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Cyberpunk 2077, Final Fantasy XIV Facing Competition From Heavyweight Indie Games

Cyberpunk 2077, Final Fantasy XIV Facing Competition From Heavyweight Indie Games

While titles such as the incredibly hyped Cyberpunk 2077 have been overwhelming favourites, indie titles such as Bloodstained and My Friend Pedro have been standing up as equals to their fanfare.

Classic action franchise "Castlevania" has a successor: "Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night" launched to strong reviews, as did fellow indie release "My Friend Pedro," which bears resemblance to the "Deadpool" and "John Wick" movies. Fan-funded to a record-breaking $5.5m USD in 2015, with iconic "Castlevania" designer Koji Igarashi at the helm, "Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night" was delayed first from 2017 to 2018 and then again into 2019.

Igarashi wanted his first post-"Castlevania" game to be better than its inspiration, and the June 18 release appears to have been worth the wait. The foreboding "Bloodstained" name titles an action adventure about an orphan girl who grows up during the Industrial Revolution with powers derived from crystal shards. She then reunites with a childhood friend to combine their efforts against another, now integral to a demonic invasion.

Released for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, with a Nintendo Switch edition launching June 25, strong reviews have led to an 84% average rating from the OpenCritic aggregator (between 70 and 82 through Metacritic, depending on the device). On PC, the $39 USD game is number one on the Steam store, whose chart is ordered by revenue, where players returned a 93% positive user rating. It also reached first place on the Humble Store, second on GOG, and fourth on Fanatical.

A launch week snag hindering smooth player progress affected the game's treasure chests, one of which contained an essential item; that was ironed out with the 1.02 update, available on PS4 and PC, due on Xbox One, and should be downloaded by owners of the Switch's game cartridge before play. Similarly, though "My Friend Pedro" did not have a record-breaking crowdfunding campaign behind it, the balletic action game did have a pre-existent fanbase thanks to the success of an earlier browser game going by the same name.

It launched June 20 on PC and Switch to an 80% OpenCritic average, accumulating top five placements on Steam and GOG in the process. Like "Bloodstained," "My Friend Pedro" is a side-scrolling action adventure with modern 3D backgrounds. The main character leaps, vaults, and spins acrobatically, dispatching enemies with guns, frying pans, and all manner of nearby objects, leading to comparisons with Keanu Reeves franchise "John Wick" and irreverent superhero movie series "Deadpool."

Just as with "Bloodstained," its release saw it rubbing shoulders with last week's big pre-order debut "Cyberpunk 2077," which does actually feature Keanu Reeves, and July 2's glossy upcoming "Final Fantasy XIV" expansion, Shadowbringers, which is benefiting from an ad campaign co-starring "Avengers: Endgame" and "Spider-Man" actor Tom Holland.