Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night – Solid and Innovative

Starting from Kickstarter, experiencing various obstacles until the delay, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night finally officially rolled out. The absence of the Castlevania series from Konami’s hands, certainly enough to make us miss the franchise, but eventually Bloodstained: RotN came to reduce longing.

Formulated by Artplay with the producer songkongan and scriptwriter Castlevania – Koji Igarashi, Bloodstained: RotN certainly has many touches that will make us remember the Konami franchise. Two Bloodstained series were carried out by Koji Igarashi after leaving Konami, Igarashi himself did not hesitate to call Bloodstained the spiritual successor of Castlevania.

And through Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night he seems to have succeeded in showing that his latest franchise is no less interesting than Castlevania. Although it looks similar, there are still many unique things that make Bloodstained: RotN has its own charm & identity.

Story

In 1783, the eruption of Mount Laki closed the European region with darkness, and from there the devils began to arrive and attack parts of England. To deal with this problem, the Alchemists transplanted humans with crystals that combined them with demonic power.

The times were difficult to pass and had taken many innocent victims, in the end, the threat of the demons was successfully extinguished. The Shardbiner which is no longer needed, is finally sacrificed in a ritual, but 2 of them – Gebel & Miriam have survived.

Gebel survived because of a mysterious power while undergoing the ritual, while Miriam was saved because of a mysterious force that made her fall asleep before the ritual took place. 10 years after the tragedy, the evil forces returned to the earth with a mysterious castle at its center.

At that time Miriam woke up from her long sleep, she also realized that the mastermind who brought the demon castle was Gebel. Unable to accept this, Miriam who was assisted by a young alchemist – Johannes headed to the castle to stop the shabat.

So, what conflicts will Miriam face? What obstacles will he overcome? What is Gebel’s motivation to bring the demon castle? And can Miriam stop Gebel? All of these questions will be answered through Bloodstained: This Ritual of the Night!

The style of storytelling is certainly one of the most important aspects in a story mode based game, but unfortunately, Artplay cannot execute it to the fullest. Bloodstained: RotN actually has a pretty interesting story, but unfortunately it is packaged through improper packaging.

Instead of arranging stories through a cutscene or other interesting visualization, the story is actually packaged through various dialog bars that feel old-fashioned, the cutscene is indeed shown, but feels minimal and looks “rough”. Unfortunately again, each conversation is wrapped in a variety of flat expressions of the characters, which certainly makes it even more difficult to give emotion and make stories less comfortable to listen to.

Gameplay

In addition to being able to evoke good memories such as when playing the classic Castlevania franchise in the past, Bloodstained: RotN also feels very fresh and not just “copy paste”. Believe it or not, he is able to present with side-scroll gameplay that even, feels more addictive than Castlevania itself, there are many innovations & new things that make it feel more refreshed.

As a metroidvania game, of course one of the most important elements is the combat mechanism, and through Bloodstained: RotN, ArtPlay managed to bring it very nicely. They managed to present the existing battle system that feels fast and intense, complete with variations of unique enemies that exist.

Each action is not only fixed on one type of playstyle, you can choose the style of play according to your wishes, ranging from defensive, offensive, to long distance. Of course all of that is also supported by various interesting weapons that you can use, ranging from swords, pistols, maces, spears, even to boots. All of these weapons will also have their own special moves, which must be learned through journals that can be found throughout the adventure.

In addition, a variety of unique abilities are also ready to support your style of play, which will certainly bring more colorful rhythms. Through the ability system called “shard” you can use various magic to support your actions. Starting from shooting projectiles, moving places instantly, to summon loyal monsters ready to protect you, the existing upgrade system can make your shard even stronger.

All of these shards not only support the action, but also wrapped with visualization effects that look really cool. Interestingly, some special shards also not only help in battles, but can also be used to access maps that were previously impassable.

Examples like Reflector Ray that allow you to move places as fast as light through mirror reflections, or Inverts that allow you to “flip the world”. Of course the shard requires special conditions to be obtained, one of which is facing boss battle.

Speaking of boss battles, every boss battle that is always always feels interesting to deal with, all have different ways to be subdued. Of course not just attacking blindly, you have to formulate a strategy, and prepare the most suitable shard ability to deal with the boss.

