Bloodborne is arguably the PS4’s best game, certainly in terms of exclusives. The Lovecraftian inspired horror, created by From Software and helmed by Hidetaka Miyazaki is both similar and vastly different to the Souls series. With Dark Souls III looming we thought a reminder of Bloodborne’s greatness was needed. Set in the plagued city of Yharnam, Bloodborne takes players through a strange and nightmarish journey, all to stop the source of the infliction. The environments are ranged and varied but all of them radiate an evil that is persistent throughout the game. Yharnam and its surrounding areas are all creations of fantastic game design. It’s amazing that the environments are so diverse and are yet intricately connected in a way where players can navigate them with ease. Battling your way through the many enemy-infested areas is challenging, but the shortcuts that are available offer respite from the struggle.
The brutal difficulty is still apparent but the game’s fast paced combat makes for more messy and bloody encounters. A methodical and violent approach is needed to best Bloodborne’s enemies, most of which are the things of nightmares. Bosses such as Darkbeast Paarl and Vicar Amelia are fast and dangerous and the elation which comes from slaying them is a feeling that is perhaps only comparable in a game such as Monster Hunter. With that said the fighting can also be a graceful affair, especially against other hunters. Knowing when to dodge, slash and activate a visceral attack takes coordination and skill.
The endless night, horrific monsters and the consistent killing of the undying is something that you’ll wish to escape but also for it to never end
Bloodborne’s greatest achievements – much like the named Souls games – is its ability to let the player explore and learn. The fragmented story is hidden in notes and richly detailed in items and collectibles. Putting together events is confusing, but the interpretation of what has happened in Yharnam can be left to players’ imaginations lest they dig deeper. Mechanically speaking the learning curve is vast, and it’s a game not suited to everyone, but besting enemies and gaining a deeper insight (pun intended) into how to play the game is rewarding.
Playing Bloodborne solo is a great experience, but its use of multiplayer sets it apart from others in similar genres. The many notes and warnings left by players are useful to consider and can give you an advantage against bosses. Perhaps the biggest risk in Bloodborne is asking players for help by using the resonant and beckoning bell. By doing this you open your world to other enemy players who can kill you and obtain your blood echoes. Fights with online players are serious tests of your ability and you can see how far or how little you’ve progressed through them.
Bloodborne is a strange and bizarre journey that will have you pulling your hair out in frustration. The endless night, horrific monsters and the consistent killing of the undying is something that you’ll wish to escape but also for it to never end. Bloodborne is so far the crowning exclusive of the PS4’s library and it’s likely to remain such.