Game Review: Bloodborne – You’ve got red on you

Bloodborne

Release Date: 2015

Developer(s): FromSoftware

Publisher(s): Sony Computer Entertainment

Platforms: PS4 (Exclusive)

It was either this or The Order: 1886. Both are set in an some approximation of Victorian England. Both had compelling plots and highly cinematic trailers, and both were Playstation exclusives. After much debate and asking around, the resounding advice from friends (online and domestic) and family was to get Bloodborne. Unlike Stygian Mole, I am not an RPG player and was understandably apprehensive when I started this graphic tour de force.

Plot

Set in a Lovecraftian version of Victorian England, the game opens with a first-person view through the eyes of a Hunter, who is being operated on by an old man. The man explains that he is performing a blood transfusion, and tells the Hunter they’ve “come to the right place” in seeking Paleblood. He warns the Hunter that he will go on a strange journey that will seem like a bad dream. It’s all very enigmatic.

Shortly after arriving in Yharnam, you come across a realm called the “Hunter’s Dream”, which is a sanctuary and workshop, with fast travel points. Here, you meet Gehrman, an elderly, wheelchair-bound man who gives you advice and the use of his workshop for weapon repair, limited crafting and upgrade, among other things. There is also the Doll, a living life-size doll that assists you in leveling up, whom I almost killed when I was testing out a new gun I had bought. Don’t do this!

Gehrman tells you that in order to find the Paleblood, you must hunt down the monsters plaguing Yharnam, and stop the plague that is debilitating the town.

Bloodborne 1

Style & Weapons

In true FromSoftware style, this game has a wonderful gloominess to it, meaning that you are constantly on high alert for foes in all corners. Though the set dressing may be different to Dark Souls (DS), the feel is very similar, with the focus being on boss fights and some bomb-ass CQC. Instead of Souls, the player collects Blood Echoes and the mechanics of losing and collecting lost Echoes is not that different from DS.

There are a number of weapons to choose from, depending on the playing style you prefer. I favour speed and agility over brute force thus my weapon choices were the Saw Cleaver and pistol initially. Though I enjoyed using the axes and the Kirkhammer, they were simply too slow for me. This didn’t stop me from trying everything out and see what best worked for me.

My first boss battle

The Review

This really was such a fantastically fun game, with hours of gameplay available to you. Again, as someone who is not one with the RPG, this had an easy system to pick up and develop with, as a player. I finally understood how my husband could spend hours pouring over stats and deciding on the best upgrades, using limited resources. Because of this, I would recommend this to anyone wanting to get into RPG’ing who is not sure of the systems or whether they will enjoy it.

The cities and settings were beautifully crafted, and graphically this game cannot be faulted. Not to mention the exceedingly fluid cinematics. What impressed me most was the attention to detail. For those of you not familiar with turn of the century city design or who have not traveled to some of the older cities in Europe, the attention to the cobblestone alone blew my mind. The designers used different cobble for different areas and the obvious wear and tear on the masonry can be seen, illustrating painstaking hours of attention to this one aspect. It’s this sort of detail that allows the player full immersion into and better overall enjoyment of a game.

Bloodborne Knight's Garb

Bloodborne also has a fantastic dungeon raiding system, for when you needed a break from the main plot, and had my husband reminiscing about the old Diablo’s dungeons.

But is it too similar to Dark Souls to be worthwhile buying? As a household which has both games, I would recommend the purchase. Bloodborne was just similar enough to assist in familiarity with controls and ease of play but it was still different enough to ensure that the player enjoyed the story and the style. We found ourselves constantly comparing the two and wishing that DS had some Bloodborne elements and vice versa.

If you really cannot make up your mind, think about whether or not you’d like to run around almost constantly covered in blood. That should help the process.

My Rating: 5/5

Bloodborne is available for download via the PSN Store and can be purchased at various other outlets and online stores.

You might like:

Dark Souls

Dark Souls II

The Witcher 3

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