Bloodstained: Symph-I mean-Ritual of the Night

It’s been 4 years since Bloostained met its goal on Kickstarter and now it’s finally out.
Thought I’d make a discussion thread for it.

I backed the game back then and have been following it casually in my e-mails since; along the way they’ve been sharing early development footage, character and creature art, small snippets of features they’ve been excited about and at least one re-haul of its controversial art style.
For a while I thought it looked shaky, I remember being in the camp who found the art style and environments underwhelming, and when Might No.9 was critically maligned I had little faith in the developer to make good on it. Honestly I thought the 2d game they released last year looked kind of eh as well, a bit bland I suppose.

Now that the real thing’s out I’m pleased to say I’m enjoying it quite a bit.
If it wasn’t obvious enough, it’s incredibly Symphony of the Night era Vania, in some very detailed ways too; to take some examples, it lets you do the quick-hit if you attack just before you hit the ground, diagonal strikes are totally there, motions for secret special moves, secret walls, warp mirrors, you can sit on various chairs just for the hell of it, there’s a librarian poop-chute.
The pointed Castlevania tropes don’t feel like they’re cheapening the experience as much as they feel like an Igarashi trademark, a best-of of the series with a fresh set of characters in a new universe.

If you picked it up or got a copy from backing it, what do you think so far?


I’m having a little difficulty adjusting to the combat (read: I’m terrible at it - stuck on the first boss) and I wish the main character would put some clothes on, but I can see how that style of game is really captivating to people. It feels like there’s a secret around every other corner.

Yeah honestly the normal combat feels fine but I’ve been finding the bosses REALLY tough myself. Maybe I just need to get back into the swing of Vania games?

I got a copy from backing it. Before I say any more, I’m in a multiply-odd position to judge Bloodstained - firstly, I backed it despite generally not getting on with Metroidvania games (see DarthTythus’ position here, I just can’t get the combat, and basically never use specials because I always forget which button they are when I actually need to use them) because I wanted to support Iga making another game, as I like watching people better than me play them. They’re a genre I appreciate much more watching than doing. Secondly, I have absolutely no Microsoft Windows based systems, and no modern consoles - so I was hit by the cancellation of MacOS and Linux support [both of which systems I have] at the end of last year. I’m playing Bloodstained in Wine, which is “fine” except for a weird rendering layer bug where the 3d rendered layer is very pixellated (looks like it’s upscaled by about 2) and the sprite overlay is perfectly sharp, which I suspect it due to some part of the UE resolution detection just outright lying to the renderer about what size viewport to use. [Edited to add: after much debugging, if you have this problem and want to fix it, open ~/.wine/drive_c/users//Local Settings/Application Data/BloodstainedRotN/Saved/Config/WindowsNoEditor/GameUserSettings.ini in the editor of your choice, and set sg.ResolutionQuality to 100 . You will probably also need to use Virtual Desktop emulation in winecfg, as the underlying problem is that Bloodstained has very poor support for resolutions not on a very short internal list - this problem has also affected Windows users with odd desktop settings - and panics by turning lots of features down to the minimum compatibility setting when it encounters one it doesn’t understand.]

That said: Bloodstained seems fine. I’m as bad at the combat as I thought I would be - I’ve died twice on the ship without getting to the boss, and I’m probably only doing a little better now because I found the gun (so I don’t have to get near enemies to actually hurt them), and am mostly just trying to explore the rest of the ship whilst avoiding engaging where possible. I am not expecting to get past the first boss. From what I can see of the visuals (mostly from other people’s streams - see pixels here), the style is what I’d expected. The voice acting is surprisingly good, too.
I’m probably going to let most of my engagement with the game be via watching other people play it, though (which is a pity, as some of the other “ancillary” systems - like the crafting and fashion stuff - which gets unlocked a little later, look like things I might want to play with a little).

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Any tips on reliably being able to do “Techniques”? I found the first one (the spinning-kick for the Kung Fu Shoes), which is pretty obviously supposed to be chained to get to some secrets using the air-travel it gives… but I can’t get it to work reliably at all.

