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YMMV / Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

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  • And You Thought It Would Fail: After the cold reception of other Kickstarter-backed Spiritual Successor games such as Mighty No. 9 and Yooka-Laylee, as well as how bland the graphics looked in previews, many people thought Bloodstained would be headed the same road as the aforementioned games; being a mediocre cash-grab meant to lure fans of a beloved and neglected franchise. The game released to stellar reviews, with many praising it for its engaging gameplay and vastly improved graphics, and it is viewed by many as a worthy successor to Castlevania.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • A rare example of the saving throw being in response to something somebody outside of the project did. The PR disaster and the mediocre reception of Mighty No. 9 shook a lot of people's faith in the upcoming wave of Kickstarter games that Bloodstained is a part of, so in response, to assure any nervous backers, they released the E3 demo to all backers the week that Mighty No. 9 came out.
    • Perhaps not coincidentally, IGA worked with a lot of the same people and developers as Mighty No. 9, including Ben Judd, who suggested Keiji Inafune strike out on his own as well. Most likely IGA saw the writing on the wall firsthand and strove to rectify potential issues ahead of time.
    • When they announced that they would stop porting the game to Wii U in favor of Nintendo Switch, those who chose WiiU as their platform were allowed to change platform or get a refund. They later made the same offer when the Playstation Vita version got canned (which was announced together with another delay for the game).
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    • In another unusual case, with the saving throw being one that was planned to begin with, the Curse of The Moon prequel by Inti Creates got released to much acclaim in May 2018, placating the fans that were getting concerned about the main project's apparent delays.
    • The release date trailer looked like a similar saving throw when compared to Mighty No. 9. For reference:
      • In the case of Mighty No. 9, the trailer released shortly before the release date was the Masterclass by Deep Silver one that contained the line "Make bad guys cry like an anime fan on prom night" and explosions that looked like pizzas, overall making the announcer sound really boastful about the future success of the game when it instead generated Snark Bait and later contributed to how the game failed.
      • The Bloodstained trailer actually showcased all the complaints about the art style and texture quality of the old versions, meaning that IGA was aware of his shortcomings and showcased that in public. Then it cut to IGA himself, after taking a sip of wine, throwing the glass down in classic fashion and declaring "I'LL PROVE THEM WRONG!!", showing how truly committed he is to making a quality game; and then it showed that the graphics have been massively improved from the older versions. In other words, after learning from the disaster of Mighty No. 9, IGA made sure that the release date trailer of his Kickstarter game would assure the fans of its quality.
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    • In the case of the PC version for those that backed for a physical copy for Steam or, they were delayed from shipment (unlike the console versions), as they wanted to release them with every free stretch goal DLCs/updates included on the disc based on user feedback. However, rather than make physical Steam and backers wait for a long time for said DLCs to circulate, the developers opted to give them a digital copy of the game for the platform they've chosen free of charge to make up for the delay.
    • Soon after the Switch version released, and, despite the delay, turned out to be a Porting Disaster, it was stated in backer-sent e-mails that one of the biggest, post-release priorities, patch-wise, is to fix it ASAP.
  • Best Level Ever:
    • Towers of Twin Dragons is a throwback to Castlevania Clock Towers, complete with giant rotating gears, flying enemy heads that knock you into spikes, and some of the best music in the game. The sheer size, scope, and unique 3d gimmick takes everything cool about its inspiration and outdoes them, showing off what Iga and the team can do now with modern technology no longer limited to by handheld consoles. It's not uncommon to hear players gush about this level being the moment when they tearfully rejoiced, "Oh my God! This really is Castlevania!"
    • The Bridge of Evil is perhaps the most unique level in the game, as it takes place on a moving train, where the player teams up with Zangetsu and the two mow down anything in their path. The boss fight is also extremely unique in that Miriam barely does anything to defeat it; the entire fight hinges upon Zangetsu and his awesome sword skills.
