Bloodstained. Ritual of the Night / Hebrew

Short description

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, created by Koji Igarashi, the producer of the Castlevania series, is a modern game that captures the essence of its predecessor. The game takes place in 18th century England and follows Miriam, who gains new powers by absorbing fragments of souls. Similar to the Castlevania series, Bloodstained is a 2.5D platform game, with secret rooms that can only be unlocked by defeating bosses and unlocking new abilities. The game also features a pumping system, which allows players to increase their character’s characteristics by defeating monsters. Despite some downsides, Bloodstained is a well-designed game that is worth playing.

Bloodstained. Ritual of the Night / Hebrew

Today I decided to deviate a little from the permanent column “Nostalgic games” and start a new one – “In search of treasures”, where I will talk about good modern or relatively modern games that you might have missed.

I’ll start with a project called Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night.

The first thing that catches your eye is the external similarity with the Castlevania series, and deciding that this is another clone, you will pass by. But wait, don’t rush to conclusions!

You are right, it is indeed a clone, but it was made by the creator of the cult Symphony of the Night – Koji Igarashi. Trust me, this man knows what he’s doing, so let’s take a closer look at the project!

Who

Koji Igarashi started at Konami as a programmer. At the time of the development of Symphony of the Night, he also participated in its creation as a screenwriter and assistant director. After its success, he became the producer of the Castlevania series.

After leaving Konami in 2014, he tried to find a publisher on his own to finance his new game, but failed. Trouble did not break him, immediately after that, Koji founded his Artplay studio and 8 months later launched a new project – Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night – on Kickstarter. The original goal was to raise 500 thousand dollars, but by the end of the first day, more than a million was received, so there will be further development! A total of 5.5 million dollars was collected, which at that time was a record for games on crowdfunding sites.

Plot

The action of the game takes place in England at the end of the 18th century. The Alchemist Order, which is beginning to lose its influence, summoned demons to Earth and tried to prove its usefulness in the fight against the summoned breeds.

To perform the ritual, they used the girl Miriam, endowed with magical crystals that attract demons, but she cannot stand it and falls for someone for ten long years.

After awakening, Miriam discovers that a demonic castle has appeared in place of the Alchemist Guild, and due to the curse, the girl has become able to absorb fragments of souls, which give her new powers, instead of losing her human essence.

Gameplay

As I said above, Bloodstained is a Symphony of the Night clone, but in my opinion, it’s a clone that takes into account the mistakes of its father. The game very neatly takes all the best and transfers it to a new world and setting.

For those unfamiliar with the metroidvania genre (named after the two most famous games of the genre from Metroid + Castlevania) and the Castlevania series in particular, I’ll briefly cover the basics.

The game is a 2.5D platformer with a “side” view, in which your hero will have to travel through a huge castle full of monsters, weapons, secrets and simple puzzles. In theory, the entire castle is available for exploration, but many places you won’t be able to get to for various reasons. This can be due to the lack of any ability, key or due to the need to defeat the boss. But the further you progress through the story, discovering new abilities, the more new secret or hard-to-reach places in the castle will become available.

Game bosses deserve special attention. There are quite a few of them, and each one is unique both from a gameplay point of view and from an artistic point of view. The designers tried their best to make the battles with them memorable, because each of the bosses requires its own tactics and its own approach. Personally, my favorite boss of the game is a huge two-headed dragon that chases you from different sides of the arena, gradually destroying it. If you are already familiar with this game, share, and who is your favorite?

My favorite among the bosses

In addition, the game has a fairly typical pumping system. It consists in increasing your characteristics at the moment of obtaining a new level for killing monsters. It is worth considering that after you leave the room and return to it, the enemies come to life again. This allows you to become a little stronger by gaining experience or knocking out new shards (abilities). Each item and ability has a certain drop probability, which can increase when increasing the “Luck” characteristic, or after wearing items that increase the drop chance. To knock out certain abilities or other loot, you will have to try very hard and spend a lot of time. By the way, about abilities…

Counter

As a result of experiments by alchemists, Miriam is able to absorb fragments, finding them on the territory of the castle, or extracting them from fallen enemies. In this way, she receives new powers that expand both the attacking potential and the possibilities of exploring the castle. This mechanic is very similar to the same one from Castlevania Aria of Sorrow/Dawn of Sorrow. After defeating a monster, there is a certain chance to knock out a shard and items from it. Each monster/boss has its own unique shard and its own list of available items (these can be both weapons and armor, and various ingredients used in crafting).

The moment of obtaining a new skill

It seems to me that this is the basis of the gameplay, which conceptually repeats the Pokemon motto “Catch them all!”. The game has hundreds of different pieces of debris that can greatly expand the gameplay. Some allow you to shoot fireballs, others allow you to create a shield from demonic books (almost like the bone shield of a necromancer from the Diablo series). There are both healing spells and abilities to summon various minions that can attack enemies, heal you, or apply various buff effects. Fans of the progenitor series will certainly remember the demonic sword that flies after the heroine and attacks enemies on her own. But don’t forget about shards that passively improve your mastery of a certain weapon or some specific characteristic (increasing luck is my favorite). The icing on the cake of this munchkinism is the ability to pump these wrecks!

In fact, this game is anyone’s dream jerk enthusiastic player, because it has a lot of opportunities for optional grinding and pumping.

In addition to what I’ve listed above, you can search and check out books in the library to get optional stat buffs. You can become a real “Head Hunter” by accepting contracts to kill certain demons (for an appropriate reward, of course), prepare food and drinks in order to improve characteristics or complete a task.

But last in order, but not in importance, is craft. Finding in locations, buying or knocking out various ingredients and soul fragments from enemies, you can not only sell them, but also improve existing armor, weapons or fragments. If there is a desire and the necessary resources, then almost any item can be created.

Cons

A lot of abilities are really useless. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to use one or another skill if there are clear winners. In defense, I can say that you are unlikely to find a skill for all occasions. Certain skills will be useful at different times and situations.

The second minus is the combat system, which has hardly changed since 1997. In my opinion, it could have been made a little more diverse, to fill the battles with dynamics and drive.

Why play?

There can be several reasons to try this product. Someone will want to return to the setting, which resembles the spirit and game mechanics of the favorite series (Castlevania). Others will be affected by “munchkinism”: the desire to find and upgrade all abilities, discover all secrets, find all weapons and upgrade the character as much as possible. Well, there will surely be many players who just want to immerse themselves in this gothic atmosphere with enchanting locations, in a game in which you can easily “stick” after a hard day’s work.

And there are many such beautiful places in the game

Result

An excellent game that hardly went unnoticed, but did not make a big splash. Yes, it has its downsides, but the positives clearly outweigh it. The good news is that the text of the game is completely translated into Russian, so there will be no difficulties with immersion. I definitely recommend it if you like games of this genre, since it is available on almost any modern platform.

Such games are usually played not for the sake of the plot, but for the sake of gameplay and mechanics. And if they can hook you, chances are you’ll be here for a long time!

I’ve been playing games for over 25 years, and I remember them as just that: soulful and addictive, with engaging mechanics and interactivity, no in-game currency, and no attempt to be anything but a game. In my Telegram channels not only game reviews are waiting for you, but also current news and thoughts about gamedev. Subscribe, it will be interesting!

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