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Review: Bloodborne (PS4)

 

 
Overview
 

Game Length: 45+ hours
 
Developer(s): From Software
 
Publisher(s): Sony Computer Entertainment
 
Platform(s): PS4
 
Release Date: 25 March 2015
 
Platform:
 
Gameplay
9.0


 
Visuals
9.5


 
Audio
9.0


 
Gratification
9.0


 
Value for Money
9.5


 
Total Score
9.2
9.2/10


User Rating
5 total ratings

 

Positives


Disturbingly Beautiful | Wonderful Atmosphere | Great Combat | Lots of Fun

Negatives


Loading Time | Early Bosses are Very Tough | Character Create


Bottom Line

Is this a game to die for?




35
Posted March 30, 2015 by

 
Full Article
 
 

review-bloodborne

Death isn’t often a massive topic of discussion, so embracing it as a part of a game can become quite a challenge. When we die, we leave all our troubles behind, we finally find peace and an escape from our nightmares, but in Bloodborne, your death is a mere nothing in the nightmare that surrounds you.

Not much can be said about the world of Yharnam, the main area you’re stuck in, but I can say this – it’s a world you definitely don’t want to be stuck in. As the game starts, you sign a pact with a deranged old madman who performs some kind of blood ritual on you. The ritual initiates a very poor character creation section. Once you’re done, you sign your pact and become a Hunter. These guys are the warriors in Yharnam who set out to kill the beasts and horrors that stalk the streets.

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There’s not a whole lot of story to go on, but you also don’t really need one anyway. You’re basically a Hunter and you need to wipe out the beasts, end of story. And boy, there are loads of beasts to maim. From well-dressed henchmen, cloaked Quasimodos and barking crows to hooded demons and agile granny hags, this game is loaded with a variety of creatures for you to feast your fearful eyes on.

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The horror theme of the game is carried well in almost every regard. The steam and mist that clouds alleys also hides enemies and prey. The howls in the background sound near and far, shatters your nerves. Enemies strike from out the shadows, some watch you from the balcony as if they were gargoyles. Never have I played a game that made me jump so frequently in one evening. So, if horror is your thing then you’re in for a lovely treat. There’s not much in the way of music, but the use of sound is amazing. You can clearly hear when something is chasing you, when you change your weapon, the sound of the wind, enemy breaths and more.There might not be melodies playing in the background, but when a game makes it’s world sound alive, who needs it.

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Bloodborne is near perfection when it comes to pulling off its visual aesthetic. It is set in what looks like England in the Victorian era. Part of the game is based off of the Christian faith, particularly certain denominations. Bosses are giving titles like Vicar, Father, Cleric and more. It also wraps up other mythologies, like werewolves, really nicely. Together, everything is interwoven splendidly and feels like everything is meant to be exactly where they are.

Another facet of the game that is masterfully woven is Yharnam itself. It’s a massive area and built like a maze. At first it will feel like you’re travelling to the far ends of the universe, but, with a little luck, you’ll stumble on a shortcut. Finding these shortcuts feel amazing and gives you that ‘aha’ moment. Finding all the shortcuts and secrets areas can be a pain if you’re too used to normal game mechanics. For instance, a shortcut to certain place would mean dropping of the edge of a roof, onto another balcony to find a ladder that gets you to a certain point. Some areas look impossible to get to, but with a little snooping, you can really get anywhere. And if you’re playing online, you may be able to find helpful clues from other Hunters via their creepy minions. These are helpful especially when there’s an ambush waiting for you.

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The great thing is, you’ll hardly ever need to find enemies to fight as they’re everywhere, and they’re damn tough to beat. Your vanilla enemies aren’t too tough at the start of the game, but get close to the end and you’ll be in for a very long evening. I’ve played the game for about 45 hours now and some of these enemies still give me grief. The combat itself is fantastic, smooth and fast. Your character is very agile and can move around the battlefield with ease. There are no sluggish movements in Bloodborne, so if that was a particular pickle for you in the Souls games, then fear no more.

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The combat in Bloodborne is more evasive-offensive than defensive. You need to evade, strike, strike, evade and strike again. Taking a slow approach isn’t bad, but enemies are fast and deadly if you keep lingering. You have two weapons, your main blade and a gun. There’s no parry system, but the weak gun is used to stun enemies, giving you chance to strike back. Charging your attacks work just as well, but knowing when to use both is the trick. Another reason to attack more often is the new blood healing effect. When you are damaged, a part of your health can be restored if you attack an enemy. Attack fast enough and you may restore all of it. However, this isn’t always the best thing to do. The key to success in Bloodborne is to know when to attack back and when to let it go. The same can be said for locking on to your enemies. At first it could help, but sometimes, it really hinders you. Knowing when to lock and when not to, comes with practice and trial and error – which ultimately means you’ll die… a lot.

