From Software introduced us to the genre now known as ‘souls like’ with their titles Demons/Dark Souls. After a few imitations and more twists on the idea being released by other companies, they return to set the bar even higher with Bloodborne.
Even for experienced souls players, this game is a challenge. Faster paced combat with a heavy emphasis on attack over defence tests the skills of veterans and newcomers alike. Bloodborne is much more than a challenging game though, it is an example of one of ingenious level design; the majority of the in game world is one you can run from one end to the other. Shortcuts are overwhelmingly pleasing to find and to progress for 10 or so hours to find that the path links back to familiar, early areas makes the world so much more immersive.
The now traditionally obtuse storytelling is back, players need to read item descriptions for a clearer understanding of what is going on in the world. Expect to be backtracking and stumped if you are playing without a guide as actions ranging from defeating a boss to simply obtaining an item can unlock entire new areas without any indication that they have done so.
The new additions, the procedurally generated Chalice Dungeons were a nice touch, but represent the only (minor) low point of the game.
They become very repetitive as they frequently need ‘farming’ to unlock further progress. Other than that, this is the best AAA console exclusive this generation.
By Ants Ambridge