Bloodborne – Review

Developer: From Software
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Japan
Platform: PS4
Reviewed on PS4…duh

PLAYING Bloodborne is to run on a knife edge, progression requires skill and precision but one misstep can cost everything.
The game extracts pleasure from dragging the player’s face along the concrete, drop kicking them into a pit of razor-blade-spiders, waiting for them to arduously climb out and then nutting them before running off giggling; it is brutal.
It is also possibly the most engaging game on the market.
The steep difficulty curve (wall) is an enticing challenge that grips the audience into continuously testing their skills against the terrifying enemies that Bloodborne coughs out from its depths.
The dark setting of Yarnham has a thick 1700s London atmosphere spliced with the extreme Gothic, both beautiful and horrendous to look at; it is an engrossing locale.
Equally as awe inspiring are the enemies, from the grotesque lycanthropes to immense behemoths, bosses frequently killed me when I had stopped to admire their intricacy.
After forty something hours of gameplay I began to understand what Stockholm syndrome feels like, Bloodborne had grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and dragged me through its back alleys, strewn with tortured monstrosities.
It was terrifying, stressful, totally nerve-destroying and I loved every second of it.

After forty something hours of gameplay I began to understand what Stockholm syndrome feels like, Bloodborne had grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and dragged me through its back alleys, strewn with tortured monstrosities

In Bloodborne, you take on the role of a Hunter that you design from the start.
Hunters are cursed to forever collect Blood Echoes (currency given by defeating enemies), yet you drop all echoes when you die; this happens a lot.
The checkpoints (lamp posts) are also very far apart and all enemies respawn when you rest to spend echoes, so when death does inevitably catch up there will always be something to lose.
Veterans will juxtapose Bloodborne to From Software’s previous titles such as Dark Souls.
This is an apt juxtaposition as the base mechanics are the same and those skilled at the previous games will acclimatise quickly to the difficulty level.
Though, do not be mistaken, Bloodborne is not Dark Souls 3.
The map design is more intricate, the story is less ethereal and there is a bold focus on movement.
Where as Dark Souls offered shields to block attacks that is no longer an option, you must stay on the offensive by dodging and counter attacking.
Bloodborne also rewards brave manoeuvres as for a couple of seconds after taking damage, health can be regained by dealing it.
Weapons have been changed into two major forms: guns that are carried in the left hand and melee weapons, that deal the majority of the damage.
Guns do minimal damage and so are used to stall enemy attack patterns, opening opportunities to use the heavy hitting melee weapons.
Swings must be timed perfectly as Bloodborne will capitalise on any slip up the player makes.
One poorly timed axe lunge can result in even the weakest of enemies replacing your lungs with a cleaver.
Bloodborne does adopt Dark Souls’ multiplayer functions but few wanted them changed, having your game invaded or aiding another player’s game were always rewarding actions in their own way.

One poorly timed axe lunge can result in even the weakest of enemies replacing your lungs with a cleaver.

The whole experience is so refined and achieves its mission statement so well that it is difficult to find flaws.
What faults that can be found are purely mechanical: there are rare frame-rate drops, loading times can run from 15 seconds to 30 seconds and the randomly generated challenge maps have environment bugs.
Some players may also find the difficulty uninviting and take the punishment as a frustration instead of a challenge, this is understandable but will result in missing out on a campaign that offers hundreds of hours of absorbing gameplay.
Bloodborne is a relentless battle through a mystifying city that constantly has something new to discover.

+ Grim gothic atmosphere.
+ Skill based, risk reward combat.
+ Enemy and map design.
+ Massive boss fights.
– Loading…

9.5/10

Try this if you like:
Dark Souls – Demon’s Souls – Castlevania (Original series)

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