Release date: 2015
Version played: Playstation 4 in 2017/2018
Developed by FromSoftware, and acting as a spiritual successor of sorts to Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls and Dark Souls II comes Bloodborne, the Sony exclusive action/hack and slash/RPG released in 2015. Players toke control of The Hunter, who has come to the city of Yarnham to join The Hunt, one night where all those who dare stalk the streets to slaughter anyone they believe is infected. There are numerous weapons and outfits available, the former of which change the way the Hunter can defeat their foes, and the latter of which alter character defenses. This Game of the Year Edition comes complete with the downloadable content known as The Old Hunters.
This was released before Dark Souls III, which I reviewed here.
+ the gameplay is much faster than previous Souls games, with a much higher emphasis on offense – there are no (viable) shields, and your character does not seem to be knocked around by enemy attacks quite as heavily, creating many moments where the best tactic to to stand fast and just swing at enemies. The new ‘rally’ mechanic helps immensely here, as many weapons can now restore your health, to a certain extent, after taking damage from an enemy
+ the plot of the game (and I’ll be a bit coy as to avoid any spoilers) goes from 0-100 really quick. Beasts, men and monsters roam the streets of Yarnham, the starting location, but there is so much going on beneath the surface that anyone who pays attention may get a chill up their spine. Once the title of the game became clear to me, I was blown away at how I could have missed it
+ absolutely phenomenal passive storytelling, where things like item descriptions, corpses in the overworld and overheard dialogue fills in so many blanks and answers so many questions, some of which you may not have even had yet. As mentioned, once the story shifts a bit everything you’ve previously known takes on new meanings
+ the DLC, The Old Hunters, is just the absolute best. New weapons, enemies and lore details are among the best in the entire Souls series, and some of the music in particular is indescribably amazing
+ some of the enemies in this game are just disgusting. I loved it
– a minor negative at best, but once players leave the opening area of the city streets of Yarnham, the game become very linear, almost comparable to Dark Souls III (more on Dark Souls III below). It is almost as if the opening area was intended to be much larger, but was instead condensed into a labyrinthine mess of alleyways and elevators
> in a sort of retroactive-negative for Dark Souls III, there are so many assets used in this game which were reused in the latter. These range from simple things like environment pieces, like statues, to entire enemies and their battle moves. It is almost unbelievable just how they were allowed to get away with it
Should you play this game: I scoffed at the notion of Bloodborne being a ‘must play’ for the Souls-like series: I figured that if it was only for Playstation, then the muti-platforms must be better created and more important. How wrong I was. This was an incredible experience from start to multiple-finish, and any Dark Souls fan absolutely MUST play this.