Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is the sort of game that makes you work for your good ending. Like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, there is a twist to it. Just going through the game as normal isn’t going to get you the best possible ending. Rather, it will give you an ending that, well, feels unfulfilling. But, the thing about it is, the endings available can all feel fitting and in line with what past Koji Igarashi games have had to offer.
Editor’s Note: There will be Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night spoilers below.
The both of the “bad” endings for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night leave quite a bit out. They teases you with hints that something more is lurking below the surface. There is a promise with it that there could be something more. Miriam goes to do what she promised Gebel. She arrives to defeat him in each one, but doesn’t have or know everything necessary to see the truth. Each one touches on the idea past Castlevania games have promised.
For example, heading to the Hall of Termination as soon as you can and fighting Gebel in his throme room can feel like an ordinary sort of ending. Miriam kept her promise. She saved the day. But, she doesn’t know about Gremory. She has no idea about what is going on behind the scenes, what Alfred is planning, and everything is taken at surface value. But, it does what many Castlevania games have done before it. It shows that even though it seems like Miriam did everything right, evil still hasn’t been vanquished from the world. It will remain and come back, just as Dracula keeps coming back and the Belmonts must return again and again to save humanity.
The other bad ending helps play up the similarities between Miriam and Soma Cruz. Both have the potential to become evil because of their nature and capabilities. While Soma is the reincarnation of Dracula, Miriam’s nature as a Shardbinder means she is subject to a curse that will overtake her body with crystals. She’s the pinnacle of the alchemists’ work and strongest Shardbinder. As such, Gremory wants her. She wants to inhabit her body. But, she needs Miriam at her strongest, after absorbing as many shards as possible, and worn out, after a boss fight against Gebel, so she could take over. The ending where you do manage to get Zangetsu’s Zangetsuto, but don’t use it to attack her during the fight against Gebel, shows that Gremory has won. Miriam did exactly what she wanted. It offers an ending where the hero could become the villain, something we have seen in Igarashi games before.
But, the best ending is the most faithful of all. In Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, people could go into the fight against Richter without realizing that there was another ending. Richter is being controlled, and it is only after getting the Holy Glasses from Maria that Alucard can see Shaft is controlling him. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night offers a similar situation. Gebel is being controlled by Gremory, who is brainwashing him and holding his curse at bay for her own ends. Only the Zangetsuto can defeat her. If you use the sword during the fight against Gebel to strike at her in the blood red moon, then attack her red moon in the Garden of Silence to enter the Den of Behemoths to fight her, discover what is going on, and put an end to the current threat. It shows how much more there is to the game and gives us this quest that explains everything and offers a satisfying resolution that still promises a hint of more to perhaps one day come.
Each of these Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night endings call back to things past Igarashi games have done. We have one ending where the present threat is at an end, but the situation is still dangerous and Miriam will need to keep fighting. There is one that acknowledges the fact that Miriam’s power makes her a desirable host, one that could lead to her becoming corrupted and evil just as Gebel did. Finally, we have one that acknowledges that we sometimes have to earn our good endings and discover the truth. But, even then, there could still be more to come.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is available for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.