It’s the PS4 Exclusive that has been on everybody’s lips. Bloodborne, the epic Action/Adventure RPG from the ever reliable developers at From Software. It’s the game that PS4 owners want to be amazing and that Xbox owners want to be a dud. Now that it’s here there is one word that sums up Bloodborne….BRILLIANT!
When you’ve created games like Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls there is an expectation that you will create a certain type of game. Bloodborne is definitely a game that has the same blood as its predecessors but it does more than enough to forge its own identity.
As soon as you start the game you will see the deep RPG elements appearing when you are given a range of character types to choose from. Each character class features its own set of pre-defined strengths and weaknesses. There is a class for everyone, catering for a wide variety of playing styles. Once you move beyond choosing your character you will be able to customise them with name, gender and then appearance. The customisation on offer is nothing short of brilliant, it is laid out with utter simplicity at the forefront but there is an infinite amount of depth lying beneath the surface. Think of one of the most outrageous faces and body types you can think of, OK maybe not THAT outrageous, but you will be able to create a character that is uniquely you.
When you enter the story you’ll find yourself agreeing to a blood transfusion. When you wake you’ll be strapped to an operating table and quickly confronted by a werewolf. That’s right a werewolf! You’ve got no weapons and at this point in time the biceps you call “guns” just won’t cut it, before you know it you are dead. No you didn’t do anything wrong, you were killed on purpose so that you could be transported to The Hunter’s Dream. This is your place of relative safety, the place where you can breathe a sigh of relief and replenish your inventory ready to get back into Yharnam and kick some beastly arse.
When you do reach Yharnam you’ll discover a world of gothic beauty. Dark and rich with atmosphere. There is a real soul to this world, it really feels like a terrifying living breathing world. Massive cathedrals adorn the city, cobbled pavements lead to dark alleys where danger is lurking. The energy borders on palpable, something is amiss here, something not quite right but you must work your way through it to discover what mystery is at work here.
Blood of course, is at the very centre of Bloodborne. There are two basic types of blood, Blood Vials and Blood Echoes. Blood Vials are used to restore your health and tie in with the unique regain system. In any battle you are going to take damage, the regain system rewards you for defeating an enemy by giving you back some of the health that you lost. Blood Echoes are your currency in game and are acquired every time you defeat an enemy. Be warned though, if you die before getting to the Hunter’s Dream you will lose those Blood Echoes. You do get one chance to earn them back but die before then and all your hard work is lost forever. Throughout your time in Yharnam you’ll find little skeletal messengers scattered all over the place. If you want to limit the amount of times you die then make you sure go up and see what message they have for you because they provide lots of useful tips on how to survive.
When heading into combat you’ll find an incredibly easy to use combat system. In the left hand you’ll have a gun, in the right you’ll have a cleaver of some description. You have no ability to block but that is countered by your character have sharp reflexes and incredible agility. You’ll want to step, roll and run out of harms way and then counter as quickly as possible. Believe it or not your gun will serve only to stun your enemy not kill them. If you want to kill them you need to literally get your hands (and clothes) dirty by hacking them up with your cleaver.
Bloodborne is at times terrifying but at all times remains unapologetically unforgiving. Death is like a rite of passage in Bloodborne. You don’t die just for the sake of dying, you die to be taught a valuable lesson or at times you die because it is necessary to drive the story forward. I can honestly say I have never died as much as I have in Bloodborne. If you aren’t used to dying then prepare to be frustrated, luckily dying is pretty much my middle name so I was right at home here anyway.
There is one downside that does become glaringly obvious upon death and that is the load times. In an age where load times have been reduced to an absolute minimal or have been eradicated altogether, Bloodborne seems to take an age to load. Since death is a constant foregone conclusion it is a real shame that the load times are some of the longest I have seen in quite some time, it really takes you out of the moment. To be fair to From Software every other aspect of the game is near flawless and I have been informed that they are working on a patch to fix the load times so let’s hope it soon arrives.
The visuals are breathtakingly beautiful. That mysterious energetic atmosphere I mentioned earlier has been complimented perfectly by the visual spectacle that From Software have created. Anyone who loves gothic architecture will be utterly salivating when they step into Yharnam. At times even when I was hard at work trying to repel an enemy I found myself dying because I got caught up in the beauty of this dark gothic world and took a moment to drink it all in. Bloodborne shows that there is immense processing power inside that sleek PS4 body.
Souls games have always featured a level of multiplayer and that has again been included here. Players are able to use their notebooks in Yharnam to leave messages behind for other players to read. The idea is that you leave behind useful tips for other players or tell them of how you managed to be killed this time around. The messages from other players can be very hit and miss, some are incredibly insightful, others were not worth the pixels they were written on.
On offer is both co-op and competitive PvP multiplayer. Both work really well from what I have played. Were things really ramp up is in the inspired creation called Chalice Dungeons. Once you find the right goodies along your travels you’ll be able to perform the mystical chalice ritual. Doing so will transport you to procedurally generated dungeons that can be changed by the player to create your own unique dungeon. You’ll then be able to share it online and tackle it during multiplayer. It adds a unique experience to Bloodborne and offers a near endless amount of additional gameplay.
There are some classic RPG elements things like magic powers, etc that are missing but when all is said and done that is a small price to pay for such a grand vision. You’ll easily get 40 odd hours of gameplay here and that’s not counting the gameplay on offer through the Chalise Dungeons. Bloodborne is a PS4 exclusive that had a HUGE amount of hype behind it. Games with this much hype so often fall flat on their face. Bloodborne is not that game though. Its Gothic Architecture and rich atmosphere are hauntingly beautiful and positively electrifying. Bloodborne delivers on every level possible and has delivered a near flawless experience. One thing is for certain, if you own a PS4 you MUST own Bloodborne.
- 40+ Hours of Gameplay
- In-Depth Character Creation
- Breathtaking Gothic Visuals
- Teeming with Atmosphere
- Chalise Dungeons
- Terrible Load Times