – replaying felt boring.
Well, it’s hard to give a grade now. This one is better that some games 20 years ago, but it’s much worse in its design than many modern games like The Messenger (which I loved, and it’s a better game). So, I will base my grade when I take similar titles in conclusion. If you like and want to play SNES 8-bit side-scroller which feels like old Castlevania games – this one is for you. But just be aware you will have to repeat the game 4 times to unlock everything.
"A nice blast to retro past, but tedious to go through"
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