Bloodstained Cooking

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night has a cooking system. You can bring ingredients to the alchemist Johannes and he can make them into food. Eating food heals you, and if it’s the first time you’ve had that kind of food, you get a permanent stat boost. Cooking ingredients sometimes drop from enemies and also can be purchased from the store. This is a fun way to get some extra healing (you can also buy potions, but there’s a fairly low cap on how many of those you can have), but the execution is unfortunately pretty botched.

There are intermediate ingredients, so for example you combine milk and halite into butter, but butter can’t be consumed by itself, you have to bake it into other things. You can create just plain “cookies” and those are edible, but you can also use cookies as an intermediate step to specifically making chocolate cookies or cinnamon cookies. That gives the system a bit of depth and charm in a good way, but the UI only lists which ingredients you do or don’t have, without indicating which ingredients you’re missing but which can be made from ingredients you have, i.e. if you’re missing butter but you have the milk and halite needed to cook some butter, the game won’t tell you. You have to flip between the recipe cards to check for yourself.

Worse, the shop is down the hall from Johannes, which means if all you’re missing is a bunch of common ingredients like milk, eggs, and sugar that you can buy from the store, you can’t flip over to another tab and stock up immediately. You have to leave Johannes’ workshop, go to the store, buy those ingredients, and come back. That’s not so bad to do once, but if you’ve got a bunch of rare ingredients like beast milk and dragon eggs and you’re trying to cook a bunch of new recipes all at once, it’s easy to end up making a half-dozen trips back and forth between the workshop and the store as you work your way through all the recipes you can make with nothing but what you have and storebought ingredients, one at a time. Pretty quickly I realize that what I actually need is a list counting up how much I need of every single ingredient needed to bake all my rare ingredients into mid- or high-tier food, but if the store for the common ingredients was in a different tab of the cooking menu instead of down the hall, I wouldn’t need to make grocery lists to play a gothic action video game.

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