Disclaimer- Since I was not a Souls fan before playing Bloodborne, I didn’t complete any of the other games in the franchise. I haven’t completed Bloodborne as well, but after 20 hours of adrenaline filled experience and some really heart racing events I thought I should express my feelings about the first third of the game, because honestly I am in love with it.
I recently got a PS4 Slim specifically for Persona 5, Nioh and Horizon: Zero Dawn which were some of my most anticipated games of the year 2017. While I did want to get all of them at once, considering that all of them had already released, I had a face off against the toughest boss for all gamers, specially in 2017- BUDGET.
I was at a loss of funds for the games, but due to a sweet deal on Flipkart (An Indian Online store; for foreign readers), I got a discount of INR 3000 (~45$) on the Horizon: Zero Dawn bundle and had the budget for a good ‘not-so-new’ game. Without any second thought I got Bloodborne GOTY Edition because it was available for 1900 (~30$), even though I felt I wouldn’t get my money’s worth because of not being able to play it. After all, my past run ins with the Souls series of games (DS1 and 2) were not so pleasant and ended abruptly without much progress due to not being able to ‘Git Gud’.
I started Bloodborne a few days ago and while it took some time to click, I am positively addicted to it at this point of time. I had to restart the game 2 times without much progress because I was not aware of the many untold mechanics, but after a good 6 hours of being halted by combat alone, I was finally able to get into the game. Below I describe on how the game impressed me and how it might as well be in my “Best Game of The Generation” alongside The Witcher 3 and Nier: Automata (I am probably going to add Persona 5 and Nioh in best of the generation as well once I get to play them).
It is one of the few games this generation that had me twiddling my thumbs wanting to play the game whenever I was away from it. I wanted to return to it’s dark grim world, get trashed, keep banging my head against a wall and have that feeling of utmost satisfaction as I struck off the last bit of health from a boss.
First of all, you must be wondering- The most beautiful game this gen? It’s not a technical masterpiece. Sure it looks great, but the most beautiful? And to that I would definitely say yes. It’s not necessary to have technical brilliance to look good in my opinion, a great art style will most likely trump technical visual brilliance. Add to that one of the smoothest, most satisfying melee combat (Yes, in my why Witcher 3 is my personal favorite game of all time article I did mention that Souls games didn’t have good combat, but I’ll have to take that back, it’s great.), exploratory yet subtle storytelling and a living and breathing world, I guess that makes for a highly immersive, beautiful world.
The combat in Bloodborne is just too delicious, provided you get into it.
The combat is fast paced, brutal and punishes you for every mistake you make. I personally think it is a more forgiving system than Dark Souls, but it still requires a considerable amount of patience & strategy and definitely isn’t for casuals. There might be an ambush around any corner, so twitch reflexes can take you a long way into the game.
Bloodborne is also one of the few modern day games where boss battles are a test of the skills and “not just enemies who have eaten up 4 times the Mars bars than regular grunts”. I have just defeated the Witch of Hemwick and while she was the easiest among the 5, Father Gascoigne and The Blood Thirsty Beast were pretty challenging. If I were to describe the first 4 boss battles in one word, it would be- BREATHTAKING. The best part about these fights is that there are no QTEs or contextual button pressing, it’s pretty much a mano-a-mano battle to the death. I noticed this while fighting Vicar Amelia, where she fell down and then I could do additional damage if I attacked near her face while she was down. Letting the player discover it and not blatantly putting an “Attack” button on screen while she was down impressed me a lot considering most games just tell you what to do these days.
The next most striking feature about Bloodborne for any player will have to be the intricacy in level design. Each and every inch of the world is filled with something meaningful, be it a quest, an item or a completely different path that might lead up to an optional boss. The way levels intra-link into themselves really makes you feel like you are a part of the world. On a side note, the music tracks that play during the boss fights are SIMPLY FANTASTIC.
In my playthrough, I encountered Father Gascoigne before the Cleric, because I was not able to get past 2 werewolves on the bridge that led to the cleric. Now later in a chat with a friend, I came to know that Father Gascoigne was actually the second boss, to which my jaw dropped for obvious reasons.
In the world of Bloodborne, every NPC and every key item contributed to me getting to know more about the world, and being compact in nature, I didn’t feel like there was padding at all. Every time I ran into a dead end, I would go:
“Oh a dead end *Heavy sigh*, let’s try another one of the 50 paths that I saw on my way here”.
Then there are the “Eureka” moments. If you see a locked gate anywhere, you can be pretty sure taking one of the alternate paths will land you right behind the gate/door. It’s always surprising how seemingly non related paths converge into each other.
Bloodborne has a world filled with tension and with danger lurking around every corner, I always had to think 10 times before going forward. Of course curiosity got the better of me every time, but it was pretty fun to explore the world. Exploration is equally challenging and rewarding, so straying away from the beaten path is always a great idea.
Personally I have fallen in love with Bloodborne in the short amount of time I have played it and just like Nier: Automata made me get into hack n slash games, I am positive that Bloodborne will get me into the Souls games. It’s not the graphics or the technical aspects that make this game beautiful, but the various elements inside the game, the art direction , highly interactive and the smooth gameplay that makes the game, not just beautiful, but a pleasure to play as well. This was a short article because I have only completed about 30% of the game, but once I complete it, I would surely want to do a highly detailed article on how the overall game is. As I said, Bloodborne is one of the best games this gen and I am going to remember it for a long long time to come.