Bloodborne Review: Dark Souls with H.P. Lovecraft – but better

FromSoftware’s latest venture is a fantastic evolution of an already great series. If anything, this is one massive reason to choose the PlayStation 4 over the Xbox One.

Created by the good ol’ folks who made Demons Souls and Dark Souls, FromSoftware, and Hidetaka Miyazaki, Bloodborne could be described as being the spiritual successor of Dark Souls, just as Dark Souls was to Demons Souls. The same mechanics and trends are there, but given nice little twists that make this game unique form the others. Just as it was with the Souls games, so too is Bloodborne deviously difficult and challenging, absurdly beautiful, and subtle in its approach to telling a story. Bloodborne can only be described as a modern classic.

Just as it is with the Souls games, Bloodborne delivers its story and world through cryptic jigsaw pieces, it tasks the player to put these pieces together and come up with their own interpretation and fill the blanks. It is a method of storytelling that thrives in the video game format as it encourages exploration and use of imagination – there’s none of this “here have a ton of exposition through a 30 second cut scene rubbish. Once again FromSoftware have succeeded in creating a fascinating and wonderfully disturbing story and world just as they did with their previous games.

Bloodborne is as close as you’ll come to ever getting a HP Lovecraft styled videogame. This is all very well known as the world and story delves into the minds of madness, insanity, and cosmological nightmares. Bloodborne’s story is disturbing, surreal, completely mental, but fascinating and imaginative.

In terms of gameplay, Bloddborne took and already amazing formula and somehow made it better. I’ve found Bloodborne to be far harder than Dark Souls, but also more entertaining. Every encounter is tense, as you can be killed relatively quickly, and passivity just invites more death, it’s like walking on a tightrope as one slip up could easily cost you. The combat, compared to Dark Souls, is both faster but also meatier. You have to commit to attacks as any misjudgement means that you will be inviting enemies to pounce. Enemies hit hard and bosses hit harder.

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Bloodborne’s locations are vivid, imaginative, and beautifully terrifying labyrinths that dazzle and amaze.

Speaking of bosses, the designers and animators have out done themselves. By the looks of it every boss has 1000 different attack animations; reading their attacks, predicting what that attack is, and choosing when to make your own attack make each and every fight an intense and adrenaline pumping display. Plus there is no greater feeling in a video game than beating a boss you’ve been struggling with, it’s like climbing a mountain and the reward itself is the fact that you’ve done it.

Bloodborne creates an atmosphere of horror without ever being really scary, and it is that atmosphere that has been created that makes this one of the best games from the last decade.

For my full 800 word review, go here: Bloodborne review – original PDF

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