Bloodborne reminds me of a chocolate Easter bunny, if the bunny were non-Euclidian in design. You'll go through entire sections of the game that feel really good and have real substance, when suddenly you'll come across parts that are just hollow. To some degree, that emptiness comes from Bloodborne lacking something that made the previous entries so memorable: whimsy.
While that may seem like a bit of an odd descriptor for the Souls series, my time in Bloodborne felt all too serious for the most part largely due the one thing the other games had in spades: a (almost ridiculous) diverse array of armor and weaponry. I couldn't help but be a little disappointed whenever an invader would enter my world - while I waited around for the Old Ones to finally find me a cooperator - and found that he/she was dressed similarly to me. Maybe not the exact same weapon and attire, but close enough. They certainly weren't going to look like a hobo with some kind of makeshift weapon pieced together from the set of Blade Runner before falling into the rabbit hole from Alice in Wonderland (as envisioned by David Lynch) before finally coming out in medieval London. Invasion can be a pain and a frustration for many players, but when "yolobonglord420" kills you while wearing the most ridiculous thing you've ever seen, you can't help but smile a little.
What makes that particular aspect stand out so much to me is that Bloodborne is the perfect kind of game where something like that could happen. There are some really crazy things to happen in the latter half of the game, so why wouldn't there be a helmet that has tentacles coming out of my face (for example), or a sword that splits in half and comes back together like a pair of scissors?
The remaining void stems from looking at the game as a whole. There are just three covenants in the game, which don't offer much in the way of rewards; the latter half of the game (which is the most interesting) feels rushed in comparison to all that came before; and NG doesn't appear to offer up anything new. While Bloodborne clearly bears many of the hallmarks of its predecessors, there was perhaps a bit too much trimmed to create a more "streamlined" game.
That being said, the world and lore of Bloodborne, as well as the action, may make it my favorite entry to date. Mileage will vary for many on how much you're into Gothic horror, but Bloodborne just about nails it. I can only hope that the Chalice Dungeons (and maybe some DLC) give Bloodborne the long legs Dark Souls has enjoyed.
Bloodborne is great, but you already know that. From Software's latest grimdark ARPG follows in the trudging armored boots of its lauded predecessors, but now it's wearing dainty little leggings. That means less armor, more guns, and so much more blood.
I found the cursed city of Yharnam to be a wonderful setting for a horrific adventure. The whole town looks like it was designed by some insane 15th century Wallachian ruler whose deepest darkest wish was to pierce the sky. It feels cruel, bleak, and beautifully foreboding. Twisted, branching pathways lead to precious items, gnarly new weapons, and a host of seen and unseen NPCs. The city streets are crowded with packs of mad townspeople and far more dangerous terrors. Level design is simply brilliant. For me, discovering a looping short cut is almost as satisfying as defeating an area's boss. Almost. As the world opens up beyond the city walls the level and enemy design remains superb.
Combat has been revamped, but I haven't yet taken proper advantage of it. Players can now equip their characters with firearms. Most guns are used to stun attacking enemies, which allows players to perform high-damage counters. These gut-wrenching attacks offer a primal sense of power...or at least, they do when I remember to use them.
For me, trick weapon combos are where it's at. The "Regain" system allows you to replenish your damaged health bar if you strike back at an enemy quickly enough. If you just want to go crazy you can wreak havoc; just watch your stamina bar. For my haphazard playstyle that's more important than HP. Transforming melee weapons add some depth to the combat, and they have kept me in the fight long after I should have been dust. I wish there were a few more of these fun little toys.
Masochistic players who have been rolling through Hidetaka Miyazaki's dark fantasies sans shield for years may not notice the lack of protection, but you will notice how the enemy lock-on changes the good, old-fashioned, overpowered quick-roll into an equally overpowered (but slightly different) quick-step. I've gotten wrecked by camera chicanery while switching between the two in several encounters.
I really dig Bloodborne, but I was frustrated by the abysmal load times, long waits to connect to friends, and poorly designed fast travel system. I would recommend it to players who are unfamiliar with From's other fantasy games, but not to those of you who have tried and already dislike Miyazaki's game direction. Good hunting.
Bloodborne is an interesting successor to the series, with some great departures from the formula. The world created by Miyazaki is haunting. From the ghastly inhabitants of Yharnam to the gothic architecture, it is a forbidding place where even the most experienced demon hunters have to tread lightly. The style of the game really shines, and not just all the different outfits you can dress your character up in. Blood spatters all over your armor after laying waste to a pack of werewolves. Little touches with the lighting and ambient noise make all the difference in a game like this.
I'll echo my co-operators here and say the combat is the most drastic change in Bloodborne and I welcome it. Exchanging shields for sidearms give a much needed change of pace to every encounter. No longer can you hide behind a shield and poke at your enemy, or use the old trick of circling around until you can backstab. The combat here is much more decisive and aggressive which also matches the ‘hunting' theme of the game. Building on the combat are the trick weapons, my favorite addition to the game. Swapping between weapon forms mid combo is satisfying and one of the coolest aspects about Bloodborne's weaponry, making up for the lack of numbers we have seen in previous installments.
Bloodborne is a really enjoyable game, and while not the most approachable game in the series it is an intelligent departure. It continues to show innovation while keeping with the heart and soul of what made games of this nature popular. The exploration, challenge, and unknown factor when playing Bloodborne is what draws me into the game, and I feel they nailed it making for an awesome solo and co-op adventure.
The Co-Op Experience: By using the Bell of Dream Summoning and Small Bell of Resonating you can play cooperatively with up to three players. The one summoning will be the host, while the other two players will be guests.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.