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Koji Igarashi's Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night


Dig Dug
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I'm currently at about 70% in ROTN and enjoying it more than any game in the genre since SOTN. Unlike most modern Metroid-type games it doesn't dumb everything down for the sake of accessibility, like marking off your next objective on the map, so you really have to explore and figure things out for yourself. There's so much variety in locations, weapons, equipment, shards, enemies etc. that the huge castle isn't growing old even after ten hours.

 

No idea if there's an equivalent of the inverted castle in SOTN, bringing the total up to 200%, but I wouldn't complain.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Play Aria of Sorrow and Dawn of Sorrow. This is not a request.

 

They're the pinnacle of the genre, IMHO. Plus, Bloodstained very clearly plays like a follow-up to those two games in particular. The shard system is basically identical to the Sorrow games' soul system, for instance.

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Hollow Knight's very, very good (the mobility alone deserves some kind of award) but the pinnacle of the genre? Not even close. It's too... unbalanced, for a metroidvania. It tries to go for that sweet Dark Souls street cred with its losable xp/currency and its ultra hard bosses, but it kinda shifts the game's entire focus towards action in the process. Not that it skimps on exploration, but it just doesn't flow in the same way a 'proper' metroidvania does, if you catch my drift. Ori 1 was the antithesis of this — the combat was so simple that the game was basically all about exploration and platforming — but it somehow still managed to feel more like a metroidvania than Hollow Knight (which was more concerned about trying to upset Salt & Sanctuary in the 2D soulslike genre, I think).

 

Also: I got kinda tired of Hollow Knight's visuals after a few hours. The whole 'A Bug's Life, but by Tim Burton' shtick looks great and is incredibly creative and consistent throughout, but it also seemed to hamper the thematic diversity of the world a bit. (Although, granted, I am a sucker for the standard library-watchtower-garden-wine cellar-cathedral-clocktower blueprint, so feel free to ignore my opinion on Hollow Knight's level design.)

 

I love Hollow Knight and I can't wait for Silksong, but a Dawn of Sorrow it ain't.

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CotM 2 seems really great, two stages in, but there's a pretty big performance issue on PC at the moment - half-second hitches/pauses every few seconds, seemingly accompanied by dropped inputs. Hope this gets patched soon! The game itself is quite polished otherwise... (Edit: this has been fixed!)

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9 hours ago, Ozzy Womandias said:

Hollow Knight's very, very good (the mobility alone deserves some kind of award) but the pinnacle of the genre? Not even close. It's too... unbalanced, for a metroidvania. It tries to go for that sweet Dark Souls street cred with its losable xp/currency and its ultra hard bosses, but it kinda shifts the game's entire focus towards action in the process. Not that it skimps on exploration, but it just doesn't flow in the same way a 'proper' metroidvania does, if you catch my drift.


I don’t catch your drift at all, sorry. What do you mean by “too unbalanced for a Metroidvania?” The fact that at certain junctures the game becomes more open and can be explored in any order, maybe? If so, I don’t see that as being non-metroidvania at all. The best games in the genre fluctuate from linear to more open and back again. There are still locks all over the map that can only be “opened” by gaining certain abilities.

It is very much a Metroidvania, and I agree with a considerable number of other genre enthusiasts in believing that it’s quite possibly the best ever made. Which weirdly slightly hurts me to say almost, given how much I love others in the genre, especially Super Metroid and, yup, Dawn of Sorrow.
 

I think you’re also being very harsh on the art style. A Bug‘s Life by way of Tim Burton is a cute way of summing up vaguely how the game looks, but the level of detail and diversity going on throughout the massive map, and the environmental storytelling that comes with it is absolutely amongst the very best in class.

 

The fact that it also draws on Dark Souls and has excellent combat just adds more tasty ingredients to an already special recipe. It’s a masterpiece.

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I’m thinking now that what you’re maybe meaning is that the high standard of combat and manoeuvrability are what contribute to Hollow Knight having what you perceive to be an imbalance as a Metroidvania. You’re perhaps suggesting that these two components are of higher significance than the game’s exploration.
 

I don’t think you can play down the exploration simply because the other two selling points of the game are of such a high standard. They compliment each other in perfect harmony.
 

It’s not to the exploration’s detriment that the game has satisfying combat and tight controls. In fact, the expanded move-set and manoeuvrability of the main character as you gain more abilities are usually what act as keys for unlocking more areas, so I think the game does a great job in intertwining the various components. Very Samusy. Very Metroidvania! :) 

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I agree with almost all of that. Including that it's a masterpiece.