I’ve spent probably 20 minutes just practicing it since getting it (in the safe area near the bookcase), and I am completely inconsistent at it - I can get it to work about 1 time in 3 or 4 facing left, and about 1 time in 15 facing right - I’ve never managed to get a “chain” of even 2 spinning-kicks, which I think is supposed to be possible. I also have no real idea why it works when I do it “right” and when I do it “wrong”, especially facing right. (I do definitely have enough mana.)

What am I doing wrong?

I’ll probably get this eventually but $40 is crazy steep for a Metroidvania, even a high-quality one these days. Considering you could get Hollow Knight, Dandara, Axiom Verge, Ori, and Iconoclasts for less than half of that, I can’t really justify it to myself…

You can get it for just over $30 from Fanatical this weekend (might still be too much for you, but just wanted to point this out in case anyone’s interested).

As far as I’m aware, there isn’t a trick to performing that particular Technique. The input window for chaining them together is very generous (you can finish the animation for one of the kicks and still input the next one and chain them together) despite it being a rekka move and the motion is a very standard fireball motion in fighting games so if you’re capable of doing those you should be able to pull it off.

There’s an option on PC that allows you to reduce the input latency at the potential cost of performance, give that a try and see if it helps!

There’s a whole assumption here that I’ve played any fighting games in the last decade here that’s amusing to me :slight_smile: (And, even when I have played fighting games, I was never any good at rekka - I could never reliably do a fireball in the original Street Fighter 2.)

Looking on the Steam forums for Bloodstained, I see multiple threads with people noting how hard it is to reliably pull off techniques, and with relatively little of the aggressive ‘git gud’ ing that Steam community is full of, so I don’t think it’s true that it’s uniformly easy, as you imply.

I’ll see if I can find the input lag controls, though.

Never played any motion based fighting game until DBFZ last year, and SotN later so I feel you there; they can be really hard to pull off especially in a pinch.
If I recall correctly there’s a trick to hold the last direction in the motion when you press the attack button, or use the analogue stick to perform it. Someone with more experience could weigh in with better tips I’m sure.

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This game is successfully hooking me, even when I have no clue where to go, there’s a satisfying power crawl and tons of memorable areas, including a few that are literally from Dracula’s castle (like the underground waterfall area). I also accidentally got the bad ending?

Due to the effectiveness of certain abilities like Heretical Grinder which does like two hits per second in any direction it can honestly feel a bit cheesy with certain bosses and tougher enemies (the more stationary the easier), and I feel a bit discouraged to experiment, but it’s still a challenge; not like when you get Alucard’s shield or the Crissaergrim in SotN and the whole game buckles.

Can anyone shed some light on whether the Lily form will get you further into the castle or if it’s just a little novel chun-li form?

I haven’t played Bloodstained itself yet, but something else that can help with these is that depending on the move you don’t necessarily have to use one smooth, continuous motion like the instructions always said back in the day, or you can when that’s easier for you for that move.

So like in several Street Fighter games as an example, instead of inputting :arrow_right::arrow_down::arrow_lower_right: to do a dragon punch you can input :arrow_lower_right::arrow_lower_right: and the game will understand it. Or how like in the Mortal Kombat series,:arrow_down::arrow_lower_right::arrow_right: and :arrow_down::arrow_right: will have the same result. SotN and the later Castlevanias Iagarashi was in charge of are pretty loose with these so it might be worth playing around a bit instead of trying to exactly follow the “official” motion 1:1 since moves like this are down to just a few frames of animation and everyone’s hands are slightly different.

That said, while SotN is relatively forgiving, it’s not CONSISTENTLY forgiving, which is something that is in the other Iga games and surely this one too. So like in SotN you can play really loose with how you cast the Soul Steal spell and still have it work, but Summon Spirit has to be input very specifically to work. It might be more effective to treat each of these movies in Bloodstained as its own unique thing with a unique feel and timing instead of just looking for a single “this is the timing for doing special moves for this game” moment like you’d have in a one on one fighting game.

Personally I’m way better at pulling off moves on a directional pad than with a controller’s analog stick but even that’s going to be different for some folks.


See, this is all useful background which I think Bloodstained’s devs just assume people know [but which you wouldn’t if you’d never really been into fighting games, which is surely not that unusual…].