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Dying doesn’t have to be sad though as you’re allowed to co-op with other people and have them die at your side. I haven’t been able to test this part of the game out yet, as I’ve recently been throttled, but I will provide a nice update once my internet settles again. Adding some extra bulk to the game are the chalice dungeons. These you can access via the Hunter’s Dream, a safe haven where you buy items, level up and upgrade your weapons. The Hunter’s dream is also your hub; during your travels in Yharnam, you’ll come across lanterns, and lighting these lanterns allows you to quick travel between areas. The Chalice dungeons – which can only be activated once you’ve beaten the third boss – is a place for you to challenge yourself in a labyrinth of boredom. Honestly, the only things worth fighting are the bosses.

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Bloodborne isn’t free of some irritations. There are some framerate drops, but they aren’t an issue for most of the game. It’s really noticeable in one of the final boss fights, which is where it becomes a deadly issue. Another problem is the loading time. On average, the loading screen takes 40 seconds even after the day one patch. This wouldn’t be a massive issue in most other games, but considering you’ll die frequently, those 40 seconds add up and they add up to total of “extremely irritating.” Other nitpicking issues are:

  • Your character looks very bland compared to everything else.
  • NPC mouths don’t move when talking
  • Boss difficulty is odd – later bosses are easier than the earlier bosses

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As a package, Bloodborne is a fantastic game. It’s not a game for everyone, but Souls fans will love it. If you’re into action RPGs then give this one a try. It’s a lot more approachable and it’s also very enjoyable. I don’t like that there’s no massive story arc, but there’s a lot that’s said through the city itself. The horror is absolutely beautiful and the fighting is top-notch. Aside from the loading time and obligatory frustration, there’s really not much else to knock this game down. There’s a lot to do, plenty to discover and dozens of hours of content for you plough through. It’s a game to die for.

Gold-award

raru-buy-now





Kyle Boshoff

 
I R 'Kaal'gat Kyle!


  • Thami Afurika-Jin HD

    Wow!

  • baasg3n3

    This game deserves this score, I’ve been jamming on my friend’s PS4 whilst waiting for my PSN vouchers from Kalahari and I must say it is magnificent, it just screams in your mind during the day at work “Please come play me” sigh at least my vouchers are shipped so they should arrive tomorrow, then I will play on my own damn PS4. They say there’s a patch coming for the load times, but I doubt they will be able to even half the loading time

    • TechniKyle

      So true. I keep memorising attack patterns, when to move left, when to duck, when to dodge,etc. Totally gets in your head.

  • Jarred

    Sounds really amazing. The combat and environment make me want to play it so badly, but I just don’t think I have the patience for this kind of game. And the horror aspects… well yeah.
    You should do a Let’s Play video on it, be cool to see you battle it out a bit.

    • TechniKyle

      I will try that out as soon as my net settles. I wish I recorded a particular fight scene, where I was ambushed and managed to kill everything without losing any health. Parried the he’ll out of everyone. Was the best 10 minutes ever!

  • CaptainNemo42

    Due to circumstances, I could only start playing it Friday morning. It’s absolutely fantastic. I did find the controls a bit tricky, considering my Souls background. Sometimes I would use a Bloodvile when I actually wanted to 2 hand my weapon, or I think I want to block with my shield, only to realise I have not shield and I end up two handing my weapon.

    I dig the gun parry/riposte setup, and I’m getting good with it, so I’m looking forward to the PvP system.

  • CaptainNemo42

    And those damn Werewolves…

    • TechniKyle

      There are so many different variations. The official names are lame. ‘Netherbeast’ oh please, that’s a full blown werewolf.

  • Raidz

    Ah awesome maaan.. This game is getting SUCH consistent reviews! But I’m still a bit caucious because I haven’t played a Souls game and I’m not that into RPG’s. But this looks like something that isn’t as hectically RPG so I’m so tempted

    • CaptainNemo42

      This is more of a “thinking man’s hacknslash” game than an RPG, sure its got the elements of RPG, like basically playing it the way you want, but the meat of it is not really RPG. Also, I think not being a Souls player might be a blessing. We keep making the comparison, but the gameplay is a lot different, and like I said in an earlier comment, you’re not hampered by the controls, that’s a bit different.

      • TechniKyle

        I think Bloodborne suits my playstyle a lot better. I suck at defending, but great at stealth and evasion. Works brilliantly for me. I think this style makes it more accessible to other people. Might even convert some to play more Souls games.

      • Louis Swanepoel

        I get what you are saying and you defenitly need to rewire your brain if you think this is s generic hack and slash, but to say “the meat of it is not really an RPG” I don’t agree with. You are able to customize every aspect, every stat of your character when leveling. You get to choose your armour, what to equip, what stats your armour adds to your character when equiping, your weapon type, upgrading your weapon, which “Runes” to equip to your Character and weapons. If these aspects are not “Meaty RPG” elements then I don’t know. Diablo 3 is considered to be an RPG and doesn’t offer a quarter of the “management” that this game allows! Not bashing on Diablo – i love it – just stating that if Diablo is considered an RPG, this surely is as well!!