    • The Oriental Sorcery Lab is probably the most unexpected level, being essentially a Japanese level in a European castle, with ninjas and torii gate warps. One section even adds to the atmosphere by having sliding walls hiding everything but the characters' silhouettes and showing blood splatters hitting the foreground when Miriam cuts her enemies down. Adding to the aesthetic is the fact that the long hallways make the katana, with its Jinrai technique which cuts anything in a horizontal line, one of the best choices for battle.
  • Complete Monster: The Big Bad Duumvirate:
    • Gremory is the seeming right-hand of Gebel who is actually the force corrupting him, having driven him into evil and using him to unleash scores of demons on humanity to massacre countless innocents. Gremory seeks to possess the heroine Miriam to use her power to bring Bael, the Demon King, to the world to cause apocalyptic devastation, callously throwing aside Gebel to his death when he's freed from her control in favor with an alliance with Dominique, and even seemingly murders Zangetsu before her defeat.
    • Dominique Baldwin is an exorcist who lost her faith in God after God did nothing to stop the demon invasion 10 years prior and thus desired demonic power to transcend any deity. To this end, she assists Miriam and Johannes, learning the art of alchemy and gathering Shards to fuse with herself. Hoping to use Miriam as a sacrifice to summon Bael, she sets Miriam against her childhood friend Gebel, hoping to corrupt Miriam enough to have Gremory possess her. When confronted, she attempts to murder Miriam, summon Bael, and plunge the world into demonic carnage to sate her thirst for power. Using every seeming ally as a tool for her own ends, Dominique is nothing but a misanthrope with a lust for power.
  • Disappointing Last Level: The Glacial Tomb. Some have found the setting of an ice cave to be rather out of place for the game's final area, while others have pointed out that it's a reference to the Ninth Circle of Hell. Aside from that, people in both camps have argued that the area looks rather generic, feels empty with barely any enemies present, and lacks the feeling of a Very Definitely Final Dungeon. It's one of the shortest areas in the game that is reserved mainly for the game's final and bonus bosses, and even some of those are considered a disappointment by quite a few players.
  • Evil Is Sexy:
  • Fandom Rivalry: With the ill-received Mighty No. 9, which has largely been seen as how not to make a Kickstarter-backed video game. Mighty No. 9 was often compared to Bloodstained before release, which fans felt had a higher chance of success due to the developers' higher degree of communication and transparency with its fans. Now that Bloodstained has been released to good critical reception from reviewers and fans alike, the rivalry has only grown more heated.
  • Friendly Fandoms:
    • Due to their Kickstarters being held at around the same time period, a lot of people who backed Bloodstained also backed Yooka-Laylee, and both of them were widely successful.
    • A number of other Kickstarter-funded games also share a good chunk of fans, which include Shantae and Shovel Knight. Bonus points for WayForward being picked up to help with the game's development late into its cycle and Yacht Club Games' approval of featuring Shovel Knight as the Shovel Armor guest enemy, as well as a summonable Shard attack and playable character via the Ex Shovel Armor due to fanart by Yuji Natsume.
    • There used to be one with Mighty No. 9, another a Kickstarter-funded game, until the troubles with its development led to Bloodstained fans using it as a bad example of a crowdfunded game while lauding Bloodstained as not suffering from the same mistakes, which only gotten worse after Ritual of the Night came out with glowing praises from critics, backers of both games, and players alike.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • Weapons:
      • The Rhava Velar, the upgraded version of the Rhava Bural. Much like the Crissaegrim from Symphony of the Night, this blade attacks multiple times with one swing, allowing Miriam to dice through just about anything without much trouble. It's a bit hard to find the recipe for it, but once you do, the endgame becomes trivial.
    • Accessories
      • The Recycle Hat, the ultimate reward Miriam receives for Susie's cooking quest line. Putting it on makes all ammunition infinite. Equipping this, and one of the endgame rifles loaded with Diamond bullets, makes Miriam able to one-shot the vast majority of enemies in the entire game. Also, unlike most of the Purposely Overpowered equipment that is only available by the time you get to the Glacial Tomb (AKA the last 30 minutes of the game), the Recycle Hat can be obtained as early as the Oriental Sorcery Lab (before fighting Gebel), as the Flying Beef needed for the Exquisite Steak recipe can be found there.
