From Hidetaka Miyazaki and FromSoftware—creators of the legendary action roleplaying games Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls, and Dark Souls 2—comes Bloodborne, an all-new Action RPG brimming with unforgiving, unrelenting terror, developed exclusively for PlayStation 4.
Face your fears as you search for answers in the ancient city of Yharnam, now cursed with a strange endemic illness spreading through the streets like wildfire. Danger, death and madness lurk around every corner of this dark and horrific world, and you must discover its darkest secrets in order to survive.
If you have played any of the installations in the Souls series you’ll have an idea of what you’re in for when you pick up Bloodborne. Bloodborne, after a brief and very cryptic opening throws you into the gothic, Victorian era looking streets of Yharnam where you,a hunter who’s job is to slay beasts infected with a blood related plague and figure out the secrets behind it.
The first thing you will realise about Bloodborne when you start playing it is that it isn’t your traditional RPG. Your goal isn’t given to you until later in the game and even then you will find yourself wondering if there was any real purpose or need to do what you do throughout the game. That’s the great thing about the game though, the purpose of what you are doing is meant to be questioned and the game doesn’t spoon feed you information. You want to know about the world and what’s going on? Explore and find things! Your only guides and friends through the game are Gehrman, an old hunter sat in a wheelchair providing you with an idea of where to go and small amounts of backstory, the strange doll which levels up your stats with Blood Echoes you collect and the Messengers; strange creatures that assist the hunters.
Unlike its predecessors in the Souls series, Bloodborne has decided to go a lot more fast paced. Players will find themselves in intense close-quarters battles with beasts of all sizes, speeds and looks. From typical civilians infected with the ‘illness’ to huge alien-like creatures from ‘The Cosmos.’ Combat is heavily reliant on the player’s ability to understand their enemies and the equipment that they are using to defeat them. Looting still is important for new items and such but any items in the game can be used effectively with the right character build. A downside to the game from the Souls games before it is that the items have been extremely watered-down. There is only around 35 right hand weapons and 15 left hand weapons in total (including DLC items) and only a handful of outfits to equip on characters compared to the hundreds of items that were found in its predecessor, Dark Souls II.
The game still features a hub area in which all of the characters you meet throughout the game gather, each with their own unique stories for you to complete, or ruin. That’s not the only side content though. Players will be able to enter Chalice Dungeons, separate challenge areas of the game which are full of new, different bosses and loot for you to find and use to tear apart your enemies. The game also has 3 endings giving you plenty of re-playability combined with the covenants and PvP elements of the game. An average 1st play-through will take you anywhere from 30 – 60 hours depending on how much you do and know about Souls games. Every area of the game is challenging and provides new enemies with each area, a great thing which the Souls series became known for. It rewards skill and punishes mistakes, something not a lot of games these days do so it’s another breath of fresh air from the more laid back games that have been coming out.
The game also has a great soundtrack that really captures the mood of each area and boss. Even just the background noises are great and of high quality. The visuals are really something to behold as well, plenty of particle effects and blood that slowly builds up on your character look great along with the lighting and environment in general. While it disappointingly runs at 30fps it maintains it and doesn’t let the visuals slow it down.
The DLC included with the Game of The Year Edition; The Old Hunters, when triggered drops players into the Hunters Nightmare, a twisted and alternate world to the normal game’s world full of the beasts and hunters of old which partook in the original hunts. The Old Hunters challenges even the most experienced players with even the most simple enemies in this DLC being able to kill you near instantly. The new world you are dropped into gives you insight to some of the previously mentioned characters in the story and providing clues as to the backstory in the game. There is also plenty of new gear for players to find and secrets to uncover which give you new ways to slay your foes. Sadly, there aren’t any new Chalice Dungeons in the DLC but there is new items to be found in them related to the DLC.