Title: Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
Publisher: 505 Games
Genre: Action, Adventure, Platformer, Role-Playing
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 12
Release Date: 25/6/2019
Price: £34.99 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
Metroidvania is a genre of game that has been massively popular with Indie Developers and Kickstarters however, and it is not very often you will get one that holds up against the games that started the genre. Bloodstained Ritual of the Night, on the other hand, may as well be called Castlevania Ritual of The Night and that is not a bad thing.
You play as a female protagonist Miriam who is something called a “shardbinder”. You spend the game exploring a castle that has mysteriously appeared near a village and unleashed its demons. Throughout the game, you will find allies to help Miriam’s venture through the castle. Early in the game, you find a merchant Dominique and an alchemist called Johannes. You will also find NPCs that you may know if you have played Bloodstained: Curse of The Moon, and even one that will let you play around with Miriam’s appearance.
If you’re expecting gameplay similar to that of a Castlevania, you will not be disappointed. The man behind this game is the creator of the original Castlevania after all, so you can expect a lot of exploration and backtracking. However, the visuals of the game and the vast range of weapons and abilities give you plenty to play around with while you try and find your way around. Progression is made by finding your way through areas to unlock new abilities that allow you to progress even deeper into the castle. There are plenty of shortcuts, and hidden areas to be found, so exploration is encouraged.
As you progress through the game, you will level up Miriam’s stats along with finding new weapons and shards. Exploration will reward you with upgrades that will improve your health and mana stats. Some of these are hidden behind breakable walls. Also taken into consideration is how weapons and abilities will work against certain enemies as each has its weakness to a certain weapon type and element. The same can be said about the bosses you encounter throughout the game.
There are a massive amount of weapons available in the game, from boots to whips to guns, and each is unique in the way they look and the way they swing. Certain weapons will make taking down flying enemies a lot easier, whereas armoured foes will not be as easy to take down. This encourages you to try out all of the different weapon types to find out enemy weaknesses.
You are also able to improve certain stats with equipment that can be traded or found throughout the game. However, there is usually a trade-off where one stat increase will decrease a different one. This allows you to play around to find a build that suits your current situation or your preferred play style. We can’t talk about stat changes without talking more about Johannes who will craft your food. Each recipe will boost a stat type permanently when first consumed, and is then made readily available to buy from Dominique.
The shards you find throughout the game can be equipped to give you a range of different spells. You can shoot lightning, cast fire or summon creatures to help you out. These are called Enchant Shards, shards required for progressions like double jump or swimming are all passive and do not need to be equipped. These are called Passive Shards. Johannes can also create passive Shards by fully upgrade your Enchant Shards.
The art style of the game is incredible. It has been developed on the Unreal Engine and made to look like an Anime. The enemy design is fantastic and mostly fits the theme the game is going for. Each area is uniquely designed, and they all feel new and not just a copy and paste of areas you have previously visited. The soundtrack for the game is a fantastic combination of gothic, melodic and electronic instruments that all comes together really well. Each area and boss has its own unique sound. All of these factors generate a different mood and atmosphere, which adds to the uniqueness of the areas.
I played this mainly in handheld mode on the Switch, and it did have some performance issues including frame rate drops, usually in cutscenes – this should hopefully be patched and fixed. Also, missing text in dialogue was noticed a few times. However, this in no way detracted from the experience I had with this game. If you have been waiting for a Metroidvania that goes back to the golden age of the genre, I would 100% recommend this game.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night from the Nintendo eShop on the following link, https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch/Bloodstained-Ritual-of-the-Night-1563735.html#Overview