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[Video Game Review] Bloodborne (2015)

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Game Summary: Face your fears as you search for answers in the ancient city of Yharnam, now cursed with a strange endemic illness spreading through the streets like wildfire. Danger, death and madness lurk around every corner of this dark and horrific world, and you must discover its darkest secrets in order to survive.

Developer: From Software

Publisher: SCE Japan Studio

Platforms: PlayStation 4

Review: by Ryan

The spiritual successor to the Dark Souls series, From Software has delivered Bloodborne to the PS4 as a console exclusive title. Borrowing the intense difficulty (the kind that leaves you with less hair than you started, but oh-so worth it) from the Souls series, but with a faster game pace and extremely tight controls in a new roleplaying setting. Can From Software deliver the beloved Dark Souls experience in a newly wrapped packaged, or will they leave us wanting for the days of yore?

Bloodborne begins with you creating your character, a Hunter who seeks the city of Yharnam for a blood transfusion for an unknown illness. Once the procedure is finished, you are informed that you need to seek the Paleblood to complete the cure. You find the Yharnam is infested with an illness of its own and beasts now roam the streets, which stand in the way of your hero’s mission. After this point, the game lets go of your hand and it is all up to figure out where to go next.

The story is interesting and confusing in a way only From Software can tell it but the story is secondary to the meaty action that Bloodborne rests its laurels on. I say this without hyperbole; Bloodborne has the best action gameplay I’ve played in any game in any game so far. The tight controls, depth and breadth of weapon movesets, the razor-thin hit detection leave you breathless and eager to play into the wee hours of the night. The graphics are exceptional with moody lighting, grotesque monster design, larger than life bosses and visceral blood sprays do nothing but enhance the experience.

The difficulty of Bloodborne is what really sells the experience. You will find yourself cursing, yelling and screaming at your TV for mercy but when you finally conquer a challenge that’s been plagueing you for hours, you will feel a sense of accomplishment that is rare in todays “Everyone is a Winner” attitude. While the initial play-through will take you roughly ~40 hours to complete, further playthroughs are dramatically shortened by gameplay knowledge. However, From Software has included chalice dungeons, a series of procedurally generated dungeons that you can share with friends, to keep you playing indefinitely however due to limited building blocks, you will quickly tire of them. There is also a PvP and multiplayer option as well, but it is cumbersome to use and I did not utilize it that often.

What I Liked:

Bloodborne has interesting weapons, great animations, slick combat and wraps a challenging but rewarding experience around. The enemy designs are top notch, with haunting themes and apt sound effects, which leads to immersive gameplay. The controller becomes an extension of your intent and not a hindrance.

What I Didn’t Like:

The new blood vial healing system can sometimes force to you to farm them inbetween multiple attempts and taking down a difficult boss. The effect of armor appears to be minimal and there could be more weapons to choose from. The load times are obnoxious (this is however fixed in a downloadable update). The multiplayer system is difficult to use and such a hindrance to use it almost seems like From Software wants you to play alone.

You can purchase Bloodborne from Amazon here:

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