Bloodborne is just one of those games that can’t get off of anyone’s lips. Anyone who is remotely interested in Action RPGs has heard of From Software’s notoriously brutal and gothic title. As a slight departure from the Dark Souls series, Bloodborne instead puts us in a Victorian Gothic setting based in the city of Yharnam, where a blood infection has plagued the entire population, turning them mindless and into beasts.
From its setting, we also find that Bloodborne’s aesthetic differs wildly from Dark Souls. Gone are the myriad monsters and dragons, here we find a much bleaker aesthetic direction, with unrelenting hues of purple and red peppering the game’s colour palette. This darkness and shift in art direction also informed its difficulty. Bloodborne is not an easy game to play, like the Action RPGs directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki before it, Bloodborne doesn’t hold your hand. You’re left to your own devices to explore this oppressive world on your own.
Bloodborne’s robust combat system is probably one of the best we’ve seen in years, this fast-yet-precise approach to combat has your character dashing, slashing and shooting your way through the nightmarish creatures that you’re faced up against. Adding to this combat is a variety of forms for your weapons, which is not too dissimilar to the Switch Axe or Charge Blade in Monster Hunter that turn your weapon into something else and give you a new moveset. This tight and limited approach to design gives Bloodborne more depth and makes it harder to master simply due to each weapon feeling completely different.
Another unique feature of the game is it’s ‘regain’ system, which allows you to regain health after a limited period of time after they attacked you, this encourages an aggressive playstyle against your enemies and creates heart-stopping situations of tension and fear.
Bloodborne’s strongest asset is the secrets within the game, without spoiling it for new players, the game has a variety of tricks up its sleeve that is sure to subvert your expectations, particularly with how the mechanic of ‘Insight’ is used both as a method of online play, but also serves a more hidden, deeper mechanic in the game’s world- I’ll leave the discovery of exactly what that might be to you.
From the combat, lore, monster design, art direction and pretty much all the elements that tie it together, Bloodborne is a triumph of Game design and deserves to be lauded for its staggering achievement in creating such a tight and cohesive game.