    • Shards:
      • Invert is undeniably one of the coolest mechanics in the game (essentially a weaponized version of the Plot Twist from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night), but it also has the effect of making some boss fights completely busted (in particular: Gebel, Valefor, Zangetsu 2, and O.D.). Their attacks are scripted to only work in normal gravity, so Miriam attacking from the ceiling with a Great Sword or some other attack with great reach makes her almost untouchable.
      • Riga Storæma, the fire spell shard. It's not very powerful initially - it's a column of flame that only hits twice. However, upgrading the shard increases the number of flame columns that shoot out in front of Miriam. At around level five, the shard can create so many columns of flame that it's nearly impossible for enemies to avoid it. Also, the spell has two hits per column, meaning that bigger enemies can get hit multiple times. Riga Storæma also never increases in mana cost with level, making it a very cheap go-to spell for clearing rooms and damaging bosses from afar.
      • 8-Bit Fireball is one of the secret Shards gotten from the 8-bit Nightmare minigame in the Hall of Termination. It's a tiny, slow-moving fireball that doesn't seem all that impressive initially. However, after fully upgrading it, the maximum number of fireballs it fires goes up to SIX, and while they still move rather slowly, each fireball hits like a truck while costing a pittance of MP. At point-blank range, the fireball becomes a very effective substitute for melee that can demolish bosses in only a handful of shots.
      • Bunnymorphosis. Miriam being able to turn into a sexy demon bunny girl is one thing, being able to turn into a sexy demon bunny girl that hits really freaking hard is another. Its damage output is vastly superior to anything in your kit at the time you're able to access itnote  even without enhancements, and you can earn additional moves out of it via Rank Ups like a cartwheel maneuver and a dagger throw. Due to being a Shard, its damage scales based on your INT, and by the time you have access to conventional weaponry that out-damages Bunnymorphosis, you're pretty much at the end of the game anyway. The icing on the cake is that it costs a very negligible amount of MP to maintain and can be toggled on and off at will with no downtime, meaning you can stay in the transformation for an excessive amount of time and switch off in a snap to conserve resources.
    • The Jump Kick in and of itself can easily break most enemies and bosses, as the majority of them have no anti-air attacks and stand still often enough that you can get a lot of damage in by just holding Down and hammering the Jump button over and over until they decide to move. This is especially pronounced with the Bunnymorphosis Shard, itself already verging on a Game-Breaker.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • The game not only takes cues from the descriptions of demons in Ars Goetia to design the enemies who bear their names (such as Vepar; the original book states Vepar looks like a mermaid who commands the seas, while this game instead makes her a Sea Monster), but also include some additional tidbits related to said demons. For example: you may notice some magic circles on Valefor's boss room floor. The middle circle is the actual Valefor seal as stated in the Lesser Key of Solomon.
    • As mentioned above, many players were taken aback by the sudden appearance of an ice cavern for the game's final area, while others recognized it as a fitting reference to the Ninth Circle of Hell as mentioned in The Divine Comedy, the deepest level of hell that is said to have its inhabitants frozen in ice, and is reserved for those who have committed the sin of treachery, which couldn't be more fitting for the game's true antagonist.
  • Goddamned Bats: The Dullahammer Heads and Maledictions, close cousins to the Medusa Heads of Castlevania infamy. They are oftentimes placed deliberately in rooms that emphasize platforming, and they're even more common on Hard and Nightmare difficulties.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: A lot of fans and interviewers like to pit IGA against Inafune, since both were behind some of the most beloved side-scrollers ever (Castlevania and Mega Man, respectively) and both began hugely successful Spiritual Successor-themed Kickstarters. When jokingly asked if he will "call Inafune to gloat" about beating his record, IGA humbly turned aside the joke and said "I'm sure his next Kickstarter will blow mine away". A few weeks later, Inafune launched a Kickstarter for Red Ash, based on Mega Man Legends, which ended up being immensely controversial, and failed to meet its goals by a rather large margin. It's also hard to think about this act of humility when Mighty No. 9 ended up being widely considered a major disappointment both shortly before and once it released.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • During the stream hosted for the initial campaign's ending, IGA briefly abandoned his humble nature and challenged future Kickstarters to "Bring it on" regarding Bloodstained's record-breaking run. A joke was made "There will be a Kickstarter next week that'll beat you guys". Less than a month later, Shenmue III had its launch at E3 and proceeded to make 6.3 million, beating Bloodstained's record and becoming the current leading video game Kickstarter at time of writing.
