Monday, 30 November 2015


Gamespot Score: 9.0 (Editor's Choice)

My Score: 9.0

(+) Pros: - New setting is interesting and well executed, - New environment types are great to look at,- Reworked game play is superb, making the game faster and more aggressive is a great idea, - New weapons are unique and fun to play, - Plenty of build paths and high replay value, - Great enemy types and boss fights all around.

(-) Cons: - Long load times and crappy chalice dungeons.

Gameplay time: 100 hours +

"Bloodborne". Seriously, what is there to say about this game? I got a PS4 not too long ago and its mostly to play this game along with "MGSV". "Bloodborne" is just a godlike experience, that goes without saying. All of the games in the "Souls" series have been absolutely godlike in terms of gameplay and immersion, being the spiritual successor to those games, "Bloodborne" achieves those same heights of greatness with flying colors. In some aspects, "Bloodborne" even far exceeds those of the "Souls" game, especially in terms of immersion and the combat. Unfortunately, I'll have to say that compared to the other games in the franchise (I consider "Bloodborne" to be in the same franchise as "Souls", they are SO similar, after all), "Bloodborne" is easily the "shortest" and has the least amount of content. Otherwise, quality over quantity, "Bloodborne" has become one of my few guilty pleasures ever since I started playing, and I've finished the game 4 times since then. Its an amazing experience for fans of the franchise, and even if you're not, this has NOTHING to do with the previous games AND has new's a good place to start.

Yharnam is a city of death and bloodshed. Hunters are consumed by the scent of blood, and transform into blood hungry beasts that are void of any sense of morality. Beasts are then in turn, hunted by other hunters, this vicious cycle repeats itself in Yharnam. Your character, a foreign hunter, finds themselves in Yharnam for an unknown reason, and has the blood administration ritual performed on them. When all is said and done, they are blessed with the old blood, and with it, they are now as good as any other Yharnam citizen. However, since you arrive on the night of the hunt...everything has already gone to shit. Beasts roam the street, crazed villagers roam around trying to kill anything that isn't siding with them: which includes you.

The on.

First things first, as the "newest addition" to the franchise, "Bloodborne" takes a much darker tone and a more unique setting when in compared to previous games. Sure, its supposed to be a whole different thing on its own when compared to the "Souls" games, but damn, this is WAY too different, so much to the point of awesomeness. As much as I love the medieval setting of "Souls", "Bloodborne"'s gothic setting looks and FEELS amazing. Immersion is greater than its ever been, and I find myself pretty much ABSORBED into the game. The feel and thrill of the hunt just got to me, and at every turn of almost every area, monsters of various grotesque appearances wait to jump you. In a way, it feels a little bit more like an action/horror game this time around because of how horrifying the game feels.

Yharnam is a doomed nation, instead of knights in armor and spell casting mages we are treated to bloodthirsty hunters with their very own muskets and cleavers. The transition is quite magnificent, and you'll adapt to the game soon enough. And speaking of which, because "Bloodborne" took on a whole new setting, the environments are a lot more different than in previous games. Sure, there's the shitty forest and swamp level (even that was done well), but the city of Yharnam is home to a lot more varied looking places than Drangleic or Anor Londo. The world is a lot darker, streets are filled with lighted up dwellings of bystanders, and beasts roam the streets. There are a lot of urban areas in "Bloodborne", the architecture of the streets, churches and multiple districts make the for some interesting encounters in mostly congested areas. Then there are areas like the nightmare realm and woods that seem a lot more fantasy themed, but are also fun to play through.

Confused villagers love to stare at fire.

With a brand new theme and game comes a brand new reworked combat system. While most of the core controls and feel of the game are similar to that of the other "Souls" games, "Bloodborne" is a lot more aggressive compared to its predecessors. The shields of old have been mostly removed, and with a secondary weapon on your left hand instead of a shield, the game is instantly a lot more action based. Defensive play is actually punished in "Bloodborne", and because of this, highly aggressive play is rewarded. You can both kill your enemies faster and even regain lost health if you just go completely ham on your enemy. To compensate for the lack of any defensive play, "Bloodborne" gives you a health regeneration system in combat; whenever you're hit by enemies, you can quickly hit them back after taking damage to restore some, if not all of that lost health. This means that instead of sitting back to bait out enemy attacks or attempt to dodge them, you dodge TOWARDS them most of the time and keep hitting them.

The new "fast" combat is excellent. While I feel that the overly aggressive game play makes the game a little bit too easy at times, its a lot more fun, its a lot more interactive, and its a lot more engaging. More than ever, you'll need to pick your fights properly, with defensive options nerfed you're going to have to try your best NOT to get grouped up against, and when you do, you need to be able to burst them down quickly, or you'll suffer. And since you can pretty much heal off your attacks like lifesteal, they've limited your healing resources. In this game, blood vials, your new "Estus Flasks", are not replenished upon death, no, like the grass in "Demons' Souls", they must be looted and hunted from by enemies. While that means you'll have to grind for these things from time to time as you'll be using these things quite a lot, its the game's way of telling you to BE MORE AGGRESSIVE. When you get hit, don't back off to heal, CHARGE IN, hit the bugger who hit you, get your health back. This makes encounters more intense and exciting.

The hunter's dream is where you'll be adding stats and
smoking the blood echos of your fallen foes.

