Thursday, 19 May 2016

Review: Bloodborne

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Release Date: March 24 2015
Developer: FromSoftware
Director: Hidetaka Miyazaki
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Genre: Action role-playing game

We all go through some tough times in life, every single one of us. You might have money problems, maybe relationship problems. For me, Bloodborne was my tough time, my problem, the bane of my existence at some times but anyways let me elaborate on that. Here’s my Bloodborne review.

Reviewing a game that’s been out for over a year and has been reviewed to death? You’re probably wondering do I even expect this review to be taken seriously and my answer is “nope but I’m gonna write it anyway.” Bloodborne, an action-roleplaying angsty identical twin to FromSoftware’s “Souls” franchise with a face tattoo and some nipple piercings was released on March 24th 2015 and I’ve refused to play it until recently. The reason being is that I like relaxing and having a nice leisurely stroll through a game with as little challenge as possible. Damn, do I love that. Bloodborne, however, is the complete opposite of that and having never played, or even watched gameplay of a “Souls” game, I was way out of my depth but I loved it.

I’ll keep spoilers to as much of a minimum as possible. Right off the bat this game freaked me out but I was intrigued. I wanted to know what in the world was going on in this eerie, pre industrial London looking place the game is set in. For such a dark, brooding, grotesquery filled blood orgy this game is so much fun! I died a lot but I suppose that’s the whole idea of the game. Cleave some angry townsfolk down, earn blood echoes, (the game’s currency) upgrade your character and their weapons, fight a boss that’s at least ten times the size of you and so on and so forth. Do all this while dying a lot. Also, when you die, the enemy that killed you usually takes your blood echoes. A royal pain although something as simple as that made me go all the way back through an area littered with bad guys I’ve already killed just to murder that one son of a beast that took my blood echoes. ‘Ave it!
The upgrade system is something I got a lot of fun out of. You could clear an area and have a couple thousand blood echoes and decide to go and upgrade your character, get back to the upgrade screen (which is accessed through talking to a creepy, soft spoken doll) then draw a blank. Do you want a bigger hit point pool or do you want higher strength to kill enemies a bit easier? Maybe you should upgrade your Bloodtinge because you want your pistol to do more damage. I found myself questioning my upgrade choices every time I went to that menu but it made me want to keep getting all them blood echoes and going right back to that upgrade menu. The weapon upgrade system is fairly similar although it costs a lot less blood echoes to upgrade a weapon but you will need items such as blood shards and blood chunks. Yep, pretty much everything in this game has the word “blood” in it…Fitting to say the least.

The controls took a bit of getting used to. Both shoulder buttons and triggers play a part in your attacks and the face buttons are used for healing yourself, using an item from your quick select menu, jumping or dodging. Speaking of dodging, learn to live with it and you’ll learn to love it because there’s no block command per se, although you can parry with a well-timed gunshot to the mush of your enemy as they’re just about to attack you. Once you get the parry down it’s mighty fun to use.
I thought the gameplay was relatively smooth. I never encountered any game-breaking bugs or serious frame rate issues, some slight issues here and there but nothing that major that turned me off the game. The fast paced combat was something i really enjoyed, even though I cursed it a hell of a lot when I was being combo’d to death by a lesser enemy carrying a torch…it happens, man! You find yourself jumping back and striking more often than not but occasionally you’ll be switching tactics on the fly and taking a lot more time to kill a beast. The co-op in the game is one of the coolest features. Ring a little bell and call in a buddy to help you out in a particularly challenging area or during a boss fight, it really can be a much needed helping hand.

Graphics wise Bloodborne is nothing spectacular. Textures are muddy for the most part, characters’ mouths don’t move when they talk apart from during the cutscenes. Overall not a visually impressive game. I will say the majority of the enemies looks fantastically disgusting and some of the areas in the game look pretty nice too. The sound on the other hand is top drawer. From the scream of the Cleric Beast to that satisfying squelch of a visceral attack every single sound in the game has it’s place and really makes Bloodborne an even more immersive and unsettling experience than it already is.

I’ll wrap this up by saying if you’re a fan of action role-playing games or you’re just looking for a game that can challenge your will not to smash your controller then give Bloodborne a shot. If you suffer from hemophobia, give this one a miss. It’s dark, moody and downright disgusting at times but as I said at the start of this review, we all go through some tough times in life and the feeling of satisfaction and joy I got from overcoming certain parts in Bloodborne really made the struggle worth it.

–  Challenging but rewarding fluent combat
   –  Fairly detailed upgrade system
   –  Brilliantly scored soundtrack
   – Enemy design

Muddy textures
    – Story can be hard to keep track of

Rating: 9/10

Warren Garry – Twitter

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