    • A fan drew a fanart of Dominique over half a year before the game came out. Viewers who felt that Dominique looked rather sinister in that fanart were probably laughing when they found out that Dominique is the villain of the game.
    • Zangetsu being voiced by David Hayter in English becomes this if you set the resolution to 21:9 and watch the ending, which shows that Zangetsu survived the events of the game and is seen sneaking behind Miriam and Johannes as they walk off. "Kept you waiting, huh?", indeed.
  • It's the Same, So It Sucks: Downplayed. Critical reviews of the game called it a solid piece of work, its scores generally falling in the range of "eight out of ten". However, it was also criticized for following in the footsteps of its predecessors a little too closely.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Miriam has has been shipped with pretty much every male character in the game: Zangetsu, Gebel, Alfred, Johannes, and of course O.D.. And some of the women too, especially after The Reveal.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: This has been a common reaction to Zangetsu's "death". Not only is it heavily stacked with Never Found the Body and Uncertain Doom, but he is seen as way too cool and unique a character to die off. An Easter Egg that occurs only if you set your resolution to 21:9 (Ultrawide) and watch the ending reveals that, yes, Zangetsu is alive and well, observing Miriam from afar.
  • Memetic Badass: The Kickstarter pitch quickly made Koji Igarashi into one by turning him into Dracula, so much so that he even became a (then backer-exclusive) superboss for players to face, and defeating him earns a special shard that give players the ability to toss a volatile wine glass based on Dracula's famous opening scene from Symphony of the Night as well as the Sword Whip weapon from Lindsay upon clearing her vengeance quest.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Kill those murderers DEAD!! note 
    • The knights' long death rattle, aka voice #813 in the Sound menu. Hear it enough and it goes from funny, to annoying and loop back around to being hilarious.
  • Moe: Miriam can be a deceptively endearing character at times. She's mainly a confident Action Girl both in gameplay and in cutscenes, but her friendlyness to the villagers, teasing tone of voice and trust in Johannes, and the adorable pose she makes when she cooks is really quite cute.
  • Most Annoying Sound:
    • Most abilities have a voice line associated with them, and some of the spammier ones will be repeated. Again and again.
      Arise myself and my shadow!
      Dimension shift!
    • Whenever Miriam buys or crafts anything, she will always repeat one phrase over and over. This becomes especially noticeable if you craft in bulk.
      "I'll go w—I'll go w—I'll go w—I'll go w—I'll go with this!"
  • Most Wonderful Sound: In contrast to the above, some people share sheer joy in stopping to listen to the knights' death rattle, and they even mimic it, such sound becoming even memetic by this point.
  • Porting Disaster: The Switch version was widely lambasted for its numerous serious performance issues. While many expected its lower resolution and slower FPS, the other issues were less acceptable. The numerous graphical issues and borderline 3DS-level graphical performance, input lag, regular crashes, Loads and Loads of Loading, and extremely dodgy framerate that often dips into the teens and frequently stutters or hangs have all greatly soured the fanbase's opinion of the Switch version, and many fans seriously wondered if they even tried to make the Switch version good. Furthermore, several details suggested that they were well aware of the Switch version's issues (the Blatant Lies about the reason for its poor performance at E3, plus the Switch version shipping out a week late in what appeared to be a transparent ploy to get it to fly under the radar and not drag down the initial review scores), which pissed off the fanbase even more. The general mood among backers who chose the Switch version has been one of anger, and, at best, people are hoping that they will actually listen to them regarding the game's issues and address them via patching. IGA and 505 Games responded swiftly and promised a fix by reallocating their resources and programmers majorly to fix the Switch issue.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: Underwater walking/jumping mechanics, in which the slow, plodding controls Castlevania is known for make a return. Unlike other games in the Castlevania franchise, here Miriam moves as nimbly as glacial drift, and you need a few other shards to make it bearable. When you first receive the Aqua Stream shard that allows you to move underwater, you actually have to "push" Miriam through the water, which makes navigating past high-damage spike traps a real pain.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: The two most vocally-opposed shipping groups are Miriam/Zangetsu and Miriam/Johannes, mostly coming down to whether the person prefers a Rated M for Manly man or a Non-Action Guy.
  • Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: Bloodstained can be a collector's worst nightmare or paradise, depending on player investment. The game features an extremely varied Item Crafting system with dozens upon dozens of unique weapons, armor, accessories, and recipes. It's entirely possible to spend the entirity of a New Game+ still crafting new gear. Not to mention the several cosmetic accessories Miriam can wear for fun, on top of the many changes Todd the barber can make to Miriam's appearance.
  • Tearjerker:
    • In the prologue cutscene, Miriam and Johannes are talking about Gebel and how he was a good person. Johannes laments that the torment he went through "would break even the best of souls" when being cursed by the alchemists. Then we have this, which crosses over with Tearjerker.
      Johannes: "Miriam, I want you to know that I'm sorry. What my brothers subjected you to... There's no forgiving it."
      Miriam: "It was their transgression, not yours. always took care of us."
      Johannes: "Obviously not enough."
    • Further down the line is the first meeting with Gebel. We learned beforehand that the crystal curse was agonizing to gain, and he sounds like someone who is abused who wants to take vengeance upon their abuser. Perhaps the saddest thing is that he fully believes that he is a monster and even getting him to recall good things seems painful on his end.
    • Gebel's death on the true ending path. He finally comes to his senses and Miriam believes she's finally saved him, but his corruption begins growing at such a rapid rate that it becomes clear he's not going to make it, and there's nothing Miriam can do to help him.
  • That One Achievement: The achievement for getting 500,000 gold. To earn it you have to actually have 500,000 gold on-hand. Considering how often you'll be purchasing supplies, crafting materials, and other gear, this can take a very long time. It doesn't help that the Augment Gold Shard that allows enemies and candles to drop 500 Gold bags doesn't show up for a while. It can take even longer to earn it if you're also going for the 100% Item Completion achievement (itself not an easy achievement either). It also doesn't help that one late-game boss is much, much harder to beat if you have a lot of gold on-hand.
  • That One Attack: The Death Seal attack that True Zangetsu performs on you on Hard Mode and higher is a One-Hit Kill attack that, once summoned, cannot be avoided and will likely kill any newcomers who don't know how to deal with it. Although some use the Directed Shield to withstand the attack, others have made use of the Ray Reflector or the Dimensional Shift to escape.
  • That One Boss:
    • Zangetsu. He serves to let you know that the game isn't taking it easy on you anymore. Zangetsu is capable of teleporting, throwing fast-moving projectiles, and knocking Miriam all the way across the screen. On top of that, his attacks all have a tremendous amount of power behind them. It requires a player to learn how to pick and choose when to attack, lest they get cut to ribbons.
    • Bloodless serves as a way to show what endgame bosses are going to be like. While her attacks are telegraphed quite a bit, they're so big and hard to avoid that it really doesn't matter. Bloodless can create pillars and tornadoes of blood, throw parasols that track Miriam, and has homing blood projectiles. All of these moves are aimed at severely restricting your movement, and Bloodless is very good at it. On top of that, Bloodless averts No Cure for Evil, as her Blood Steal ability recovers a massive amount of health when she's close to death the first time. The fight against Bloodless is the moment that serves as a Difficulty Spike for the rest of the game.
