Less detailed all-around
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night was released on PC, PS4, and Xbox One last week, and it was worth the wait. Offering up a true Castlevania experience, the action platformer was way better than I expected…on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
The Switch port is another matter.
As you can see in the video above, the Switch version, which was delayed a week and is out now, lags way behind the others in nearly every conceivable way. I have played all three other editions of Bloodstained and all of them are on the level, but the Switch port does not stack up.
Right away, even in docked mode, I noticed the less-detailed look on my TV: that was my first impression. Although some of the particle effects can look wonky this is a gorgeous colorful game in many respects (the indoor backgrounds in particular), and that element is thrown out the window when you’re playing on Switch, like someone smeared the screen. It also doesn’t hold up under mild scrutiny when there’s more than the average amount of action happening, which exacerbates the (rare, but existent) framerate stuttering that is present in the other versions. Doing fighting game inputs (many weapons, like the katana, require a quarter-circle-forward Street Fighter-esque move for their most powerful attacks) on a Joy-Con is also a drag, so I recommend a Pro controller or left Joy-Con accessory with a better d-pad.
It is playable, so if you’re already expecting your physical edition in the mail, you should be mostly fine with a Pro controller in hand, and a lot of patience (the further you get in and the more hectic things get, the more performance issues pop up). I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be to farm late-game areas over and over for specific items with stuttering and delays, but you can technically finish it.
How bad these concessions are really depends on your mettle. The official subreddit and Kickstarter news entry for the Switch release are blowing up with folks who think it’s “unplayable,” and those who “can’t really tell the difference between the Switch port and [insert x version here].” But most of those people can admit that the Switch is at the very least the worst looking version, so if you have an option, go with anything else.
Unless publisher 505 Games and IGA’s Chimera of a team can offer a fix (505 informed Switch users that what you see above is the latest patch that was intended to be played at launch), I’d hold off getting it on Switch. The other editions are more capable, and most PCs can run it.
[Update: Hours after the launch of the game on Switch, a 505 rep provided an update on the Switch port, noting “it did not accomplish as much as we had hoped and we need to do more.” The team will provide smaller incremental fixes rather than “one big update.”]