Bloodborne 2015 (PS4)

Have you got this yet? If not, why not?

As a PS4 exclusive, is this console worth buying for this game alone? Why, seeing as you asked so nicely, I’d say absolutely.

Does having experience of previous From Software games, from Demons’ Souls, to Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2, help in getting to grips with this ultra-challenging title? It does, yes, although that shouldn’t put off the first timer. All four titles share very similar mechanics. They also share the almost identical “What the christ is going on in this game” story line, leaving much to interpretation and imagination.

But then this mystique is exactly what gives these games the unbearably depressing backdrops so heavy in hopelessness and bleak destitution. Bloodborne doesn’t disappoint in that regard either, with rotten horse corpses to feasting carrion strewn across the overtly exaggerated Gothic architecture of Victorian London acting as a seemingly perfect backdrop. Add to that some morbidly designed characters, both helpful and not, that seem to have been picked directly from the encyclopaedia of children’s nightmares.

Sound engineering helps with the immersion as the sound of distant crying babies, to angry, silent mobs patrolling the streets with their forks and torches. Knock on the odd lit house door and you’re greeted with a variety of psychotic narratives from inhabitants, giving you hints as to the nightmare you live in.

It really is a spectacularly designed game with the most intricate detail in level design. The buildings have been put together by what could only be a period architect of some renown, whilst a plethora of gargoyles and disfigured statues stare at you looking almost frozen in time.

The backdrop of Bloodborne is only an unpleasant accompanyment to the games central combat system. Shorn of the countless weapon and armour types previous Souls’ games normally adorn, you’ve only got a choice of a dozen weapons, with firearms taking place of where your shield used to be.

At first, this alien concept (certainly if you’re a die hard Souls player) appears a little difficult to get used to, but after a while becomes absolute second nature.

Previous souls games encourage a defensive stance against other mobs, whereas Bloodborne seems to revel in the absolute opposite with aggressive attack strategies being the most sensible. Consider that many mobs can one hit kill you, every approach becomes a well thought out one.

It’s brutally difficult at times, with some of the bosses requiring dozens of attempts before you can dispatch. But at no point are you forced to quit as each death is simply a demonstration of a mistake you’ve made.

The haunting soundtrack, accompanied with the deliberate, violent and nightmarish dark visuals, aid in this games accelerated position amongst my most favourite games ever. The costume design alone is worthy of compliment, having successfully captured the stylish art and design of renaissance period Europe.

I’ve already completed it, but without even putting the pad down, I’m straight into NG+ and playing through in even harder mode – and I thought the first play through was tough.

Have you bought it yet?

10/10

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