    • Doppelganger. While other bosses are cheap, and while their attack patterns restrict movement, Doppelganger's attacks are incredibly difficult to read and she moves incredibly fast, meaning that you can be sliced through in moments before getting any offense in whatsoever. Worse, one of her melee attacks does critical damage to you every time it connects and is difficult to avoid.
    • Depending on whether or not you've been stingy with your money, Valefar has the potential to become this. At the start of his second phase, he drains you of every single penny and adds it to his health. For players who have been hoarding cash, the fight now becomes an endurance test as you try to whittle down Valefar's now astronomical health, and while his attacks aren't too hard to dodge, the potential length of the fight means that the possibility of slipping up too many times and dying is all too real.
  • That One Level:
    • The Oriental Sorcery Lab. While even getting there is tricky enough, the level itself is a sprawling area with enemies that hit hard, confusing exits and exploration that require thorough use of the Invert ability, and a lack of checkpoints compared to the previous areas.
    • The underwater section of the Forbidden Underground Waterway that leads to the Hidden Desert, which also suffers from Checkpoint Starvation. You need to use the Aqua Stream shard to push Miriam through the water and past a series of spike traps that inflict a LOT of damage if they connect. There are no save points in this section, and the closest one is past a few rooms in the Hidden Desert, which has some very powerful enemies. If you don't know where the save room is and you're low on health and items, chances are the enemies there will do you in before you find it.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Gebel. He's set up as the main antagonist of the game and is seen twice before you fight him in his throne room. Following that, he dies regardless of your actions, and the remainder of the plot focuses on Alfred, Zangetsu, and Dominique, who all get more screen time than he does.
  • Too Cool to Live: Zangetsu. Subverted if you have your resolution set to Ultrawide, which reveals that he survived the events of the game.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • Several demons, such as Nyapon, Macaron, Puppy, and Rocky, are the photo-realistic heads of real cats and dogs, and look disturbingly unnatural next to the more stylized designs of every other creature and character.
    • Poltergeists are framed pictures of real life kickstarter backers and other key people (and animals). The first time they're seen, it's immensely creepy...especially when they start moving toward the foreground and attack the player.
  • What an Idiot!: Part of the backstory of Ritual of the Night involves learning how the world came to be infested with demons, and how Shardbinders were created. Journals from a member of the Alchemist's Guild show that demons were summoned en masse onto the Earth as a deliberate act by the Guild to stay in business after the world began turning towards science instead of spirtualism. After finally learning how to summon a demon via crystals, that one demon almost singlehandedly ruins the guild and causes horrific loss of life before being put down. You'd expect that this would make the Guild (if not the Journal's author, who is the main person researching this process) realize that summoning a whole army of demons is a bad idea. Instead, they continue ahead with the experiment, and when they finally gain enough crystals to perform the ritual, the main crux of their plan (Miriam) is put into a coma, which robs the summoning of half its strength. Yet, this botched summoning still brought forth enough devastation that the world still hasn't recovered ten years later. To make things worse, if a Spanner in the Works hadn't put Miriam to sleep, even more demons would have come through and the world wouldn't have had a chance of fighting back. For the single purpose of keeping their cash flow, and "proving" that the world still needed them, the Guild condemned the whole planet to a Hell on Earth that would have been even worse than it was if the experiment had worked as intended.
  • Win Back the Crowd: While the game had a good, positive following at first, the first reveal of the graphics of the game made people think twice, declaring it as ugly (despite being pre-alpha graphics). This was reversed when they showed off new, improved shaders for the game and some updated graphics, which many people declared looked downright beautiful.
    • This was further cemented by the E3 demo, which, despite being Alpha, was so well received for its visuals, gameplay, and music that any fear of Bloodstained "pulling a MN9" has all but vanished.
    • Later, this happened yet again, when sometime after WayForward Technologies joined the development to help with finishing the game, an announcement for an actual release date finally came, accompanied with a trailer that shows how many refinements the graphics have received over the months. Fans joyfully looked on as the developers proved they did in fact listen to the criticism and delayed the game to genuinely improve it.


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