Reviews// Bloodborne

Posted 10 Apr 2015 11:06 by
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Parrying is something some Souls players never really bother to learn. For me it was the last skill that I mastered in Dark Souls and saw me take on the final boss with ease. Here it?s essential. It?s been loosened up, allowing you more of a window to knock back an attack and counter with a hard hitting move and has been a life saver for me more than once.

In order to fire, though, you need bullets. These have the same rules as Vials, meaning more farming is needed if you make them prominent in your play. You can, however, choose to sacrifice some health to gain bullets by hitting up on the D-Pad and although that?s pretty much a straight swap for a blood vial, the health system still applies, meaning that you can steal lost health back with a perfectly timed sacrifice.

The arsenal of weaponry on offer has been vastly reduced this time out too, which may upset some players who enjoyed experimenting. The weapons on offer, though, are far more interesting than have been offered in the past.

Take my faithful threaded cane for example. In its natural state it works exactly like a sword, but with a hit of L1 your character snaps it in front you and it converts into a whip. This is then used to put space between you and your enemy and can attack more foes at one time.

It introduces a more tactical approach to dangerous situations. No longer are you trying to bait out one enemy at a time because your weapon can now deal with groups, and when the weapons conversion can be mixed into a combo, a quick switch becomes part of a devastating attack.

Most of Bloodborne?s changes to the Souls formula are arguably an improvement (or at worst bearable) but there?s one change that I simply can?t get on board with.

One of the most confusing concepts in Dark Souls is the Humanity system. When you?re in the game and understand it, it?s pretty straight forward. But explaining it to someone who?s just starting out is a nightmare. In simple terms Humanity let you summon help from NPCs or online players. This came at a risk though as it also meant that you were open to attack.

In Bloodborne Humanity has been replaced with Insight. Insight serves the same purpose but the game it more liberal with handing it to you. Not so much because it wants you to co-operate - although that?s part of it - but also because your Insight level changes the game.

This is something that is still a bit of a mystery to me. I?ve heard various theories like the higher your insight the harder the game is and it appears that that is the case. But what significance does that have and what else does it do to the game that we?re not aware of?

It serves to add to the deep lore that sits beneath the game?s surface. Something that might not be fully understood for a while. Either that or I?m hanging out with idiots that don?t know how the fucking game works.

It?s the summoning mechanic that I don?t like, though. To summon you must ring a bell at the cost of one insight. This removes the tension of trying to make it to a boss as a human. Now you can save your insight until you?re outside of a boss?s lair before calling for help, and at this moment in time it?s almost too flaky to bother with.

When it works, it?s great. But I?ve found it to be really hit and miss. Sometimes you?ll ring the bell and the game just won't respond. Turn off your PS4 and that insight is gone. Other times I?ve been booted to the main menu and lost insight that way.

Teething problems are to be expected though, so I can?t stay mad and I have a theory that this problem I?ve experienced is down to the PS4?s new suspended/resume application system that has recently been introduced, more than the game itself. Either way, I hope it?s sorted soon.

What I love most about From Software?s games above all else, though, is the insanely detailed and perfectly designed maps. There is nothing quite like setting off on a long journey, finding yourself within an inch of death before unlocking a shortcut back to where you started. The perfect way to end a nighttime session before bed.

The areas you explore kind of remind me of Back to the Future II. Stay with me here, I know I sound insane. You know how in Back to the Future II you find yourself looking at familiar scenes from a different perspective? You see Marty staring at something he?s seen in the past from another position. You remember his surroundings and your mind pings as you think ?Oh shit, I know where he is?? Yeah that?s Bloodborne?s map design.

It?s full of those moments. Full of deja-vu. You look over the edge of a bridge you?re standing on to see enemies walking around that you?ve taken down in a previous life. The whole world is expertly designed to make you feel as though you?re travelling for miles while keeping you in the same area, and you?ll get goosebumps when the world is slowly pieced together in your mind.

In fact the design as a whole is wonderful. From the Victorian architecture of Central Yahrnam to the way the bosses and enemies act to reflect their design. If one dude has a huge right arm then you can fully expect him to be leading his attacks with it. If you see a small drop down a tower, you?ll be able to take a leap of faith to find new treasures and horrors in equal measures.

I could go on and on about what makes Bloodborne so special. When I said I didn?t know where to start when reviewing this game, I meant it. But once I?ve started you?ll wish I never did because I could sit and talk about this game until my throat is sore or my fingers cramp up.

Is it as good as Dark Souls? Well, probably not. However you have to consider how special that game is. We?re talking about one of the best games of its generation and up there with the best games of all time, so don?t judge Bloodborne against it. And at this moment in time we don?t fully know the amount of world building that?s on offer.

Instead take it for what it is. It?s the first game of this generation that feels special. It?s filled with more incredible ideas than almost all the games on the PS4 has put together and even if you haven?t enjoyed Miyazaki?s games before maybe it?s time for you to give this a try. It might not convert you, but you?d be pretty detached from the medium for it not to impress you.

This is essential gaming, and something that should be played by anyone that wants to see what this hobby has to offer.

Pros:
-Level Design
-Atmosphere
-The sheer amount of depth

Cons:
-Farming
-Summoning Issues

SPOnG Score: 10/10
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