The RPG system pinned by Artplay also makes Bloodstained: RotN is more interesting, you can update & craft. Buying equipment is indeed one thing that is suffocating, but fortunately, you can craft various items such as weapons, accessories & armor.

The various equipment not only increases stats, but also makes the character’s appearance also change. Interestingly, it is also driven by a customization feature that can change the physical appearance of Miram directly, from hairstyles to skin color.

Not only equipment, here you can also mix various foods, which later can also increase health bar and stats. The ingredients for food recipes are indeed quite difficult to obtain, but it is worth it to deal with a precarious situation or be exchanged for equipment through a side quest.

As a game of metroidvania, Bloodstained: RotN is classified as having long playtime, one reason is because the world feels wide. A variety of scattered chests are certainly waiting for you to find, the various chests certainly save a variety of attractive rewards, ranging from crafting materials, to weapons with high rank.

Of course the exploration side will feel more open, where you will always be encouraged to fully explore an area and find various items before changing to another area. Not only chest, of course this wide-scale map also stores a variety of surprises to be revealed, such as easter eggs, until the secret boss battles.

Apart from playing quests to complete, some NPCs will also provide side quests with certain rewards. The quest indeed feels quite repetitive, but the reward offered is sometimes quite a shame to miss. Besides that, sometimes completing side quests can also be used to do grinding and strengthen characters before heading to areas with stronger enemies.

With the many advantages that exist, it does not mean Bloodstained: RotN appears in the most optimal conditions, there are some problems that cannot be ignored, one of which is a bug. We still often encounter bugs that interfere with the game, such as infinitie loading, for example, which of course forces us to do a force close.

Some small glitches that look like horror like a character’s head that doesn’t appear, of course, certainly look very disturbing. To provide the most optimal experience, of course we really hope that Artplay fixes various bugs & glitches through the next update.

2D pixelate graphics in the classic side scrolling style in the past have indeed been considered ancient in the current era, Artplay & Koji Igarashi did not implement it. Instead, they try to bring something unusual with a 2.5D visualization wrapper, and the results? looks unique. Of course this visualization is enough to remind us of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate that carries a similar look, but Bloodstained: RotN looks to be superior.

The visualization presented is still able to spoil the eyes, especially in terms of location design, all of which are not only interesting, but also look very beautiful. While from the visual battle effects, it also comes with slick execution, every blow, magical projectiles that glide, until the other battle effects are presented solidly, making every fight that is not only intense, but also looks cool!

It is undeniable that the soundtrack is one of the most crucial elements in a game, if formulated properly, the soundtrack will be able to deepen the playing experience to feel more immersive. One of the main attractions of Castlevania in the past, of course, is through its beautiful soundtrack, and on the Bloodstained: RotN Artplay is able to present a series of soundtracks that are very neat.

Had concocted a row of Castlevania Symphony of the Night soundtracks, the composer – reliable Michiru Yamane turned out to also handle the soundtrack of Bloodstained: RotN this time. And the result? really amazing! you will be faced with a row of cool soundtracks that are ready to spoil your ears. Starting from a beautiful instrument that floats wistfully, a beautiful organ instrument that makes the hair stand up, until the classic instruments of the old metroidvania game style, all of them sound stunning

Various situations that exist are also always wrapped in a soundtrack that matches, facing a fight with a boss, you will be presented with intense music ready to pump adrenaline. Each map area also has its own distinctive backsound, which will certainly make your exploration side always pamper your ears.

Conclusion

Amid the longing for the classic Castlevania series in the past, Bloodstained: RotN feels capable of treating it all. It feels present as a solid and innovative metroidvania game, which seems to be able to push the metroidvania genre to a higher level.

Bloodstained: RotN is truly a reminder of the sensation Konami has offered through Castlevania, but with various improvements that make it feel fresh. Through Artplay and reliable hands, Koji Igarashi, who has also concocted various Castlevania titles before, is certainly not surprising if they are able to present the best through their latest work this time.

But even so, it does not mean Bloodstained: RotN appears perfect, he still has a variety of problems that cannot be ignored. Starting from the side of the story that feels old-fashioned, to the annoying technical problems such as bugs & glitches. Regardless of the problem, of course Bloodstained: RotN is still a beautiful and action-packed metroidvania game.



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