May 26, 2015

Never have I played a game so punishing and yet so rewarding at the same time; a game both beautiful and grotesque in its design. Bloodborne by Dark Souls creator Hidetaka Miyazaki and FROMSoftware is the true definition of ‘next-gen’.
I’m sure for any gaming fan out there, you’ll already be aware of Bloodborne; the hype for this game is unreal, unashamedly pushed by Sony as a Playstation 4 Exclusive, it really is the first game to warrant the praise of being a ‘system seller’.

Bloodborne’s story is as vague as it could be, you’re a hunter who wakes to find yourself in a nightmare full of tough beasts that you attempt to hunt; and you’ll die in your quest to do that hunting, time and time again.
Yes, it’s hard; if you’re familiar with previous FROMSoftware releases such as Demons Souls and Dark Souls you know what to expect, I on the other hand were new to the ‘series’, only ever watching full lets-plays of previous Souls releases, I’d never physically played one of these, only seen the pros blast through making those games look relatively easy.

So I dove in, and I died, I died a lot, especially on the first few bosses, constantly running straight in, using up all my health potions and buffs and having to grind out more blood echoes (the games XP and currency) to have one more go – I nearly gave up, but I’m so glad I didn’t.

I’ve now got the Platinum trophy on Bloodborne – something I never imagined would be achievable at the beginning, but with each death comes a time to reflect on what just went wrong, you learn each time you see the black screen and its almost addictive, you want to keep going.

With each area covered and each boss taken down, you want to see whats next, whats around the next corner or through the next dungeon; to see what each new area offers from a design and enemy stand point and in regards to the design, FROMSoftware have achieved something quite amazing.

The game design is simply stunning; a gothic, Lovecraftian setting in the sprawling city of Yarnham that is so cleverly laid out it leads to some really impressive “wow” moments later on in the game; the sunsetting over Central Yarnham showcases some beautiful colours and outlines some beautifully designed architecture including chapels, churches, spires and towns and just like the nightmare you’re in the designs of the areas you visit get more and more creepy and nightmarish the further deep you travel.

My one negative is on the ‘Chalice Dungeons’, these are randomly generated dungeons that are supposed to add much more replay-ability to the end game, sadly, they aren’t random enough, you get used to the layouts and there simply isn’t enough variation in the dungeons to make them exciting; there’s also far too many of the Chalice Dungeons themselves, it’d have been better to have less of them but with more variety in the areas and enemy types to keep things exciting – by the time I’d done them all I was worn out and glad they were over.

Overall though, I loved every minute of Bloodborne, especially the story campaign and would recommend it to anyone, if you think its going to be too challenging for you to enjoy, take my advice and still give it a go, I nearly gave up but am so glad I didn’t, its such an achievement when you finish it.