Koji Igarashi, also known as Iga, once had a simple idea: to create a spiritual successor, well received by players, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. When he came out with his startup on Kickstarter, he was given 10 times more money than he asked for. And it was on this approach of developing the game that Igarashi and the team actively listened to the criticism of future investor players. The game was released back in mid-2019, but I just got around to getting to know it personally. So let’s figure out together whether one of the founding fathers of the Castlevania series succeeded in making it a spiritual successor.
You have to take control of a girl named Miriam, who is Oscher. The Shredders are people whose bodies have been modified by a group of alchemists, allowing them to absorb and use the power of demonic creatures. But such experiments rarely lead to something good, and therefore the second surviving splinter Jibel gets on a slippery slope and summons a huge castle inhabited by the most vile and dangerous demons to our world.
The plot of which we have just told, is not very intense, and does not occupy a key position in the game. This is a typical anime plot, with a touch of Gothic and an appropriate level of dialog. However, this is also far from a lackluster story, despite its simplicity, interesting and unexpected twists can sometimes be expected. Which of course does not make the plot itself much richer.
No one expected from Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night big achievements in the story line. The game is too fixated on being the new Symphony of the Night. Sometimes so much so that at times it looks more like her clone. From the opening screen to the music and atmosphere, Bloodstained sounds a little too much like her at times. Moreover, some parts of the project are not just similar to Symphony of the Night, but identical to it. Just swap Miriam and Alucard, then turn the 3D castle into 2D and you’re done! You’re back in 1997 with the original PlayStation gamepad in your hands.
Why is this a problem, given that Symphony of the Night was successful? Yes, she was successful and it’s pointless to argue with that. That’s just a game of the genre’s origin. This is how the Metroidvanium genre got its start, not what it came to after all these years of development. This is why Bloodstained simply doesn’t bring anything new. There are no alternative means of movement, combat, or exploration; there is no improved artificial intelligence of the enemy; no unique concepts; Nothing.
But even in this slightly outdated form — the formula still works well, bringing more than enough fun and enjoyment. An element of research, improvement, abilities, a bunch of weapons, tons of secrets and items — all this is present here, and fans of the genre will definitely cane with their fifths to the chairs until the game is complete. But the fact that the game clearly doesn’t want to be anything more than old-school metroidvania can put someone off.
Although you can go through the game quickly enough, as in all metroidvanias, if you set such a goal, but if you suddenly decide to do everything or almost everything possible in the Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, then you will find just a huge amount of content. You can go in search of many types of equipment, explore rooms, and there are quite a few hidden ones, make all sorts of items or disassemble them for the sake of materials, cook dishes according to recipes that improve the characteristics of your character, complete small quests for townspeople to receive rewards, and customize Miriam at a local undead hairdresser.
I think it’s worth talking more about Miriam’s abilities. Upgrade Miriam is not such easy challenge, and shards are at the heart of it all; crystals that can drop from a defeated enemy, and whose abilities can be used to give her all sorts of skills, from various projectiles and magic spells, to summoning and bonuses to stats. You can also improve the fragments you already received from the alchemist. When you re-drop the shard you already have, its characteristics will also increase. By the way, the fragments are here in themselves, literally all the enemies carry. Therefore, if you see an enemy, sooner or later you will have a chance to use his abilities, or to summon him as a companion.
And now it’s not about the fact that some weapon may simply not reach certain types of enemies. No, there is no problem with that, because you are free to switch equipment on the go. This is the problem with power. Some items really need to be nerfed because once you get them, you don’t need anything else.
There are also some problems with hitboxes in Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. That some players will probably be able to cause a small explosion of a known place. The fact is that Miriam takes damage by barely touching the enemy, and sometimes without touching him at all. To some extent, the same applies to local platforming. Sometimes the player needs perfect jumps, pixel by pixel, to get to the right platform. Which can be pretty annoying. Especially if the fall is worth a rather long rise.
Being included in the Metroidvania genre also means a lot of emphasis on exploring the world. And here, too, there are several pitfalls. I hasten to reassure you, there is nothing very bad in this aspect — it is also not, but the level design is rather simplified: it does not contain interesting combat scenarios and, most importantly, does not force you to experiment with your abilities to get to hard-to-reach places.
With that said, this is still a great game … just a lot more was expected of it. Igarashi himself originally said that this would redefine the metroidvania genre, but all Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night does is repeat the past in a terrifyingly safe way. For some, this will be enough. For others, no.
The fact that the game doesn’t try to innovate makes it a niche choice, mostly for Igarashi and Castlevania fans. The genre has evolved all this time, especially in recent years, as evidenced by true masterpieces like Hollow Knight, which probably didn’t reinvent the genre, but certainly had its own unique character and doesn’t feel like tracing paper or the most faceless metroidvania. Moreover, Bloodstained had a MUCH more budget than Hollow Knight. Where it all went is anyone’s guess. I mean, yes, of course the game looks good enough, but five million dollars? Seriously? Even though some enemies and locations pay homage to the already named series. It doesn’t look like a $ 5 million game. Especially if you start looking at the details and animations.
