Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night Finally Receives Its First Content Update

Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night Finally Receives Its First Content Update
Credit: Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night via YouTube

On paper, it’s difficult to discern precisely where the newest Metroidvania, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, went wrong.

Led by the legendary developer from the original Castlevania, Koji Igarashi, the Kickstarter was a resounding success with over $5.5 million raised in a month to bring the newest iteration of Metroidvania’s (or Igavania’s, as the developer studio ArtPlay has taken to calling it). Whether the Nintendo Switch port indeed killed the monumental budget, or if the developer’s simply over-promised and underdelivered, fans and early backers of the project have far more questions than they have answers.

What began as a monumental success on the Steam platform lost its wind rather quickly after releasing on consoles; promised Steam updates never came, stretch goals abandoned, and attempting to figure out what’s coming (and when) is a monumental pain.

To say that it’s currently a dire look at the development studio ArtPlay, and a smear on Koji Igarashi’s otherwise stellar career is more than fair at this point in time. Yet as ArtPlay reported, they were continuing to work on the upcoming content that has been promised, yet has not been cut at this point.

The first part of the promised content has finally released yesterday, bringing players the first playable character, the demon-hunting samurai known as Zangetsu, along with the ‘Randomizer’ game mode, which is introduced as a replacement for the promised roguelike mode which the studio cannot complete.

The introduction of the long-awaited additional character does not come without strings, however, and the strings apparently necessary are frustrating some players.

In order to play as the samurai Zangetsu, you’ll need to have completed the game already in its entirety, receiving the ‘good ending’ before unlocking. If you’ve already received the ‘good ending’, yet it doesn’t unlock, you’ll need to complete the game again if you don’t have a save before the final boss.

If you’re unsure about whether or not the ending you received was the ‘good one’, ArtPlay recommends reading through a walkthrough for the game and ensuring everything is done in the correct order. Assumptions that this was a bizarre practical joke have unfortunately fallen flat thus far.

If you manage to play as Zangetsu, the frustrations continue: all storylines have been disabled; there are no shops, treasures, equipment, crafting, or even consumables available when you play as the samurai, resulting in a strange traipse through empty halls with respawning enemies. There’s very little reason to even try the character that has taken nine months to release unless you’re interested in a few specific move sets repeated for ten hours.

The randomizer equally has fallen flat, as it fails to deliver any breath of fresh air that many were hoping for. Instead of a true roguelike that was promised, minor shifts to how the game plays out was introduced, where save rooms can be changed with teleport rooms and other minute alterations that frankly fail to bring anything that was hoped for.

Still, more content has been promised to be on the way, and yet to be canceled. It’s absolutely not the definitive end of Koji Igarashi nor his project that is Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. As Kickstarter backers are still waiting for promised deliverables, five years after the fact, it’s decidedly not a promising look for what could have been a renaissance for the genre.