In the spirit of playing games when I should have been getting ready for bed, here comes a Bloodborne impression piece. For those who don't know, Bloodborne is a game very similar in it's design to the Demon/Dark Souls games. Mostly that means that, for better or worse, you will be fighting the game to learn it's systems at first. It's not a deal breaker to me, but it certainly has you moving about cautiously...which you shouldn't be doing in this game surprisingly!
Unlike the Souls games, combat here is built more on quick fighting than careful plotting or, more than likely from what I recall of those games, abusing the game's systems. Fluid combat is such a part of this game's design that you have, for but a brief few moments, the ability to regain health after you've been hit by...hitting back! You won't get everything back of course and you can still take damage as you try to attack, but the emphasis on offensive is a surprising turn for these kinds of games.
I'll be brief about the graphics, because the developer has already announced a patch, but there are some noticeable frame rate drops here and there. They don't ever seem to occur during combat, instead taking place between certain level transitions. Since we're already talking about the bad stuff, let's just get this out of the way: These load times are nuts. Sure, you expect them to take some time but you're going to be dying a lot in this game so the extra delay added by these oddly lengthy loading screens just makes it even more of a slog sometimes.
What's that? Just don't die? Oh you silly person you! This is a Souls like game, you're going to be dying all the damn time! Did you check that corner? No? You just got killed by someone you couldn't see! Did you kite (i.e. lead) that enemy away before you started fighting him? No? Welp, guess you're getting stabbed in the back by his buddies then, eh?
Sure, I'm being reductive but the most important thing I can say to anyone considering buying this game is this:
If you enjoyed the Demon's Souls/Dark Souls games, then this is your jam. Some things are different, but the basic vibe of oppression and forced adaptation to Bloodborne's systems is in full effect.
If, however, you haven't played a game like this before, what should you know?
There is no avoiding it, no way to really abolish. Death is a constant companion, a specter that will follow your character around at all times. The punishment of death in this game is Not that you died at all honestly. The punishment will always come when you realize how you perished. Why didn't you see that attack coming? You could have countered it! You know, those kinds of things. By using a system that rewards observation and planning while punishing arrogance, the game shows you what you need to do in order to live just that little bit longer, make it just that little bit further...only to die and start the cycle again. It is not a glamorous system, but you will learn it in time and feel better for it. If you hate it from that very description though, stay away: You will not like the way this game functions.
Fun fact: Not a section of this game has passed over my screen without pouring a sense of sadness and dread into my mind. The town you enter is cursed in some way, the people afflicted with some terrible malady that causes horrific mutations and mood swings. There is a beauty to it's depravity, but Do Not enter this game expecting sunshine and rainbows. Dark times, darker measures. It is a rotting and bleak place. Expect as much.
At some point during my travels around this bleak town, I found a narrow area filled with rabid dogs. They were in cages so I wasn't worried at first, but then, of course, they broke free. I was forced to flee (There were three of them alright, get off my back!) and ran headlong into a rather large man with bound hands that wanted to crush me. I managed to roll to the side...and watch him hit one of those dogs so hard that it was thrown over a fence and down the side of a cliff. There is no pause button so I actually got killed because I was laughing so hard. Was it really that funny? Perhaps not, but when a beast decides to play dog baseball, I'm gonna at least chuckle at it.
Before I ramble more than I already have though, let's get to the point of this journal, shall we?
The point is that, for all it's depressing atmosphere, Bloodborne has been a delight to play so far. I'm not very far in, about four hours actually, but it's already got it's hooks in me. The systems are odd, the combat is confusing and things aren't explained too well but, in that classic Souls game style, I'm loving it all the same.