Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night a highly anticipated Metroidvania video game has finally made its release to multiple platforms. Leading the charge for the development team was former Castelvania series producer Koji Igarashi. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is a side scrolling action RPG. This successor to a brilliant and successful franchise such as Castelvania was one of my most anticipated releases for the Switch this summer.
This title is set in the 19th century, where you play the role of Miriam an orphan who taken in by an alchemists guild. Whos intentions were to subject Miriam to certain experiments by infusing her with demonically-powered crystals, also known as shards. These shards granted her incredible powers. Thus giving these experimented on the name shardbinders. Upon giving them these powers, these shards were also destroying them in the process.
The reasoning behind these experiments is due to the Alchemists guild fearing to lose the support as the Industrial Revolution. They created these Shardbinders to summon the forces of hell as a scare tactic to regain control. But the outcome of the experiments only brought forth destruction. During the sacrifice the only survivor was a shardbinder by the name of Gebel, as well as Miriam who was not submitted to the sacrifice. Before the sacrifice took place Miriam fell into a ten year slumber.
Upon Miriam’s awaking ten years later which was foreseen by a student alchemist by the name of Johannes(Turns out to be Miriams sidekick/saving grace.) She comes to realize that Gebel who survived the sacrifice, has come to seek revenge on the Guild and had killed every member that remained, and also raised a demonic castle to wage war on all humanity. Even though Miriam was subjected to the same circumstances as Gebel, Miriam did not agree with Gebel’s tactics and knew he needed to be stopped before all humanity would be destroyed.
There have been a lot of mixed reviews on this title. With the release being on multiple platforms, the Switch version was rushed out of development. I have not played this game on any other console other than the Switch. I only purchased this game on the Switch because I enjoy the portability aspect of the console. I have heard that there are frame rate issues, as well as a big drop in graphical performance. But I decided to play it on the Switch and decide for myself.
I have only played the game in handheld mode and for the most part the game holds up pretty well. I was aware the graphical performance would take a big hit comparing it to playing this title on a system such as PC or the Xbox One X. But I will say that has not bothered me at all. There are some frame rate issues that due occur, but not during any combat or fast paced situations in the game where it would cause any issues or stop me from playing.
There are tons of Pros about this game that trump the negatives that kept me engaged and playing this title for hours on end. The gameplay is very fluent. I have not had any issues with lag time in controls or issues when in striking my enemy in combat. The gameplay and combat are two of my favorite features in this game. There is a multitude of different weapons, armor, and abilities. After killing an enemy multiple times you will receive a random shard drop which infuses within Miriam, granting her a new ability based off what type of attack the enemy does. Each ability received is an exciting feature, because it is not only exciting getting to use the new ability earned, but also puts a very strategic outlook on which ability should be slotted for an upcoming boss or enemy.
There is also a wide variety of crafting mechanics within the game. Throughout the game you will gather a large variety of materials, such as different types of foods, ores, etc. which can be used at the store in the village for crafting potions, weapons, or armor. You can even sell the materials found to gain currency to buy crafted potions, weapons, or armor that are already available to you in the shop. You can also sell Shards that are less powerful for currency that can be used to upgrade current abilities that you like the best and want to become more powerful.
Another exciting feature of the game are not only the variety of low level enemies you will get to face. But the epic boss battles. Each boss I faced was not only difficult , but engaging in there own way. They each has there own distinct fighting style. Which made going into each boss fight very strategic and exciting. I died multiple times on the bosses I came up against. But after learning how to finally defeat them through multiple play throughs. There was such a big relief and feeling of satisfaction, and that only left me to want to keep playing on to try and reach the next boss.
Another key item worth mentioning are the save states. We all know in these Metroidvania types of games. Nothing can piss you off more than running through a level for 20 minutes, to end up dying once you reached the boss s and having to start from the beginning of the level. In Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night you will have to venture through some levels of the castle without any save state before making it to the boss. Although the different rooms can be difficult at times, it can be easy to make your way through to the end. At the end of these rooms you will hit a save state right before entering the boss’s quarters. Upon saving you will also receive a full health bar. (P.S Try to save your health potions for the boss.)
Another important feature in the game are the random bookcases that are spread out through the levels. When you come across these bookcases be sure to hit up p on your D-pad. Each of these book cases will provide you with certain attacks for different weapons. They will give you certain analog positions and buttons to press to do special attacks with whatever weapon is listed for that attack. There are countless weapons within the game. To mention just a few, you will be able to wield whips, swords, axes, maces, even spiked shoes (my favorite so far.)
This game offers so much more than just a great backstory, great gameplay, and beautiful graphics. On top of the main quest, you will also be able to pick up side quests during your playthrough, and upon completion, you will receive a variety of gifts. Although the Switch does not offer the best version of this game, I still had a great time with this title. The creators of this game have also heard the complaints from the Switch users, and are working on small patches to get out quickly to fix the small issues within the Switch port. I would recommend this title to any Metroidvania fans like myself. But would also advise possibly waiting for this title to be patched or go on sale before purchasing.