First things first, I know Bloodborne came out a while ago but I find it amazing that, even after all this time, I can still find some masochistic individuals to help me do the high level Chalice Dungeons. Bloodborne was released in North America on March 24th of last year by the famous (or infamous) FromSoftware company, better known for the Dark Souls franchise. With the upcoming Ashes of Ariandel DLC for Dark Souls III coming in fast, I decided to pick up the game that I completely overlooked at the time. It felt appropriate to get a feel for what may be FromSoftware’s next big franchise if they choose to make a sequel.
The Setting of Bloodborne
Bloodborne takes place in Yharnam, a Victorian styled city that somehow connects to supernatural realms and maybe some kind of Hell at one point. You are an unnamed Hunter that needs to kill beasts during a hunt. The whole thing is a lot less clear than Dark Souls and that should tell you something. A prominent example: you level up with a doll that you meet in a dream after you die. Your objective is to clear the Nightmare and either a) submit back to reality b) become the new overseer of the hunt. There is a very secret c) option, of course, but it basically entails eating organs in secret locations to become a god after killing one.
Let’s be honest, it’s pretty much the same as Dark Souls. The only difference is as Dark Souls somewhat encourages you to be conservative, Bloodborne wants to get in there and rip someone’s flesh off. It really promotes the aggressive play style since they introduced a new mechanic where you can get back health you lost if you hit back fast enough. You have a variety of weapons that have dual uses, some less useful than others, and a gun to parry. Also, you can’t block because there are no shields except a joke one. This game will test your patience and timing skills at dodging melee and ranged attacks from gigantic foes in very tight arenas.
There is a jump-in jump-out form of multiplayer. Unlike Dark Souls, you have a bell that you ring, activating a search for either a player to join your game or a game for you to join. Invasions work a little differently because they now require an enemy to summon you. Either by already being in an area or when summoning someone, a bell woman will appear and ring her Sinister bell. People can then ring their Sinister bell to resonate with the women to invade.
There isn’t really a big dependency on covenants, only offering a couple with special runes that players can use for buffs. On that note, there are runes that players can use for buffs. For weapons, the standard upgrades are still here but weapons can now accommodate blood gems for special effects and buffs.
The function that I found completely disconnected was the Chalice Dungeons. They are random dungeons that are accessible from chalices requiring special items to perform rituals with. The first one is obtained from an optional boss in Old Yharnam and some Chalice Dungeons are required to get some of the trophies. I found them quite annoying as I grinded my way past the initial super weaklings until my character got rammed by the easiest enemies at the later dungeons.
Bloody Good Feel
I only purchased this game recently because I am a cheap student who doesn’t like to spend 80$ for a game and managed to snatch it for about 30$. It was well worth the price. At first, the lack of blocking was quite disorienting for me since I had just finished Dark Souls 3, but it gradually came to me. I still can’t use my gun well even after perfecting the main game and getting the Platinum trophy, my dodging skills on the other hand have greatly improved. Even if it falls into the family of the Souls games, Bloodborne has a unique feel to it and a very distinct appearance. I quite enjoyed most of the looks of the enemy’s and the bosses are diverse enough between man-sized and giant dog-werewolf priestess not to get old fast.
I found myself getting attached to some of the characters even though they don’t really have a detailed story like the Doll or the Dweller of the Oedon Chapel. However, I’m still happy to report that Patches is still hated by my person as he is now a spider with a human head. At least now his physique is as appealing as his personality.
Judging by the Blood
The game is good. It boasts a new visual, keeps the interesting parts that worked on their previous projects and dabbles a bit with new mechanics. I still prefer their work on Dark Souls 3 but this is definitely a recommendation from me to anyone who likes the vague storytelling and very dynamic gameplay only FromSoftware can deliver. The characters are fleshed in an interesting way with the world. If you’re familiar with this type of game though, you know everything will take a grim turn really fast past a certain point. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bloodborne becomes the successor to Dark Souls; if they chose to make more and I would gladly give its successor a shot.
Note: As I said that I got the Platinum trophy for the game. My tip for other players is not to wait until New Game +2 to complete the high level Chalice Dungeons.