Bloodborne is the most recent PlayStation 4 exclusive game and also one of the best games on the system so far this year to buy. Bloodborne was developed by From Software and was directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki who some may know for his work on the Dark Souls series. Bloodborne takes place in the Gothic inspired world of Yarnham. Your character travels to Yarnham in order to find something called, Paleblood. But when you arrive you will find that the city is inhabited by madmen, strange creatures and many other dangers and it’s hard to just stay alive in there. Will you be able to do it?
The only hindrance that Bloodborne has towards its quality as one of the great games of the year is with its storytelling. While there is a story there and a reason for you to be in Yarnham, it’s not exactly clear at all times what you are meant to be doing. Often times you may be wandering around not knowing where to go or what’s happening and unless you travel to the wiki’s online and read the lore or take a look at the walkthroughs of the game like I did then it’s a bit hard to know at times. But the story doesn’t really matter at all, it’s still a great game regardless of it. It’s just got a simple story really, you’re in Yarnham to get this stuff your character wants and that’s it. Finding that stuff isn’t going to be easy at all though.
The level design in Bloodborne is one of the best features of the game. Each of the areas or levels are set out almost like a maze with a variety of enemies or challenges to overcome. It’s not easy to get through and for players such as myself who are first experiencing a Hidetaka Miyazaki game, there may be an initial challenge in the beginning where you’ll need to spend some time learning how everything functions. While there may be some initial frustrations for some with learning their way through the game, once these are overcome everything is great. The feeling of opening a gate at the end of an area which might provide an entry point to the next area of the game or a shortcut for running through the map, is great!
Once you open everything in Central Yarnham and can see how it was all constructed, you’ll see that it’s just like a maze, which is now like your home. It was very hard to get through at first but now that you’ve opened everything you know where all the enemies are, how to beat them and the quickest way through it all. By the end, no enemy should be able to touch you there. If you’re smart, you can farm them for the experience.
You really have to work hard and formulate a proper strategy to get through areas in order to reach somewhere that has a lantern you can light. These lanterns act like checkpoints when lit and are safe zones that you return to if you happen to die, which will be a lot. It sounds like it would be a frustrating experience doing this and at times it is. But every single time I found a new lantern and I lit it, I felt safe and I felt accomplished. Hidetaka Miyazaki’s Bloodborne provides a challenge to players who play the game and because of this, the feeling of accomplishment when beating certain areas is strong. This is a great thing to have and many other games are so easy in this console generation that to me the feeling of accomplishment in a game has not been felt for a very long time. For this I love Bloodborne. It’s a truly amazing experience.
In the beginning of the game there are some customisation options for creating your character and this is nice to have in terms being able to personalize your experience. It would have been nice if there were more body shape options as most of the time no matter how things were changed, my character always looked fairly skinny. But there are a variety of skin tones as well as the ability to choose your character’s name as well as an initial starting point for your character’s abilities.
During the game you will need to level up your character’s abilities in order to get stronger, use more weapons and get more skills. This is done in an area known as the Hunter’s Dream which you can visit via any of the lit lanterns throughout Yarnham. In the game when you kill enemies you get what is known as blood echoes. You can either spend them on weapons or for leveling up. You will need to travel back to the Hunter’s Dream with you blood echoes to spend them, if you die, you will lose all of them, so being careful is important. However you can retrieve them if you can make it back to the spot where you died, if you can get there of course! It’s a good system and while it seemed punishing at first to lose all your points, when looking at it after spending many hours with the game it really isn’t. It’s a fair system and it works well for the game.
Boss fights are one of the major gameplay moments in Bloodborne and for many they will provide the greatest challenge. Players will need to make sure their character is both strong enough to face the boss (leveling up is important) and also have a well thought out strategy to defeat them as well. Many of the bosses have weaknesses that can be exploited once you learn what they are, but none of the bosses are exactly push overs even if you know what their weakness is. Most bosses can and will kill you quickly if you’re not careful and they are very challenging. But as I said before, the challenge is half the fun. When you beat one after a few times of fighting it, you feel very accomplished and it’s a reward in itself (although they do drop items as well and you’ll get a trophy to).
From a visual perspective, Bloodborne is a wonderful looking game. The art work is really something special and the environments that you see both where your character is and also out in the distance, always looked marvelous. Enemies and bosses you meet are all distinctively different and are well drawn as well as imagined. Nothing looks boring in Bloodborne, everything is interesting and also dangerous. The lighting effects are also great and using the torch or walking in the dark completely changes the look of things around you, it’s wonderful.
The music in Bloodborne is also very special. There are some very well composed themes in the game and just listening to certain parts at times is an experience within itself. The sound effects are well done and some of the weapons sound quite brutal when used on enemies.
Hidetaka Miyazaki has really created a well put together game that provides an experience that should last way past 30 hours for players to enjoy. The artistic detail in the world of Bloodborne is distinct and interesting and the music creates just the right atmosphere for the world of Yarnham. The game is difficult, but the challenge it provides is a truly rewarding experience. Overcoming any of the difficult challenges the game offers will leave any player with great sense of accomplishment. I’ve often thought that the true purpose of a game is to provide a challenge for one to beat and it must be something worth beating and spending time on. Bloodborne does exactly that, in a way that only a great game can.