Bloodborne | From Software
BLOODBORNE: A RETROSPECTIVE
Travelling back to Yharnam
Playstation Plus has recently been stepping up their game with some good inclusions as part of their free releases for the month. March 2018 seems to be a special month due to the fact that Bloodborne is being included as part of the free monthly games for PlayStation Plus. Bloodborne is turning 3 in 2018 and the game still holds up till this very day. Plenty of hunters journey day in and day out into the town of Yharnam to cure the affliction. We decided to go back and take a look at one of the best, if not THE best exclusive on the PlayStation 4.
I want to start this retrospective by first saying, my experience with the souls games are absolutely zero, nada, zilch. I have obviously heard about them but the settings those games were taking place in for some reason did not do anything for me, so I was going into Bloodborne as cold as can be. Here comes Bloodborne for the Plastation 4 in the spring of 2015. Even when it came out there did not seem to be a major buzz, at least that I remember. Then gradually after a few weeks the internet was awake and it seemed like everyone was talking about Bloodborne. The town of Yharnam called my name, little did I know the nightmare that awaited me.
Let's begin by getting something out of the way, you will die, a lot. You must accept this if want to be successful. You begin the game with one weapon and no directions on what to do. And most likely you will die against your first enemy encounter. Players will gain access to a variety of weapon types, swords, hammers, blades and even a wheel, yes a wheel. Every weapon has two modes, a light attack and a heavy attack. Some weapons can even transform mid combo which can lead to some interesting combat. I simply used the Ax that turned into a bigger ax and Ludwigs Holy Blade for the entire game, which is a rapier sword that transforms into a.........bigger sword when sheathed. You can also add blood gems which give certain attributes to weapons. The combat is fast but unforgiving, the simple grunts if underestimated will still finish off a high level player. Dodging, locking on and parrying are the essential moves that you must master to vanquish your foes. A well timed dodge can bring you from getting a blade to the face to being behind the enemy and dealing critical damage. Parrying as well is essential, especially with enemies later in the game.
The story telling in Bloodborne is as deep or light as you want. Its all there if you want to go further. Bloodborne does have cut scenes but few and far between. The story is in the description of the items, or the NPC's giving out little tidbits of information. As a new comer to the souls games I appreciated this way of storytelling, it felt fresh to me. The world of Bloodborne is really dark and
melancholy. It's an old Victorian London setting, with monsters and demons everywhere.
I usually don't play games for any type of accomplishment, but after some of the harder boss battles and finishing the game. I truly felt like I had accomplished something, I know many people could not. The blood starved beast was for some reason the most difficult for me. And I almost had to rage quit the game because of it. From finding a lantern just in time, to downing a boss after hours of it tearing you apart. The challenge was appreciated, from a guy who grew up with The Nintendo-style difficulty. After persistence, grinding and some luck, please do not give up if you have reached a wall. The night has begun again.
Danger lurks in every corner.
Bloodborne | From Software
The Announcement: Unleash the Beast
What many people might not know is that during its first initial teaser trailer, the game was presented as "Project Beast." The 1 minute trailer showed us an early look at what was to become Bloodborne. Dark corridors, torches and pitchforks were the order of the day and we couldn't wait to see what this game had to offer. The game looked dark, menacing and brutal which was normal for a FROM Software game. Instead of giving us a medieval setting, we were given a setting that looked much like old Victorian London.
As time passed we got little glimpses here and there of what the game was shaping out to be. Many gamers began to compare it to the Dark Souls series, and in a sense, they were right. The formula looked exactly the same and some, including myself, brushed it off. Now thinking back on the game, I was never a huge fan of the Dark Soul series. Maybe it was the difficulty, its minimalistic plot, or maybe it was the setting, but after completing the original Dark Souls I was ready to move on from my trip into Lordran. Sure the game was difficult but I was able to complete it with a bit of trial and error. But I don't think anyone was ready for what Bloodborne was going to offer, I sure wasn't.
The Build Up: The Sleeping Giant
As the months came and went, I completely forgot about Bloodborne. Sure there was plenty of trailers out there but I was deep into Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls and Destiny. To be honest, Bloodborne was the last game on my mind. And then, almost as if it was destined by the gaming gods, a series of events led me to Bloodborne.
I had just pre-ordered Batman: Arkham Knight, this came right as I was shifting my views on pre-ordering games, but I went ahead anyway with the pre-order. Then I saw something that really bothered me. There was news that Warner Brothers and Rocksteady were splicing up the pre-order content to different retailers. Anybody who knows me knows how I feel about pre-orders and pre-order bonuses. There were some news reports even going as far as saying that the content was already developed and that WB Games were splicing up the content just to charge us more money. I wasn't going to support this shady business practice, so I decided to run to GameStop as fast as possible and cancel my pre-order. By this time Bloodborne had already been out for about a week so I was more than happy to but my money towards this new IP...and I'm glad that I did.
Welcome to Yharnam
I honestly thought that I knew what to expect with Bloodborne. But as I loaded the game, I felt something different, something that I have not experienced with any other game. Upon waking up in Iosefka's Clinic, you were given very little direction as to what to do next. The only context you had was stories of travelers making the journey to the city seeking the remedy to cure their affliction. Thus your journey into the darkness began. From the first moment you slowly and painstakingly open up the gates to Yharnam, you can't help but think to yourself "I'm going to experience some S***." And From Software delivered on that first initial feeling because the experience was unlike anything offered in modern gaming.
The first thing I noticed while venturing into Yharnam was the lack of any real objective marker. I had no clue where to go or what to do. I thought this was going to really bother me but to my surprise it was the complete opposite. This was something that was rare in a video game because we are always used to the developer holding our hands throughout our quest. Having the restrictions completely lifted allowing us to explore Yharnam added to Bloodborne's charm.
Watch Your Step
Also, giving the players complete freedom makes for a much more treacherous experience. Every inch of Yharnam posed an immediate threat. Whether it be traps or enemies, many hunters left little tips on what was to come but sometimes it wasn't enough. Even the low level enemies can easily take you out, leaving a constant reminder that no hunter is safe. If you managed to make it thought the traps and enemies, you were then pitted up against a boss that would always make quick work of you. It was always a game of chess with the bosses and just as I thought as I had the upper hand, I was reminded that no hunter is safe.
I'd have to say that upon completion of Bloodborne, I had a sense of accomplishment. I even went as far as releasing a satisfactory whew as the credits rolled. Also I was able to collect the 3 umbilical cords for the real ending. Although, I still feel that the Blood-Starved Beast was the most difficult boss in the game and I know that topic is up for debate.
Bloodborne: A Game of Brutal Trial and Error
I still feel that Bloodborne is considered to be the hardest game on the PlayStation 4, at least the most difficult for me. A game that flew significantly under the radar only to show me what it felt like to be taken advantage of. It's going to be real difficult for From Software to recapture the magic of stepping into Yharnam for the first time but I feel that they are up for the challenge. As for now I know many players are going to return and take up the mantle of hunter once again. For many, like myself, it will be a journey worth taking all over again.
So will you be taking the journey into Yharnam? Let us know in the comments below:
Here's some ideas on how it could.
A Fight for Survival.