Developer: From Software
Release date: Out now!
Family Focus: Click here for more information.
Before I get into the review, note that I’ve never touched the Dark Souls games yet. Although I downloaded the first game through Xbox Live’s Games with Gold program a while back, I never really had the chance to start it. I’ve always dodged them because the idea of dying at every corner is somewhat discouraging and frustrating. So I’m going into this without any *real* idea as to what to expect, although I somewhat know what I’ve gotten myself into.
Bloodborne is set in a gothic-like city called Yharnam. A place where travelers seek in order to fix their afflictions, however, you are called up this decrepit city to track down Paleblood for unknown reasons. Unfortunately, this is where it gets bad. The decrepit city has been plagued by a mysterious illness which transforms citizens into violent beings. As a hunter, you are required to survive and save the city from the mysterious illness.
Let’s get it out right now: this isn’t for the casual or “part-time” gamer. Bloodborne was developed by From Software, a development studio which is known for making insanely hard games. If you thought Itagaki’s Ninja Gaiden was hard, you’ll get knocked back to reality. I, myself, plowed through Ninja Gaiden multiple times over; even tackling the Hard mode. I found that challenging, but this latest From Software is insanely hard. This isn’t the type of game where you can rush into enemies and expect to survive unscathed.
Once you start off the game, you’ll be prompted to create your character, the first step being your protagonist’s class. Each class has their own strengths and weaknesses. For the really crazy players, you can opt to play as a waste of skin. Good Luck! Luckily earlier on, your characters and the enemies are on a leveled playing field; as only a few hits are required to take down your enemies or getting yourself killed. Tackling enemies one on one will give you a chance to practice your attacks and the very important dodge mechanic. Getting surrounded by 2 enemies or more, and it already gets tricky.
Being an action RPG game, there’s a lot of item management to do. Weapons aren’t automatically (or easily) equipped, so before heading into fights, make sure you’re equipped with the latest and most efficient equipment you found. Unfortunately, the management system is clunky as hell and takes way too much time to figure out than it should. But it’s not the only thing that’s cumbersome as hell.
With such a game focused on combat and precise attacks, it’s lack of locking-on mechanics allowing to properly target an enemy is a huge fault. When surrounded by enemies, you’ll have to “hit and hope for the best” as you can’t properly target/lock on an enemy. Sure, when one on one, it doesn’t really matter, but when a group is attacking you, you’ll sometime want to try and take down the bigger of the bunch first instead of randomly flailing about. Sure, the R3 button allows you to “reset” the camera and face the enemy, but that’s it.
It’s also a huge pain in the ass when it comes to using guns or a molotov. You’ll try to throw one into a group of enemies, but without being able to target one of them, it’s once again “throw and hope for the best”, making the game rely too much on trial and error. The game’s controls feel loose and floaty which can make players look like they’re flailing about like a drunk baby. A game this “challenging” requires tight controls in order to survive and actually feel like you stand a chance. Imagine how anger inducing Ninja Gaiden II would’ve been with loose controls?
One of the game’s low points, and most frustrating aspects is the constant dying. Yes, it *is* part of the game, but seeing as you’re pretty much wandering through Yharnam without truly knowing your path, having to re-do parts of it is insanely frustrating. Walking around through the world for about 15-20 minutes, trying to find your way, then dying and having to re-do the same thing over again. And again. And again. And again. Well you get my point. True, you’re supposed to learn from your mistakes in this type of challenging game, however you’re pretty limited in ways to approach groups of enemies.
This game doesn’t just feel like a simple bid to challenge you, rather a bid to anger you and encourage you to rage quit. Unlike other “challenging” games where you can at least try and figure out an alternative to take down enemies, this one won’t let you. You’ll have to go back through the same path where you died and fight the same enemies under the same circumstances. You basically have alternate button mashing between R1 (to attack) and Circle (Dodge) in order to survive an overwhelming encounter.
The game’s presentation is definitely one of the ways the game stands out (that’s not frustrating). The environments feature beautifully gothic settings and are appropriately dark and creepy, borderline Silent Hill-esque. But with dark and drab environments, sometimes enemies get lost in the background and you won’t be able to see them clearly either up close or before it’s too late. The game’s creepy score lends itself perfectly to the gothic atmosphere giving the game a perfect ambiance.
You know what? I get it. I get what From Software tried to do but Bloodborne is NOT for everyone. Note that each review I do, I aim to be as unbiased as possible. I wanted to like it; I tried to love it. I played so much of it, but the reward has been mostly anger instead of satisfaction. With its loose controls, lack of a proper lock-on mechanism, clunky item management, constant being outnumbered and cheap attacks out of nowhere, this game is a frustrating ordeal.
If you like to actually have fun and enjoy yourself while playing a game and having a sense of accomplishing something, stay clear of Bloodborne. Otherwise, if you enjoy a severe challenge or you’ve successfully cleared out the Dark Souls series, this game is for you.
This game will punish you unmercifully. You have been warned.
- One of 2015’s best game soundtrack. Period.
- Beautiful gothic inspired locales
- Definitely not for every gamer
- Boring tutorial
- Takes a while to get into
- No locking on system
- Loose controls
- Clunky item management
Bloodborne is rated M for Mature and PEGI 18+ due to the game’s high focus on violence and blood….LOTS of blood. I’m talking like a bloodbath. Worst than Mortal Kombat. Oh I mustn’t forget: This game will make you swear, so make sure there are no young kids around.