Bloodborne is easily one of the most thrilling and rewarding experiences out there. At its heart, it’s a miasma of obscurity. Players are catapulted into a chaotic world free of proper direction or guidance.
We wander seemingly aimless through terrifying alleyways and forests with little clue on navigation and even less on what comes next.
Players were continually stepping into treacherous new areas, only to fall face-first into smoldering pits of darkness, surrounded by deadly fiends crawling out of the wood-works, or in this case Gothic masonry.
This is what makes Bloodborne so wonderful, you never know what to expect, and never know just what the hell you are getting yourself into.
Everything is cloaked in mystery; characters, enemies, environments and the plot are just one big murky swamp we love swimming in.
Bloodborne is hard. How hard, you may ask? Let me put it this way: I didn’t think I was going to make it through the first stage. I was immediately faced with a brick wall of adversity, one I didn’t think I’d ever smash my way through.
Just fighting the most basic group of creeps was like trying to exorcise the Devil from someone using a YouTube video of a dog drinking water.
Few things have made me curse loudly in aggravated bitterness so frequently. Making such sweaty progress only to be drop-kicked back to the last checkpoint clocked about an hour ago is magnificently endearing.
The potion FromSoftware concocted made from despairing degradation and jubilant triumph makes for some interesting psychology.
The finely-tuned reflexes and systematic button-tapping required for this fluid foray can be a bitter pill to swallow for those unfamiliar with Souls games, but once digested, the game becomes a constant flow of garish exhilaration.
It was absolute bliss turning the tide on my tormentors, realizing that I could play this game! Maybe I’d even play it again on ‘New Game +’ (The same game, just much harder).
Playing Bloodborne is like being transported into Edo Japan and becoming Miyamoto Musashi’s apprentice.
At first, he constantly beats you with a log for your piggish ineptitude, but in time you are meditating side-by-side under a waterfall, the crashing logs harmlessly splintering off your scalp.
In no time, however, you are magically reduced back into a chubby good-for-nothing and have to repeat the whole process again, and again, and again – pure, unadulterated joy.
I experienced such ominous despair whenever I sensed a boss-fight was about to begin.
My heart sank and the hairs stood up on my arms whenever a colossal hellion skulked out of the shadows, knowing I’d be spending hours turning into days hacking at it.
One particular boss, Vicar Amelia, probably earned me the highest amount of retries I’ve spent on any boss in any game, ever.
Granted I was still pretty green to Souls games at the time – this foray was just complete insanity.
Eventually, I managed to crush her though, and I jumped for joy. This sense of jubilation is rarely felt in many games; it’s the same feeling as finishing a lengthy raid or disarming the bomb surrounded by unaware enemies.
The boss fights are just complete savage adrenaline.
Sure, you spend a good amount of time on your knees, but once you find your way forwards and implement a sound strategy, the sense of competence produces complete elation.
Story-wise, the game centers around a gothic town called Yharnam besieged by a mysterious and devastating curse that has driven its population insane, and worse. People are starting to mutate into ghastly monsters, the few sane and unchanged individuals cowering in the shelter of their homes.
You play as a hunter, a skilled member of a syndicate tasked with eliminating such abominations, tasked with entering Yharnam and bringing bloody order to a place gone to hell.
Yharnam’s gloomy streets and cathedrals are just the beginning of your quest, as you plough your way through forests, universities and more mystical locations. You will soon begin piecing together a story entailing a damning thirst for power and knowledge that turns humans into the unspeakable.
Bloodborne is an absolute treat for newcomers and veterans to FromSoftware’s punishing trials. Its hasty make-or-break nature is a fantastic change from Dark Soul’s more sludgy clunking.