It’s been a long, adventurous, fun but difficult and frustrating journey. With 100% of the trophies achieved for Bloodborne on the PS4, I feel it’s due for a review! This game is dark, bloody, detailed and filled with action so fasten your seat belts!
To jump the gun on the opinion, this game is great. It came out March 24th, 2015 for the PS4 and at the time I had to use my roommates system to play most of it since I didn’t even have my own yet. If you liked or loved Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls or Dark Souls 2 then this game is for you. It keeps most of what you love from it’s relatives while introducing some new mechanics and concepts. This review will not include boss names or pictures, strategies, equipment suggestions or the small amount of visual plot I paid attention to so that this can stay spoiler free.
Moving on to the gameplay…
This is a large hit or miss for people. You’ll most likely hear that the game takes getting used to, the controls are made the way they are on purpose, and it adds a lot of depth if you can recognize it. Or you’ll hear that the controls are clunky and poor and is a factor for 2 dimensional combat. My opinion fits with the first, the dodging makes you feel swift and is portrayed visually well. If I remember right, there is a slight blur on yourself for the feel of speed and the camera doesn’t jerk suddenly around to keep up with you. I could digress and go into how I justify combat against those who say it’s poor, but I’ll put that into the content section since combat is a heavy factor into what this game delivers. The menus were easy to get used to with a short amount of time, and the button layout made sense. My only issue is that I didn’t have the option to allow the running jump to be mapped to R3 like in Dark Souls 2. Had to keep it on circle, which is alright but could of caused issues when I want to go from running to dodging. I ended up having very very few issues but that could of been fortunate coincidence. Controls gets a 8 out of 10.
The graphics are beautiful. A dark and grungy world full of undead and supernatural encompassed by night sky. Whether you’re looking off into the distance or admiring your current surroundings, a lot of detail was put into the game. As the word is used nearly everywhere as if it wants to make sure you noticed a point it’s trying to make, visually the blood in the game is plentiful and even dynamic. Regardless of if it’s you being gashed open or your target being slashed, the red essence spills everywhere. On the ground, on your clothes, on your weapons, on the walls, and on your enemies. One of the most satisfying and minor details is when it rains blood after defeating a boss. Another minor and maybe even humorous detail is if your clothes only covers part of your skin and you’re soaked in blood, if you remove that bloodied clothing you’ll be clean underneath aside from where blood got on your skin. They didn’t have to put that in but they did. The bosses are interesting and comprehensive, and the regions are all dark yet distinctly different from most other parts of the game. I give graphics a 10 out of 10.
The sound is great and encapsulates the actions they represent. Guns sound like guns without actually blowing your ears off, explosions give that feel of impact, stabbing and slashing is appropriate, and visceral attacks give that unique sound that triggers satisfaction when pulled off. The game’s music mostly plays during boss fights where a lot of them are great and fitting but only a few tracks are distinctly noticeable specifically because you’re too busy concentrating on trying not to die while awing at the detailed and probably elaborate beast attempting to squish you. Following that with planning your approach and other options likely elemental weaknesses and which body part to go for, only the really significant and attention grabbing themes will catch your awareness. So thus sound gets a 9 out of 10.
Some might say this game has little or no story. If you’re sticking purely to what’s visually presented to you through exploration and cutscenes, you could arguably be right. What some people don’t know is, like most of the other “Souls” games most of the story is embedded within the items flavor text. Then a fair amount is also within conversing with the NPCs, though this time I believe less so than the previous games. I did not pay much attention to the flavor text of the items if they didn’t catch my eye in the first 10 words, and the NPCs spoke in such vague dramatics that I only have a rough idea of what the story told. It’s interesting enough albeit weird. Anyways I give the story a 4/10 since it feels optional and if you choose to follow it, it might not be easy to understand. That’s all before judging whether it’s good or not.
Picking up where the controls left off on combat, I’ll start off with what makes combat dynamic and immersive. While the negative outlook will say it’s only about wait, dodge and hit, here’s my finer details. The basis behind everything is timing and finesse. Knowing when and what direction to evasive dodge or engaging dodge. Whether to use a quick stab, slower cleave, or a well positioned and timed charged attack. Judging if you need to shoot to interrupt an enemy who is too far and healing or you’re just unsure on where to dodge for whichever reason because maybe you don’t recognize the ‘tell’ or attack animation. Of course, you could take the more technical route and shoot for visceral attack chances which requires precise timing to pull off. Knowing when and where to heal to cover your mistakes, since no one likes to die when trying to fix dying. Deciding if your current weapon stance or weapon in general is the optimal one is another dynamic choice you can make. If that isn’t enough, you could add some of those weird spells you get later to mix things up.
There are lots of places to explore, many of them optional. You’ll probably miss some of them unless you decide to use a guide of some sort. Whether you feel you want a genuine experience of self discovery or you want to witness all the game has to offer is a choice you’ll have to make. The same goes for weapons and armor available in the game. You won’t be spoon fed everything and sometimes exploring a side path turns out to be extremely dangerous. There are also “craftable” side dungeons, which requires items to gain access to. Some of them are per-designed but there are randomly generated ones too when using the proper base item. On the closing point, there will be times where you ask yourself, “Where do I go?” or state “I’m so lost”. Some may feel this is poor game design but for those who appreciate what this gives, in return it means: no hand holding, encouraging exploration and elaborates how much content there really is. Content gets a 9/10, shy of 10 because I felt Dark Souls 2 was a fairly larger world.
Controls - 8/10
Graphics - 10/10
Sound - 9/10
Story - 4/10
Content - 9/10
User Review( votes)
An amazing game leaving you wanting more
The controls are great although always debatable. The graphics are amazing and I would ask for nothing more. The sound is great although some bosses could use a stronger sound track. The story isn’t forced on your so many will say it’s non-existent. The content is plentiful and much is optional, unfortunately for a game like this you’ll likely want more after you’ve explored everything. Here’s hoping for DLC. If you have a PS4 and you like a challenging hack and slash game, definitely pick this up.
If you want to see some gameplay, I have a fair amount of boss fights and a couple of non-boss fight videos of Bloodborne on my Youtube channel. So in regards to bosses and spoilers, obligatory spoiler warning on the link below.