Review: Randomize your way through Bloodstained, if you will…

Nearly a year after its original release on PC, Bloodstained’s Kickstarter promised additional modes have finally been added, these being the ability to play the game as additional katana wielding swordsman Zangetsu, and the addition of a randomizer mode.

To access either of these new modes you need to finish the original game, (even if you have a clear save). Starting this mode will present you with a customizable options screen which will let you randomize the end goal, either defeating Gebel or finishing the entire game, shuffling the portal and save rooms, randomizing the enemy item drops, the drops you find in chests, the shards that enemies drop, or all of the above.

You can also randomize the items in the shop, the components needed for crafting and the items needed to complete the mini quests given throughout the game. Starting a game with everything randomized makes for an interesting experience.  Your first goal at the outset is to (hopefully) acquire a half decent weapon, piece of armor or offensive shard that will enable you to deal with the enemies that lie ahead.  This is not guaranteed, however, and we’ve gone through plenty of seeds that give you nothing of substance in the first level, only to open up later on, in terms of useable items and shards.

Taking a break from all the randomizing…

Progression in a game where everything is randomized is intriguing, at least conceptually.  In the vanilla game, the majority of the game’s bosses reward you with shards that grant you progression abilities, that is, abilities that allow you to progress in the game and access new areas, such as the invert ability, reflector ray, or underwater movement abilities such as aqua stream and deep sinker.  However, with everything randomized, bosses may grant you these, or they may simply give you regular shards, meaning you might have to hunt around a bit for a progression ability among the game’s normal enemies.

Chests too, can offer anything from simple crafting components to some of the game’s most powerful weapons, or anything in between.  This can also result in the game becoming unwinnable, wherein mythical sword Zangetsuto has the potential to spawn in a chest in one of the final two areas of the game, the Den of Behemoths or the Glacial Tomb, areas of the game that the sword itself is key to accessing.

A perpetually updated thread on these and other unwinnable seeds has been started by the developers in the hope that a fix will soon be developed that will remedy these issues.

Get these random people off of my randomizer!

In our experiences, we tended to find the Zangetsuto in very out of the way locations that may have been a pain to reach, yet were accessible, such as in a chest at the very top of the cathedral, or in a chest at the bottom of one of the underwater areas.

Randomizer, like Speedrun mode, puts a timer at the bottom corner of your screen which tracks your time through the current seed, as well as your best time to clear a seed.  This is on by default.

The randomizer is an interesting addition to an already enjoyable game, not only due to the fact that it’s an officially added mode, where comparatively, most randomizers have been developed for games by community members who have a passion for that game, but also for the fact that it brings an extra layer of challenge and unpredictability to an already playable adventure.


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