        • CaptainNemo42

          Look, with that, I cannot argue, and that is why this game is a great RPG. I think I phrased it wrongly. The game doesn’t feel like a normal RPG in the true sense of the words, since you don’t have a big world, with different towns, and side quests and Merchants and Taverns, and save houses littered all over the show. Everything in Bloodborne, and the Souls game is there for a reason and has a purpose, and you can choose to use it or not. There is no useless loot-ala-Diablo for instance.

          But yes, the mechanics in these games is incredibly deep, so in that sense, yes its an RPG, it just plays much different than the standard RPG out there.

          • Louis Swanepoel

            That I agree with 100%, Well said Sir, well said

      • Raidz

        Yeah this appeals way more to me than something like Dragon age or Skyrem. I’ll definitely try it out somewhere or somehow and then decide. I just can’t miss out on the exclusive of the year

      • Raidz

        Thinking man’s hacknslash? Sold!

  • Trebzz

    I’d watch out when making fun of Kyle with puppet Kyle now 😛 this boy is not human to finish these hardcore games in record times man o,O you sir are a legend

    • TechniKyle

      You realise that I am nothing like Kyle Puppet? I’m a bitch, he’s just an ass.

      • Trebzz

        I will not fall into your trap with this comment o.O

  • Dave

    Seems like this is a game that finally makes the PS4 purchase a bit more worth it for some people. Horror is not my jam so I’m not interested to play this but good to know the console brothers are finally being rewarded for buying this gen.

  • Louis Swanepoel

    4 Bosses in and I can say without a doubt, my “Game of the year” so far! I have completed Demons Souls and Dark Souls 1 and 2, but man this is good. The combat although a bit different from the other Souls games are still in tact. You can still “Defend” as that is why the “Gun” element has been brought in. The gun is not there to snipe or shoot enemies, with the intention to kill them, it is there to stagger the enemy as soon as he tries to hit you, so that you can then get a crit hit on the enemy. Yeah i know its no shield and you can’t “block” with it but the shield in the previous souls games were also mainly there to riposte and get a crit hit on the enemy!! Never ever has a game been so hard but so rewarding at the same time!! The feeling from slaying a boss where you have died 38 times at, and finally being able to see him explode in a fiery smokeball……just beyond words!!

    • TechniKyle

      Dude, I have no idea how many times I tried to beat Amelia. Man that boss was tough for me. They get easier. The optional bosses are pretty tough though.

      • Louis Swanepoel

        2Night it’s me and that “Electric Beast” thing which i also think is optional. So far Father Gascoine was the hardest for me!! That guy………Bastard

        • CaptainNemo42

          That Father Gascoine is a nightmare, especially when he turns into a beast, I had a good few tries at him. The Blood Starved Beast was so far the toughest for me. I just couldn’t dodge those last attacks. I battled for about five hours, over and over again. Then I decided to have a look in my inventory out of desperation… found something cool to lure it away and boom! Dead.

          • TechniKyle

            I beat him on my third attempt. Amelia and Blood-starved beast on the other hand..

          • Louis Swanepoel

            This game is cool like that in the sense that some things some players find harder than others. Like @TechniKyle said to me he struggled so much with Vicar Amelia, but I killed her (not bragging here

          • TechniKyle

            *eye twitch* How!? She took me 2 days! 2 days!

          • baasg3n3

            Same with me, but there wasn’t a single boss so far that I tried more than three times, all bosses except the Cleric beast I beat on my 2nd try. Cleric was on the third. 2-handed Axe plus dodge plus Hold R2, game over. Just beat Amelia last night, so not sure what boss is next I’m very excited lol

          • Raidz

            Is there a difficulty setting? Or is the only option “Bloody Difficult”

          • Louis Swanepoel

            No difficulty setting unfortunatly!! It is what it is!!

          • Raidz

            Eish!

  • AchtungBaby_

    Darnit, when the trailer for this game came out I thought what sh!t, another uber-violent and gory game. But seeing some game-play and hearing everybody’s praise, I now kinda want it. Bloody hype, urgh.

    • CaptainNemo42

      Yes… “Bloody” hype!

  • Great read Kyle! One thing I noticed from playing is that the door always opens from the other side. haha

  • Fantastic review, Kyle ‘ol chum.

    I haven’t really put much time into Bloodborne since getting it (doesn’t help that my delivery was delayed past launch day), but at the moment, I’m taking my time, exploring all over the first areas of Yharnam.

    This coming (extended) weekend, though…I’m playing Bloodborne until my eyes bleed :D/