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Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night – First impressions

From the moment you start up the game, you’re treated to a veritable feast for the senses. Your meal begins in earnest with a moonlight drenched ominous castle looming in the background of the title screen.

Your journey begins on a galleon bound for said castle, where we learn our young and rather well-endowed protagonist, Miriam, recently awakened after a mysterious slumber, and promptly set out to find Geberl, her childhood friend who has unleashed a horde of demons upon the world, along with said aforementioned castle.

Your seafaring voyage won’t be uneventful, however, and as the first area of the4 game, you’re tasked with exploring much of it, all the while searching for out of the way treasures while also learning the ins and outs of the game’s numerous systems. It’s all pretty streamlined, however, and there are some very nice visual effects on display as well, such as pouring rain on the deck of the ship running down walls and stacks of boxes, or water seeping into some of the ship cargo holds below.

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Miriam isn’t just another pretty face; however, she’s also been cursed with an interesting affliction that slowly crystalizes her body. This also makes it possible for her to absorb souls (referred to as “shards” in this game) allowing her to sample those creatures’ abilities. Sound familiar?

According to the menu, these shards fit in one of several different slots for easy access, via hotkey. There’s conjure, manipulative, directional, passive and familiar. Your scouting of the ship should earn you a couple conjure flavored shards at least and a directional slot one as well. These abilities naturally drain your mana, but thankfully, glowing blue mana roses, which are quite plentiful, refill your meter when you collect them.

There’s also a variety of weapons available to collect here on the ship, as well. You start out next to a chest with a knife and a pair of kung fu shoes, each of which can be equipped in your weapon slot. They have the same attack power, but while the knife is a short-range weapon, the shoes allow you to kick enemies in the face and perform jump kicks. You’ll soon expand your arsenal to short swords, claymores, whips, and you’ll even find a firearm, with a unique type of ammo to use. Presumably, once this ammo is depleted, you’ll switch to using a weaker but infinite supply of standard ammo.

The earliest part of your travels will see Miriam exploring the ship for a bit before meeting our antagonist for a brief chat, and finally landing at a burned-out village that has been recently overrun with demons, lying in the shadow of this mysterious castle. While her allies set up a base of sorts from which to offer aid, Miriam sets out to uncover the secrets of this foreboding fortress and ultimately unravel her own fractured past.

Stay tuned for more on the game, including our full review, coming soon.

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