 

I don't know; it just never sunk its teeth in me the way the Metroids, IGAvanias and even some of the more modern examples of the genre (Guacamelee, Axiom Verge, Cave Story, etc.) did. I think the amount of punishing boss fights just wore me out, which is something I never thought could happen considering my affinity for things things like Boss Rushes and the Souls games. I completed Hollow Knight, and I look back on it fondly, but I don't feel the need to replay it ever again. And I remember really having to force myself to keep playing it, especially around the halfway point, which is something that I normally don't really struggle with when playing a metroidvania.

 

Let's just agree to disagree :)

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I agree that replaying it again would seem like a daunting prospect, owing to its length and boss difficulty. I’ll give you that Aria and Dawn of Sorrow are arguably a tighter experience, but that’s mostly because they’re maybe a quarter of the size of Hollow Knight, or maybe even less?

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7 hours ago, Calashnikov said:

I’ll give you that Aria and Dawn of Sorrow are arguably a tighter experience, but that’s mostly because they’re maybe a quarter of the size of Hollow Knight, or maybe even less?

 

Oh, wow, I actually never considered this. Is Hollow Knight really that much larger!?

 

I definitely prefer shorter, more replayable games over larger behemoths. I think Breath of the Wild is the only game I played this generation where its size and length didn't feel like they detracted from the experience.

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Hollow Knight gave me the best sense of feeling lost and learning a place, moreso than any other vania I've played, even more than Dark Souls 1! It was a stupendously good adventure. 

 

It also has such a beautifully nonlinear map. 

 

And the best music. 

 

And sick lore. 

 

But I'll stop stinking up the Bloodstained thread now. 

 

... 

 

It's a shame tho. I eagerly backed this game when it first went on kickstarter. Man how good were those Iga videos?! But jeez. I've struggled to play it for more than an hour. It's like a game from 1997. And not in a good way. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I just started playing this on Game Pass and I can't stop playing. Save points or fast travel points are discovered regularly enough that you always want to push on around the next corner to see what's there. 

 

Discovering that random walls can be destroyed means that I'm now swiping at every damn wall in sight, mostly to no avail but I'm still having a lot of fun.

 

After 9 hours of play, I've discovered 40% of the map and unlocked 3 of the story related abilities, went exploring with my newly acquired ability for about 30 minutes and another 4% of the map then died because I couldn't find a damn save room in the Hall of Terminations. Fuuuuuuu.

 

 

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Up to about 60% of the map, and I keep on going exploring for lengthy periods of time and dying because I can't find/get to a save room. Mildly frustrating but nothing that makes me want to delete the game.

 

One thing that I'm a little bemused by is the sheer number of weapons/shards/food/items etc etc. It's all a bit much. I tend to just stick to a single weapon at a time, expect when I'm trying to master a technique (some of which did fuck all damage and took some serious grinding), the armour with the most defense and a few shards, like Welcome Party, Flame Cannon (that I ranked up to 9) and maybe Heretical Grinder (rank 7 I think). 

 

Basically, there's too many things that I could be equipping and it causes option paralysis (I have the same problem with Dark Souls to be honest). I would be happier if the game pared things down to a sensible level in terms of items and was a little less sprawling. Call me a heretic if you will, but my favourite Metroidvania is still Shadow Complex.

 

I note that I still haven't finished SotN after getting stuck because I bought the wrong item from the merchant guy. Given that there's no way of knowing which item you're supposed to buy if you happen to stumble on the merchant before the obstacle blocking you for which he sells an ability (magic?) that gets you past it, this seemed like a fucking awful design decision and so I sacked off the game. Change my mind if you will.

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5 minutes ago, Uncle Mike said:

I did find the hundreds of shards etc a little overwhelming. Ended up selling most of them because why would I ever throw a frog? It tells you early on that having too many will be detrimental, but I don't know if this ever happens.

Spoiler

Killing the “final” boss after you’ve gathered a certain amount of shards gets you the worst ending.

 

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I'm annoyed with myself for having to ask, but I seem to be stuck. I've discovered 75.5% of the map and have recently done:

Spoiler

the Inferno Cave and received the Invert shard.

 

I've mopped up as many of the remaining areas as I can, minus what I believe are optional bosses that are locked away by keys I don't have (the Millionaire's Key and the Warhorse's Key specifically. That said, I've discovered the Carpenter's Key but have no idea where the Carpenter's Door is) so I'm a bit baffled as to where to go next. 

 

Could anyone give me a non-spoilery hint please?

 

My map looks like this

Spoiler

IMG_20200809_130920.thumb.jpg.0f92d87bc4a4f3ea3aa5cc4615c3c633.jpg

 

 

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