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Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (PS4)

The darling genre of the Indie studios, Konami’s not so secret weapon on the GBA and DS. I am of course talking about Metroidvanias. Koji Igarashi’s winning concept has left Konami and entered the Indie scene and Kickstarter.

When I first saw Iga’s newest project, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, it looked like the 2.5D lovechild of Symphony of the Night and Aria of Sorrow, but animations looked stale and did not impress on me. I waited over a year before playing it because I told myself that I wanted to play the PC version. Last fall I could not wait anymore, I had heard so many good things about Bloodstained so I bought it on PS4. It did not disappoint. I wasn’t wrong in my first assessment, it really is the lovechild of Symphony of the Night and Aria of Sorrow, which I really enjoy since they are my favorites of the Igavanias.

The shard mechanic is ripped straight out of Aria of Sorrow’s Soul system, which is my favorite skill system in the GBA games. Rest of the game feels very Symphony of the Night, the gothic aesthetic, music and last but not least, controls.

Miriam the protagonist is a shardbinder, which means she can absorb shards from demons and gain their abilities. This does though slowly turn her into a shard lore-wise. The story is engaging and balanced but not very deep. It’s very Igavania to say the least. The rest of the cast have great personalities and most of them are memorable like the swordsman Zangetsu from Curse of the Moon-fame.

There are many Easter eggs for the initiated, mostly from SotN. Which makes it enjoyable and adds to the nostalgia. The game is cryptic, the map is big and full of secrets all over the castle like bosses and overpowered weapons.

Also, the music, it’s very SotN without being a rip off. Which is a huge plus in my book. The music accompanied the game excellently and I don’t have much to complain about.

The one point that I’m not overly happy with is the graphics and the animations. It looks okay, but animations are pretty stale, event hough better than the first look of the game. Despite that, it’s an very enjoyable game that no metroidvania fan should miss.

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