Review: Bloodborne (2015)

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Note: This review is intended for fans of video games, PlayStation 4 owners, nerds and other basement dwelling professional hot dog eaters.  The purpose of this review is to inform these individuals on whether or not they should waste their time, money and life on yet another computer game, specifically this one. Enjoy!

If you’re someone that’s prone to snapping controllers, punching holes in walls or screaming at the family dog over something as stupid as a video game, then Bloodborne is not for you. But for the other members of civilized society who can handle a big challenge in exchange for a satisfying experience, you’ve come to the right place. With an incredibly dark creative vision, punishing yet balanced gameplay and robust online features, it’s a no brainier Bloodborne is a must-own for any horror fans that happen to own a PlayStation 4.

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Plot and Storytelling

Like the previous works from Japanese developer From Software, the story of Bloodborne is loosely told through item and weapon descriptions, incomprehensible encounters with non-playable characters and notes scribbled across the game world. The majority of Bloodborne takes place in the Gothic city of Yharnam. Infested with plague ridden monsters, otherworldly beings and morally ambiguous characters, the silent protagonist must traverse this realm and seek out the source of these nightmares for reasons unknown.

Directly inspired by the literary works of H.P. Lovecraft, the cosmic plot of Bloodborne is still a source of debate and speculation by thousands of internet goblins with too much time on their hands. For an experience that’s distinctly brutal and gameplay intensive, the lack of in-game cinematics and heavy dialog sequences is more than welcome in an industry that’s gradually favoring interactive movies rather than video games.  

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The Gameplay

It’s no secret that Bloodborne is difficult, but rarely is it ever unfair. Slaying monsters across Yharnam rewards the player with a designated number of “blood echoes” based upon the difficulty of the kill. Blood can be used to level up your character’s weapon strength, maximum health, and agility, making the leveling system a far tighter experience than previous installments by From Software. Unlike Dark Souls before it, weapons are scarce, armor is useless beyond fashion and shields have been removed entirely.

However the payoff from these exclusions is what makes Bloodborne such a magnificent game in the Souls franchise. The limited amount of weapons means that each one features much tighter strategy and characteristics, the trivialization of armor forces a much greater focus on movement rather than damage absorption, and the replacing of shields with handguns is the icing on the cake of Bloodborne‘s originality.

Multiplayer Features

With many games of this era suffering from forced multiplayer that ends up damaging the overall single player experience, it’s refreshing to see a lonely quest like Bloodborne handle the inclusion of online play so well. Through the activation of items found throughout the game world, the player can invite others into their game world to help fight the horrifying end-zone monsters or trade weapons and items with one another. Bloodstains across Yharnam also give the player a brief glimpse into the ill fated deaths and mistakes of others, providing a sense of dread and warning in the game’s most dangerous areas. And much like the Dark Souls games that preceded it, players can also invade the game worlds of others at any time, battling them for items and experience points.

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The Verdict

Considering it’s relative age and moderate popularity, Bloodborne can be easily found for the price of around $20-40 AUD. With a main quest length of around thirty hours and far more content in the form of side missions and downloadable content, Bloodborne is great value for money for any PlayStation 4 owner that values a unique and challenging experience. A brutal experience from start to finish that often questioned my sanity and brought back feelings of 10 year old rage, enjoy! 8.5/10

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