Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is a Gothic Horror and action RPG set in 19th century England where an evil force has conjured a demon-infested castle. Along with that are Shardbinders or crystal shards infused with tremendous magical powers. In this game, players take on the role of an orphan who was inflicted by an alchemist’s curse that crystallized her body. Miriam must fight through the castle and defeat the summoner, Gebel. Each shardbinder you absorb is one step towards losing the humanity left in you.
Developers did a good job reviving Igavania on Ritual of the Night. For those who are not familiar, Igavania is a distinct gameplay style that is associated with Castlevania creator, Koji Igarashi. One of his remarkable works was transforming the 1997’s Symphony of the Night from an action-focused Castlevania series into a heavy exploration game mixed with role-playing elements. Ritual of the Night is the first game that Igarashi worked on after leaving Konami. The game still reflects the iconic Castlevania theme and mechanics, except that it makes use of polygons instead of pixels.
The level of design of Igavanias is not one of the best assets of Igarashi’s works. It is solely about how the places of its world link to one another. Not only that, the combat system is primeval, which gains extremity with the variety. Ritual of the Night isn’t entirely an eye-candy or a treat when it comes to the graphics and low-quality sounds. The overall visuals of the game is wonky and not refined as the former Igavanias, but it is good enough to keep you interested.
In Ritual of the Night, there is only one way to attack, and it’s forward. Even with great focus on combat, enemies on normal difficulty do not pose much of a threat but boss fights can be challenging. There’s a nice weave of exploration and combat builds where you can find quick ways to deal with respawning enemies. There are always new weapons to discover and new enemies to slay.
There are tons of weapon types with varying stats, techniques, and attributes. Moreover, you can learn new abilities by reading books that can be found in different parts of the game. Aside from a great deal of arsenal, players get to utilize some magical abilities. Killing a legion of demons will drop some shards that will embed itself into Miriam’s body. However, you can summon support characters to aid you in battle.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, offers a fascinating game with its gothic horror theme, crafting alchemy elements, and RPG mechanics that appeal to the player’s sense of exploration. Many have tried to create prominent genres, especially indie developers, but none have come close to Igarashi’s work.