With the game actually encouraging you to go ham more than ever, they've got to give you the right tools for the job. Enter the world of "Bloodborne"'s arsenal...the trick weapons. These are EPIC instruments of death that far outshine almost every other weapon to be created in other "Souls" games. These weapons, while little (compared to other games in the franchise, this game's weapon count is far inferior), pack variety and uniqueness in their move list. Every trick weapon has an alternate stage or form that can be swapped on the fly during battle. Be it the Saw Cleaver unfolding its blade for longer reach, the Thread Cane unleashing it flay of blades, or using the sword in Kirk's Hammer as a handle for lifting the massive hammer behind your've now got 2 ways to fight for each weapon you have equipped. And since you can hold 2 of pretty much bring 4 ways to fight all the time.

It's take me hours to sing praises and write about all the interesting trick weapons in the game, so we'll move on to your secondary arsenal. Primarily, your guns. Since there aren't any shields left in the game anymore other than the crappy Plank Shield, your left hand's gotta be occupied, and that's were your firearms come in. While there is a stat completely dedicated to firearm damage, these bad boys usually aren't used as your main form of damage, that's for the trick weapons. Firearms are more of a means to parry and stun your opponents as you go in for the kill. Guns are limited by Quicksilver Bullets, and even though they run on bullets, their damage isn't on the high end most of the time. Guns are a way to open up opportunities for your character to either go in for the kill or regain their footing from a bad engagement. These are MEANT to be saved and not spammed, since they also, do not replenish upon death, like the blood vials. Of course, not ever gun has to be used to utility, there are firearms meant for damage. This only opens up for more build paths.

Paarl you motherf**ker, calm the f**k down with those
lightning bolts!

Speaking of build paths, as with all the previous games in the franchise, you have options here in "Bloodborne". I've played the game 4 times, with a total of 3 character builds. but there can easily be more. While they completely streamlined the game and took out the different kinds of addable stat types, there's still fun to be had experimenting with the various build options. Strength, Skill, Arcane and Bloodtinge are the 4 main offensive stats, but by no means does that mean that the game only has 4 ways to be played. There's a lot of fun to be had experimenting the various kinds of shenanigans and the different weapons combinations only serve for us to have more fun f**king around. While there aren't as many ways to play the game like in "Dark Souls" or "Dark Souls 2", the replay value here is still strong enough to warrant a compliment.

The game wouldn't be "Souls" if not for the enemies and bosses you face (technically, it isn't a "Souls" game, but still). I'd say that there are a lesser variety of enemies in "Bloodborne" than in the "Souls" games, but the game makes up for it with their strange behavior and algorithms. While most enemies before are straightforward, some enemies in this game are tough to take down and behave in strange ways. Crawling corpse enemies lay in wait for you to pass before striking, the masked cleric enemies bombard you with a variety of attacks, the brain suckers tend to run from you, then binding you with magic before they close in for the kill. Mosquito men assault you to build up your frenzy meter, nasty bell ringing ladies make her allies respawn over and over. There are some TRULY BIZARRE enemies in this game, and its because of its setting. I love it though, while the game doesn't let up in terms of difficulty in its monsters and levels, its still a great experience.

Watch out for the 3 fat naked men that attack you without mercy.

Boss design in "Bloodborne" is severely improved and are a massive jump in quality compared to some of the bosses in "Dark Souls 2". You face beasts and foes that come in a variety of shape and size. As usual, they are hard, but admittedly, there aren't any EXTREMELY difficult bosses in "Bloodborne". Before, every "Souls" game had a boss that's the very definition of soul crushing regret and never ending sorrow...I find that "Bloodborne" lacks such a boss. While there are some great fights, none of them had me die like more than 10 times a row to win, where as in previous games, there are bosses where I died upwards of 20-30 times or more just to even come close to winning. That's cool though, I'd rather they focus on the quality of the boss rather than just making it cheap, the bosses in this game, other than 1 battle, are mostly fair and fun to play against, especially the final battle. Its a DAMNED good battle, probably the best final battle in the franchise thus far, NOT counting the follow-up boss battle if you intend to go for the true ending...that one wasn't as epic.

Eileen is badass indeed.

The game does suffer from exceedingly long and frequent load times, I won't defend the game for that. I mean, holy shit, every time you go to the Hunter's Dream or enter a whole new area, loading screen. You get one when you die too. I used to be fine with this, but load times in "Bloodborne" are pretty long, so you'll be stuck reading item descriptions, I hope you have fun with that! Chalice dungeons are also an awkward new addition. Sure, they add to your play time with the randomly generated dungeons and almost rogue-like play style. But these chalice dungeons, no matter how many times they are randomly generated, while they have different layouts, they look devastatingly bland, and have plenty of glitches. These don't hold a candle to the main game, and are pretty boring. The boss battles in the chalice dungeons are even just supersized versions of normal enemies with health bars. Yeah, that's not impressive.

I can take about this game for hours but let's just end it here. "Bloodborne" is a fantastic addition to the franchise, not counting the DLC that just released recently. Even as somewhat of a side project, I think Miyazaki definitely went for broke here. This is another amazing game in the franchise that stands equally to the other games alongside it. Fans of the franchise will definitely not be disappointed, and trust me, when you get a taste of this new aggressive playstyle, you can't ever go back again.

Happy Gaming!