It is important to understand that behind all of this negativity lies mostly frustration about what the game could have been. Other things aside, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is an addictive game in its genre, with many small touches that will put a smile on your face. This is a huge pile of fun enough content for fans of the genre. If you want to play old school metroidvania, then Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is undoubtedly a good choice for you, but if you are expecting something new, or at least the manifestation of the genre in its modern form, then Bloodstained is unlikely to give you something what are you looking for.
These life hacks were shared with me by my friends and guys from the same forum and they really saved me a lot of time and effort. So catch – 11 useful life hacks in the game Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night.
This game boasts a huge world, consisting of many locations, and in almost each of them you can find secret passages, treasure chests or useful materials. So before leaving this or that level, carefully examine it, as you may well find a valuable artifact in it. Study the map we have published if necessary.
At the very beginning, the heroine will be able to use only two types of weapons: a dagger and “kung fu boots”. However, do not dwell only on these weapons – over time, you will find other deadly weapons, finding them in chests or hidden rooms. Having found a new weapon, try it on your enemies, because it may well be better than the previous one.
You can also get new swords by purchasing them in the store or receiving them as a reward for completing side quests. If you wish, you can make your own blade by spending certain components. This method will appear almost immediately after killing the main boss on the Minerva galleon. To use it, you just need to talk to Johannes.
You can see glowing candlesticks in almost all rooms – destroy them to restore your energy reserve by picking up “mana roses”, or to improve your financial condition by collecting gold coins. After breaking all the light sources in a certain location, leave it, and then enter again – the candlesticks will be restored.
On the upper tier of the shelter, you can find a room with a mosaic mirror. After leaving the house, deal with the demon standing on the roof of the structure, take a trophy from his corpse and go upstairs a little to the left. Here you will find an upgrade for a musket and a passage to the room.
When you open the room, you will be able to return to it at any time using the same room in another location, or move to an area with activated portals. Use this system to quickly move around the map.
Once in the settlement, you can find 3 non-hostile characters from whom you can take various additional tasks. For completing them, you will receive new weapons, equipment or accessories.
It is not necessary to immediately complete the received mission. Most of the quests are related to the extraction of a certain item or material, so just keep going through the main story – over time, you will probably get the right thing.
Unfortunately, Miriam’s life bar does not recover over time, so to regenerate it, you either need to visit safe rooms or use healing potions. When you pass the level on the galleon, you will not be able to use the store, so you will have to use only those elixirs that you find in the chests.
In the future, you will be able to not only buy potions, but also create them. We advise you to always keep several of these bottles with you, as they can be useful to you at any time.
If you are faced with a boss who cannot be defeated even on the 5th try, then stop torturing yourself and start pumping your character. With each new level obtained, Miriam will increase not only defense, but also the damage done.
It is quite easy to swing in the game, since when moving from one location to another, all defeated enemies are revived. Monster farming should be carried out at levels where one strong mob lives, which is killed with several shots from a musket.
This weapon can be found already when examining the Minerva galleon – it is in the chest. The blunderbuss fires projectiles that cause minor damage (bullets are infinite). When fighting dangerous monsters, you should use reinforced ammunition, for example, explosive. These cartridges can be found in chests or bought in the Dominica store.
However, the use of a blunderbuss does not always turn out to be beneficial. For example, to kill rats, you have to crouch, and this greatly reduces the heroine’s mobility.
When fighting enemies who are on the ground all the time, try to jump up before attacking. In this case, you will be able to deal additional damage upon landing and immediately make another quick hit. This technique is especially useful when using a slow weapon like a whip.
We have already noted above that at various levels you can find secret rooms, which are of two types: open and closed. The former can be seen on the minimap, but can be difficult to hit due to their awkward location. The second ones are not marked anywhere, so you will have to find them blindly. As an example, we can cite a room in the Arvantville sewers, in which an 8-bit coin can be found.
After reaching the castle gate, you will have to press the lever to go inside. However, before you interact with him, look for the descent behind him, leading to the sewer. Walk left until you reach a small room. Now go to the left wall and hit it to destroy it. As a result, you will discover a hidden room.
When you kill strong demons, shards will fall from them – a kind of amplification. This is a special magic that allows you to enchant, summon allied monsters, or simply inflict great damage on opponents.
The resulting shards can be improved by contacting Johannes in his workshop located in Arvantville. You will need certain materials for the upgrade, which also drop from demons.
Well, that’s all. Be sure to write in the comments how you like the game! If you played it, of course.