The Souls series is anything but easy; its trademark difficulty has led to countless broken controllers from hundreds of gamers. The next project from FromSoftware titled Bloodborne comes from the same mind who was the inspiration behind Demon Souls & Dark Souls. Bloodborne, a PS4 exclusive, takes place in the ancient fictional city of Yharnam. Here, the player is looking for a cure for a curse/illness that maddens those it infects and makes them almost act like shambling hollow beings that are not quite zombies but certainly no longer human. It appears that the illness also infected the other creatures lurking in this Gothic styled city, a city where the players will fight mobs of enemies and deranged creatures.
The Souls series is a Dungeon-RPG, utilizing skill points gained from leveling up to allow players to build a character play style unique to their needs. The immense difficulty is characteristic of the series and can be found in every iteration. Specifically, the placement of the enemies that are encountered is simply unfair; however, this appeals to many gamers who seek a challenging game with a steep learning curve.
From what was shown at the Tokyo Game Show this past September, Bloodborne will not depart too far from the series (Link to Video). Unlike the other Souls games, the player will no longer have a shield to hide behind which would allow players to examine their foes before attacking, speeding up the feel of the game. Now players will have to analyze their foes on the go, and decisions in combat will be more split-second than planned. But, to compensate for this change, the developers decided to make the player characters incredibly quick, far faster than previous game. This offsets the inability to block with a shield by “turtling” behind it. The new, fast-paced play style will force even veteran Souls players to adapt and change how they play the game and how they perceive these new enemies.
The players of Bloodborne will be equipped for a quite a fight: weapons revealed include lances, swords, hammers, scythes, and even a flintlock pistol of some sort. There is, however, a unique feature for some of the weapons. From gameplay revealed to the public, some weapons have shown to have shafts extends and blades folds out, allowing players to use a single weapon for multiple forms of engagement—a short shaft for close quarters and a longer one for when you are farther away. Not much is known as to how the player will be able to switch modes, but from what has been revealed from gameplay trailers, it appears to be able to function on the fly, allowing for quick transformations. This new feature will also affect how players will build their characters stats and strengths.
Another gameplay aspect that has been associated with the Souls series is the ability to summon other players in order to beat portions of the game such as a horde of tough enemies or a boss that you keep dying to. In Bloodborne, players will be able to summon other players with a bell-like item which will be heard in other player’s world. If the person who hears the bell wants to join in they will ring a smaller bell-like item and will be sent into the other player’s world. Once in the other world they can assist the host of the world with killing monsters and abominations. However if the summoned players are to die they won’t respawn in the hosts world but instead will return to their own. This form of cooperation will provide struggling players a means to conquer a challenging area in game. The feeling of beating a difficult boss or area in the Souls series is quite a triumphant feeling, especially if you have been fighting a boss for an hour or two due to the relentless difficulty.
From a graphics standpoint, Bloodborne is amazing to look at for a game, its gritty appearance juxtaposed against the Gothic style architecture provides gamers with a unique atmosphere to explore and fight in. Fighting will range from ruined streets, to infested sewers, to enormous graveyards and to other areas one would expect to find in a Renaissance-era city. The game will be in 1080p and will stay locked in at around 45FPS. This, combined with all other elements going into this game, packages it into a truly unique and innovative entry into the series as a whole. Bloodborne, in my opinion, is the first noteworthy game of this new year when it comes out on the PS4 on March 24, 2015. It will be followed by several other big game releases such as Battlefield: Hardline (which comes out the same day) and The Witcher 3 (which I will focus on later) in the month of May. Too bad it doesn’t come out before Spring Break because this will be a time consumer.