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Gaming: Bloodstained gets revamped; Star Wars Stormtrooper & Godzilla gear; more

By Benjamin Bullard
Bloodstained Ritual of the Night graphics comparison

Fan feedback is bringing a complete graphical revamp to one of the most-anticipated grassroots games ever to emerge from a crowdfunding campaign — and just in time, too, since the long-awaited release of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is much, much closer than we thought.

Ex-Konami auteur Koji Igarashi has just dropped a new trailer for Bloodstained, the current-gen spiritual successor to the Castlevania series he steered toward iconic status in the early 2000s, and it’s loaded with previews of how the team at ArtPlay and 505 Games has reworked the overall look and feel. 

Check out the before-and-after, with a playful cameo from Igarashi himself, below:

Briefly holding the top spot as the world’s fastest-funded Kickstarter game before ceding that title to Shenmue III, Bloodstained aims to jump-start the Metroidvania genre for a new generation with an all-new story that’ll likely feel right at home for longtime Castlevania fans. Afflicted with a curse that slowly turns her body to crystal, protagonist Miriam wakes from a 10-year coma to go on the hunt for the source of the curse, while banishing the demons it’s introduced along the way.

Alternating between classic side-scrolling and 2.5D action, Bloodstained promises to serve up the RPG-lite elements and action-adventure gameplay (with heavy emphasis on the action) that made its classic Castlevania forebears such a huge hit with fans. Along with the new footage, 505 Games also revealed when Bloodstained will finally be releasing — and after a long four-year wait, it’s spilling into players’ hands soon. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night arrives for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on June 18, and for the Nintendo Switch on June 25.

May the Fourth was definitely with Star Wars fans who prefer to take on the Empire with a kitted-out PC rig, thanks to the debut of a killer-looking new Stormtrooper-themed line of gaming gear from Razer. 

Topped by the flagship Stormtrooper Edition of Razer’s BlackWidow Lite keyboard, the Imperial black-and-white motif brings a heavy dose of the Force’s sinister side to your desktop — complemented by a can’t-miss mouse that doubles as a pocket-sized Stormtrooper helmet:

Razer Atheris Star Wars Stormtrooper Mouse
Razer Star Wars Stormtrooper Blackwidow Keyboard
In all, Razer is offering three ways to wrap your gaming setup in galactic evil, including the $99.99 keyboard, the $59.99 Stormtrooper Atheris wireless mouse, and even a $34.99 mouse mat to complete the look. Check out Razer’s website to take the Empire (literally) by the hand — and hope they don’t have blasters. 

Not to be outdone by the galaxy far, far away, Microsoft is offering Xbox One fans the chance to score a handful of Godzilla-themed consoles that, judging from the shot below, will be roaring for attention once they’ve found a spot in some lucky winners’ living rooms.

Xbox One X Godzilla themed consoles

From Mothra to Rodan to King Ghidorah to Godzilla himself, the good news here is that these outlandish Godzilla: King of the Monsters boxes are completely free to the winners of Microsoft’s social media giveaway. The bad news? These four spiny Xbox One X consoles appear to be one-off specials, with no announced plans for more to go on sale. Offered as part of Microsoft’s partnership with Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures to promote the movie’s May 31 release, the giveaway’s full details can be found over at the Microsoft Twitter channel.

Finally, Pikachu is evolving his litter pickup skills, courtesy of a recent Pokémon Go partnership that sent players out into the wild, trash bags in hand, for a massive global cleanup effort in commemoration of Earth Day 2019.

Via Variety, Go developer Niantic teamed up with 46 organizations in 41 countries worldwide this year to collect a whipping 145 tons of garbage, enlisting a reported 17,000 Pokémon Go fans with in-game incentives that included “a higher probability for heatsinks, multihacks, and shields for agents in Ingress and increased Pokémon appearances for luck trainers.”

The effort appears to be gaining momentum since Niantic first tapped its huge Pokémon fan base for its first Earth Day cleanup last year; at least one group involved in this year’s cleanup numbered a reported 2,500 players. That’s a lot of foil card wrappers in the trash bin where they belong, instead of on the ground. Until next year’s Earth Day swings back around, you can still catch the Pokémon Go app for free, for both Android and iOS devices.