Developer(s) – From Software & SCE Japan Studio
Publisher(s) – Sony Computer Entertainment
Director – Hidetaka Miyazaki
Producer(s) – Masaaki Yamagiwa & Teruyuki Toriyama
PEGI – 16
One of the most highly anticipated games of the eighth generation, and one of the commercially and critically successful at this point, Bloodborne basically takes the gameplay premise of the Demon Souls and Dark Souls series’ into an entirely different world, wrought with new dangers, new settings and a whole new range of weapons at player’s disposal. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy playing it, as I found it to be even harder, and therefore less accessible than Dark Souls II, but it does have its finer points saving it from being a complete disaster, and I’d like to address them.
Graphics – 10/10
The visuals are among the best I’ve seen throughout the eighth generation so far. Every facet of the game is wonderfully detailed, and there’s hardly a glitch in sight. It’s certainly a huge step up from the mediocre graphics I found Dark Souls II to have; especially for a seventh-generation title. On top of that, the conceptual design is also top-notch. Taking place in the city of Yharnam, it has an extremely strong feel of Victorian England, as well as the Italian Renaissance, with gothic architecture decorating the streets, as well as some of the characters wearing what look like plague doctor’s masks. One of the weapons also looks like an oversized straight razor; a possible reference to the story of Sweeney Todd.
Gameplay – 3/10
The premise of gameplay is exactly the same as any games in From Software’s most prominent series’ of RPGs; hack and slash through every enemy in sight, and dying as few times as possible. Though many have been extremely lukewarm to this style of play over the last few years, I remain unconvinced; especially taking into account how hard From Software has made these games. It makes absolutely no sense to me why developers make games hard for the sake of them being hard. I’ve had gripes with it ever since I played the first Castlevania, and realized that the reason why developers put difficulty levels in games is to make them as accessible as possible. For developers to break that trend either way, to me, sets an extremely bad precedent, and I’d personally rather not have it that way. My biggest hope going into Bloodborne when I tried it at a lock-in event before release, was that From Software had made the game accommodate for as many people as possible. Sadly, that isn’t the case.
Controls – 8/10
Since the game was also developed using the same engine as the likes of Dark Souls II, it also has the same issues in terms of controls; annoyingly stiff movement, making it seem like bigger enemies have unrealistically better reflexes, and are more agile. It’s a good job that there aren’t any other problems for players to have to cope with in the process, otherwise, I would have run into a plethora of different separate issues at certain parts of the game whilst playing.
Lifespan – 7/10
The game has a fairly impressive lifespan, however. Though one separate playthrough may take only 12 hours, there are actually three different endings to the game, making for a minimum of 36 hours. There’s also a multiplayer mode present to add even more to the game’s longevity, which for players of a higher skill level will be very accommodating. It’s not often that a mainstream game can be made to last as much time as that nowadays.
Storyline – 7/10
The story follows the player character traveling through the city of Yharnam, seeking a cure known as Paleblood for unknown reasons. He soon realizes that the city is ridden with an illness turning its populace into hostile creatures and that he must overcome Yharnam’s many trials to recover the Paleblood. Compared to Dark Souls II, the story is a lot more tense and dramatic, and with multiple endings, giving it much more substance in the story than the latter.
Originality – 6/10
Though the gameplay premise has been done many before, and all by the same developer, it’s mostly the game’s conceptual design that makes it stand out among others. Hidetaka Miyazaki is a very renowned designer throughout the gaming industry, but I’ve always thought of him as being fairly overrated; especially as there are quite a few similarities between both the Demon Souls and Dark Souls series in terms of concept. But it’s in Bloodborne where I think he has shown what can really do.
In summation, Bloodborne is nowhere near as good a game as it had the potential to be if only the developers had added an easy mode, or even normal difficulty compared to what players were given. It isn’t the worst game I’ve played all year, however, and it does have its place within the industry. Unfortunately, it’s just not entirely for me.