At the moment, though, I really can’t distinguish between “what I’m doing when it doesn’t work” and “what I’m doing when it does work” with the one Technique I have at the moment, though, so I think part of the problem is that I don’t have enough “skill” to actually tell what I’m doing differently each time… (And, for me, at least, I’m finding the analog stick slightly more consistent for some reason - but it’s also less good for me doing general “space navigation” stuff, and I can’t really be switching between them constantly…)


I went with the assumption that you knew how to perform the motion and that there might be an issue with the game itself not recognizing your inputs because otherwise the only advice I could think of is “Practice the motion and timing your inputs closer to the final input of the motion.” but that doesn’t seem like especially useful or helpful advice.

I also didn’t mean to imply that the Technique was easy only that it emulates a very common input as seen in fighting games (which are deliberately esoteric in a way that excludes and discourages a lot of people from playing them) but since that didn’t come across well in my post I will apologize for that.

I’ve been messing around with it for a bit and I’ve found that since you aren’t locked to a singe direction in Bloodstained you can also input a half-circle motion in the direction you wish to attack and the move will come out.

This seems to be true of some of the other Techniques I’ve seen too. There’s a mace Technique that lists an input of quarter circle back (down, down-back, left), right + attack and a lance Technique listed as down, left, up, right + attack but both of them can be performed by quickly drawing a 3/4 clockwise circle starting from down and stopping on right and then hitting attack.

But, all of the Techniques I’ve seen so far seem highly superfluous and, with few exceptions, don’t seem all that useful or necessary for combat or traversal. That said, I wouldn’t be all to surprised if among the “13 DLCs” they’re adding to the game that they decided to emulate fighting games further and add a mode or option that allows you to use them with a single button press. If you can use powerful magic at the press of a button why can’t it be the same for a weapon ability?

Hey would you mind putting spoiler tags around some of the later game stuff? I’m not very far and there’s some stuff I’d like to discover on my own. Thanks!

Very sorry, I’ve blurred out specifics and I’ll be more careful talking about the game; lmk if there’s anything else.

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So, is there something I’m missing with the first boss, or is she just really hard? I’m up to 3 hrs on Steam, after at least 40 minutes just failing at her (the water jet phases aren’t a problem, but I don’t understand the hitboxes on the other phase, and keep taking contact damage when I don’t expect to - plus I inevitably mess up when there’s the secondary spawns on screen because there’s too much to track at once). I’m at the “this game is obviously not intended for me” stage, tbh (as always, Twitch, and the various internet forums, continue to be demoralising, with most people complaining about everything being too easy.)

I found it best to stay by the tip of the ship and keep hitting her as much as possible, occasionally breaking off to dodge the water beam and take out the squids she spawns.

Early bosses in these games tend to be fairly tough before you have more flexibility to work out a build, and to that end find good equipment (I don’t think I ever beat the big skeleton at the start of Order of Ecclesia). When you’re exploring and slowly acquiring xp and finding harder hitting weapons it becomes easier and easier, until it slaps you back down and asks you to pay attention.

I’m running into roadblocks now where I can’t outlast bosses and have to try to learn patterns again, I was never very good at positioning in these games when it came down to it…

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Hm, I’m basically doing this, but I just don’t last long enough (obviously) before dying.

I would really appreciate an easy mode for this game, tbh - the actual bosses are the least important part of it to me, yet they block actual progress.

Edit: no, another couple of attempts later, it’s really not worth my mental health to keep bouncing off the first boss in the game, on the easiest setting.
Have fun, everyone, but this is not for me.

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In the event you want to try again, my tip would be to use the claymore because it does a lot of damage and is easy to get overhead hits in on her when she goes into the background. But yeah it’s a weirdly tough first boss.

I saw some people on here were having trouble so I’m gonna leave my one cheap trick to that has trivialized a lot of bosses for me (8 hours in): use the fireball spell you get in the first area for everything (flame cannon I think?) It’s extremely cheap Mana wise. Then you can have Johannes upgrade it for you using gunpowder you just buy from the shop super cheap up to lv 6-8 where it shoots 4 full damage fireballs at once. You can do this pretty much right when you unlock crafting and it one shots pretty much everything and melts bosses.

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