Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is an homage to classic games like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. But the existence of a pervasive bug makes the experience a little more frustrating, even without experiencing the bug firsthand.
As discovered by several players, the latest patch appears to have introduced a nasty bug. If a player began the game before the 1.02 patch was issued, installing the patch may have impacted the save file by having some treasure chests with progression-necessary items appear already opened, without their included items. The developer recommends that players impacted by the bug should start a new save file entirely.
“We have been investigating a PS4/Xbox One issue that is blocking player progress in the game,” read a statement from 505 Games. “We apologize for this bug and thank you for your patience while we investigate. The issue occurs when a new game is started before downloading the 1.02 update. After the update, treasure chests will appear in the incorrect open/closed state.
“Without the items from these chests, progress is blocked. Players affected by this bug will be required to restart the game with a new save in order to properly progress. We investigated a number of options to address this issue and each fix requires a new game to be started. Despite our efforts to provide a fix that preserves pre-1.02 progress, this is the best solution to avoid future issues.
“Xbox One players will also be affected by this when the 1.02 patch is delivered next week. Switch players who have a physical copy should download the 1.02 patch before playing.”
The situation is less than ideal, especially for the most passionate players and backers who jumped in and played a significant amount of the game as soon as they could. And unfortunately, the combination of the uncertain nature of the bug with the hallmarks of this genre make it especially problematic.
The bug could appear at any point in gameplay, and halts progression entirely. But the Metroidvania genre is built around non-linear progression. The entire point is finding new tools and backtracking repeatedly over the same areas, finding new pathways and entrances that then lead to more new tools and making other areas even more accessible.
As I’ve played Bloodstained for review since hearing of the bug, I’ve already had moments of second-guessing myself. The tell would appear to be already-opened chests in previously unexplored areas of the map, but backtracking means unexplored areas can appear very familiar. Have I been here before and opened that chest, or is this the bug? It’s often difficult to tell. The genre is built around feeling stuck and then finding another way forward, but this is an entirely different experience when there may not be a way forward. Under the constraints of a review, restarting from scratch is a huge loss of time, but one that might ultimately become necessary.
GameSpot is currently seeking clarification on whether there is a foolproof method to tell if you have the bug. And if you haven’t started the game yet or haven’t put too much time into it, restarting may not be an issue. But for early adopters, the bug undermines what makes the genre great.