Where is our review for Bloodstained?

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505 Games is doing something different compared to most Kickstarter releases

The BloodstainedKickstarter has been a wild ride. First people were mad about the delays, then they loved the backer demo. Then they were mad about 505 Games dropping the Vita and Wii U platforms (after we obtained mixed messaging from them about it), then they loved the new art style that was unveiled a few months back. Then they were mad about how content was being distributed close to launch. There’s always something to be mad about when it comes to the messy, undefined world of crowdfunding.

But most of the drama surrounding campaigns is white noise to me compared to what happens when they’re all done and the game goes gold: I want to judge the final game on its own merits. We will not be able to do that for Bloodstaineduntil it launches tomorrow on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

So here’s the official reasoning, according to 505 Games’ Angel-Corlux, who also co-runs the game’s official subreddit: “Embargo is going to be launch day because we have a sizable launch patch that has various bug fixes, optimization and balance improvements, and the first free DLC. I know sometimes games that are hot trash embargo reviews until after launch so they can pull a fast one on folks, but I promise that’s not what we’re doing, we just want to put our best foot forward. ? ​ I also think the days of that happening are becoming increasingly rare, maybe one day will be extinct as a shi*** practice, since customers are only getting smarter and they’re already smart. That and refund systems are becoming pretty commonplace.”

Now here’s what most studios actually do in that situation if they can’t get that update out to consoles early: make the review build PC-only, and push a Steam 1.0 build out to reviewers, accessible with a code under the beta tab. Over the past 10 years I’ve seen this happen hundreds of times without issue, including for Kickstarter projects and first-time launches. Bloodstainedhas also been streaming on Twitch off and on for the last few days thanks to retailers breaking the street date.

Here are just a few crowdfunded games that have had pre-launch review codes available, with or without massive day-one patches:Octodad: Dadliest Catch, Broken Age, FTL, Banner Saga, Thomas Was Alone, Republique, Divekick, the Oculus Rift headset, Project CARS, Freedom Planet, Shovel Knight, Divinity: Original Sin, Risk of Rain, Chasm, Armikrog, Chroma Squad, Mighty No. 9, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, Hyper Light Drifter, Citizens of Earth, Hand of Fate, Read Only Memories, Kingdom Come: Deliverance, La-Mulana 2, Armello, Amplitude (2016), Superhot, Sunset, Timespinner, Jotun, Moon Hunters, Poncho, Battle Chef Brigade, Hollow Knight, Thimbleweed Park, Yooka-Laylee, We Happy Few, The Bard’s Tale IV, Divinity: Original Sin 2, Battle Chasers: Nightwar, and BattleTech. There’s more, many of which are similar Metroidvanias or are bigger in scope.

It’s possible that 505 Games is being overly cagey given the blowback for various stages of the campaign so far, and Bloodstainedwill end up being just fine. As always, advance review copies are not a rightand this is just a general warning for consumers, not a complaint. Destructoid has even purchased many games out of pocket for reviews, whether it’s due to various blacklist issues or situations like this where everyone is in the dark equally.

So what’s the point of all this? I urge people that are on the fence to check out reviews when they hit (not just ours), on top of gameplay footage from YouTubers and any other pundits you may trust. Despite the tiredsentiment of “journos are not to be trusted,” anyone is capable of providing a sound opinion on art. I know: people get really confused when you don’t speak in black and white terms and when games writers actually support YouTubers and Let’s Players (life is so much simpler when there’s a “bad guy” to point at). We’ll all find out how Bloodstained fares together!