There’s only one thing you can do when playing a set of Spinstaintlevanias. Judge them all using arbitrary criteria!
The Start of a Beautiful Threesome
Good day backloggers!! So, a few posts ago I alluded to the fact that I’d be playing a slew of metroidvania games that followed the “Symphony of the Night” formula and that I’d be comparing them for funsies. Those being Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, Timespinner and the father of said formula, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night itself! Now that I’ve started Bloodstained, I thought it was about time I detailed how I would be judging this bout of mortal wall turkeys.
First off, I didn’t really want to just compare them against lame things like graphics, gameplay and kick ass soundtracks. Though, that will probably factor into it somewhat. No, instead, I thought it’d only be fair to compare them by the core characteristics that defined them as a Castlespinnerstained in the first place. Yes, the portmanteaus will become more and more ridiculous. Promise!
Without hesitating any further, I will now commence to detail the details of each judgement criterion. You know, the ones that’ll be used to evaluate each of the three submissions.
The Miniest of Maps
This touchstone may be a simple one, but it’s a tool that you’ll use almost every step of the way in these types of games. It’ll help you discover hidden areas you may have missed, highlight points of interest, and keep you oriented in the maze like castles you’ll be exploring. And I narrowed it down to 3 main points.
First, its ease of use, that is, how easily can I pinpoint a place on the map and use it as a reference to guide myself through a level. Second, it’s color scheme and how intrusive it is during gameplay. Because it needs to be readable, yet not obscure important details during the action. The third idiosyncrasy is the overall completion percentage. Meaning, what is the final 100% completion percentage of the map. For example, Symphony of the Night had a 200.4% completion percentage if you found and explored everything. The higher and more ludacris the number, the better!
Taking it to the Next Magnitude
Another simple criteria, but also a big part of what makes these games fun, is grinding out those levels so you can steamroll any enemy you encounter. Including the bosses!! It needs to be relatively straightforward and intuitive, with not too much putzing around in the menus.
The focus will really be on the following areas. Level up animation; that colorful and musical thing that happens when you reach a new level. I want to be rewarded dang it, and not just with numbers in a stat screen! And benefits; what do I gain from a level? Do I just get stronger or do I gain additional perks or the ability to equip stronger gear?
Look at This Stuff, Isn’t It Neat?
What’s an RPG-esque game if you don’t have gear to acquire am I right?? Well, another fun aspect of Timestainedvanias, is seeking out every last piece of loot, regardless of its strength and usefulness!!
In this case, I won’t actually be judging it on its usefulness, but instead, these three factors. Coolness, you know, how badass does that anklet look in your inventory and/or on your person?? Variety; do I just get 50 different types of short swords or are there so many different types of weapons and armor that I couldn’t even begin to figure out what I need? Coolness factor plays a part in this as well. Then, last but not least, lootability. The equipment in the game is pretty useless if you can’t loot it am I right?! And I’ll primarily be looking for how easy is it to find, how I find it and will I need to farm/grind to get it all. Inquiring minds need to know!!
An Escalated Disagreement
Next up, is the bread and butter of any action platformer, Bloodspinnervania or not, its combat! And this will really be split into two categories. The standard combat, which will encompass your day to day hackin’, slashin’ and dashin’. I’ll be looking for whether or not it’s responsive and if there’s enough variety to keep you engaged. Which leads into the second half, the techniques you can learn. I want flashy and powerful magic that wrecks face from time to time, but I’ll also be looking at how you gain those techniques. Do you learn them naturally via leveling up? Or is it closer to Symphony of the Night where some of the moves are hidden behind secret button combinations??
Have I Been Here Before? I’m Sure I’ve Been Here Before…
And finally, the last precedent of which the games will be evaluated upon, are the environments. You know, the actual, physical (or digital) world you’ll be exploring! It needs to be interesting after all and it needs to give you enough reasons to seek out its dark corners so you can eek out that last 100th of a percent. I know you know I mean that one spot at the tippy top of the lowest part of the map that’s near impossible to see with the naked eye!!
With this one, it’s going to be a bit more broad. But It’ll include it’s explorability; how driven are you to visit every room. The secrets you can find; Is it just wall meat or are there more interesting goodies behind that stairwell? The bosses you’ll encounter and the variety of enemies in each area. Because a map can have the most gorgeous background and layout, but if you just give me dull enemies to fight, then what’s the point?! The challenge; is it too easy, or perhaps too difficult to reach new areas? Do you die a whole bunch and never get rewarded? Or are you moseying around with not a care in the world?! And lets not forget, the most important thing you’ll encounter in any Stainianer, the save room. Is it cool? Does it save your game? Are there load screens between them!!!!???? Again, we must focus on the important things in life!!!
One Hundred [and] Twenty-Six
Well my friends, that’s going to do it for today, and the week! I think playing each of these games is already going to be fun, but doing this silly competition between them and comparing their likenesses as well as their differences should be a blast as well! I’m thinking I’ll probably rank each category on a scale of 1-5, with short explanations of each, and then total it all together for the final score. Which do you think will win??
Anyways, I hope you have a great rest of your week and I’ll see you bright and surly on Monday!
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (PlayStation 4)
Punch Line (Steam) – The Wife
Borderlands 2 (Xbox One)
Total Backlogged Games: 729 …Is it cool?
Total Completed Games: 32 …IS…IT…COOL??!
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