Review of Bloodborne (PS4)

bloodborne

May 2015 will go down in history as the date when I embraced the next gen of gaming. After much stalling I finally decided to purchase a PS4, which came bundled with Bloodborne – the spiritual successor to the infamously challenging Demons/Dark Souls games. Created by Hidetaka Miyazaki (a surname popular with talented directors) this latest RPG by From Software sees gamers journey away from the medieval/fantasy world of the Souls series to a creepy Victorian city named Yharnam. Players assume the role of a Van Hellsing like hunter who is tasked with ridding the settlement of the monsters roaming its streets.

OVERIVEW

If you are the type of gamer who gets easily frustrated by the words “Game Over” then Bloodborne may not be the game for you. Not only is it brutally punishing, but it also doesn’t have the decency to ease you into the action with a tutorial level. When the story begins you awaken in a clinic having just received a blood transfusion. Slowly you rise from the gurney you are lying on and head to the exit where you’ll encounter a werewolf chomping down on a rotting cadaver. If you are anything like me you’ll soon become the creature’s dessert… the first of many deaths I suffered over the course of my Lovecraftian adventure.

Veterans of the Souls series will be better placed to face Bloodborne’s challenges, as the game’s mechanics are pretty much identical to those of its predecessors. Like in previous From Software titles killing enemies rewards you with blood echoes, which can be spent on levelling up your character or purchasing equipment from the beasties that bathe in bird fountains situated in the Hunter’s Dream hub area. Exercising caution, whilst exploring Yharnam, is recommended because perishing will result in you dropping all of your hard earned souls… um echoes. The only way to retrieve the echoes you lost is to journey back to where you died, which is no easy task given that enemies re-spawn whenever you revisit a location.

Despite the similarities, there are some subtle differences that make Bloodborne a more action-focused experience than the Souls titles. The biggest change is that Bloodborne’s inventory of gear contains no worthwhile shields, so the days of cowering behind an impregnable defence are well and truly over. Replacing the shields are an assortment of firearms, which don’t deal too much damage, but can momentarily stun a target should you manage to blast them at the right time. To compensate for their lack of defence, hunters also get an ability that allows them to regain health by striking an opponent. It’s a useful skill, but nowhere as overpowered as you may think given that some enemies can kill you in a couple of blows.

VERDICT

Although the PlayStation 4 has been selling gangbusters, its competitors arguably have a better library of exclusives. Sony will therefore be pleased to have Bloodborne associated with their platform, as it is easily one of the better video games released in 2015. It’s a gorgeous looking title with expansive environments filled with secrets to discover. One complaint I have with the visuals is that the characters do not move their lips when speaking, which looks a little odd. Surely animating someone’s mouth wouldn’t be too tough for a talented team who lavished so much detail upon the clothing characters wear and the gruesome design of its monsters. Perhaps Yharnam is just populated with ventriloquists?

The only real gripe I have with Bloodborne is that its arsenal of gear and weapons is rather limited when compared to those of the Souls games. On the plus side however many of the weapons you procure can transform, which is rather cool. As an example, I started my quest against Yharnam’s lycanthropes brandishing a walking stick that can change into a whip. Later on in my adventures I switched over to a blade that can morph into a massive mallet. It’s good to see that (despite Michael Bay’s best efforts) things that transform can still be awesome.

My final rating for Bloodborne is five stars. It’s worth a punt even if you have previously not enjoyed From Software’s other games. I’m not sure if it’s the horror setting or the more generous amount of healing items you can carry, but I found this title to be more accessible than the Souls games. Yes the game can be tough, but it is fair. Once you memorize trap locations and enemy attack patterns you’ll find traversing levels to be much more manageable. If all else fails you can also purchase a snazzy bell that summons fellow players to aid you against the game’s tougher foes. Don’t let Bloodborne’s sadistic reputation put you off from trying this gem. Perseverance will win you the day. I struggle with Kirby games and still managed to complete Bloodborne so it can’t be THAT hard.

12 thoughts on “Review of Bloodborne (PS4)

  1. Nice review, I remember the final boss in Kirby’s Adventure being as least as hard as some of the Bloodborne bosses. Maybe not the Shadow of Yharnam though, that one was a pain.

  2. Re: “After much stalling I finally decided to purchase a PS4”
    Nothing against it but I plan on stalling a lot longer. The PS3 functionality is so good I do not yet have a reason to upgrade.

  3. Great review. I still have to finish the game but I’m enjoying every moment and loving level design. Just exploring and searching for shortcuts it’s incredibly satisfying. Hope I have the skill (and time) to finish the game properly.

  4. Technically haven’t moved on to next gen, despite having an Xbone. But yeah heard so much good thng about this game. Tried the souls series and whilst it is challenging, it’s more of a hit and miss with me. From Software are going strength to strength. I remember them bringing Otogi to the original xbox. To me it was the “DMC” for the xbox console.
    Even though the Order 1866 got a massive bashing for its length, it appealed to me more. Good review Judge!!.

  5. I played through the first Dark Souls last year and it quickly became one of my favorite games of all time. I think I’ll have to check this game out when I eventually get around to buying a PS4. As for now, the next-gen consoles aren’t providing me with much incentive to get them between the lack of good exclusives and backwards compatibility.

  6. I know that Bloodborne is an excellent game, but when you know that From Software actually created Metal Wolf Chaos, you can’t take them seriously.
    And I may need a PS4 for next year. Seems like there’s finally some games worth for the current-gen (Except the Wii U. Man, I need Splatoon as soon as it gets out).

  7. This is one of the next-/current- gen games I’m looking forward to most. Alas, I haven’t been able to get my hands on a PS4 yet, but this will be near the top of my list when I manage to.

  8. I’m waiting to get my flat before I buy my TV and the PS4. This will be the first game I get (if not the only one for now). I’m a massive Souls fan and this game drew me even despite the exclusivity, something I’m against if it’s not a first party game. Your review just upped the hype for it for me. Now I CAN’T wait to try it out and die and die and die and die again!

    Awesome review man, really enjoyed it! In your honour, I’ll model my first character after Cheffie, I know you liked her from Technobabylon 😛

  9. my cousin has this game, he says that it’s freaking difficult (it’s what to expect from a FROMSOFT game), I watched multiple videos of it and it’s littered with lores.

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