Replay Value:
Overall Rating:
Online Gameplay:
Not Rated
From Software
Number Of Players:
Release Date:
March 24, 2015

Bloodborne does just about everything right. The palpable sense of fear and tension that permeates the entire experience leaves sweat on the controller, there's unbelievable imagination and creativity behind the nightmares you face, and the combination of an immensely deep role-playing mechanic and a robust combat system is intoxicating. From an atmospheric standpoint, From Software’s latest is unparalleled. From a challenge perspective, it’s arguably the most rewarding game in existence. But from a technical standpoint – and we can’t ignore it – there are a few flaws that drop this game below the 9+ elite threshold.

As I said, this environment is rife with insanely hellish sights and sounds. It’s this ambiance that slithers inside your skull and raises the hairs on the back of your neck. No matter where you go or what you do, you’re always on edge. It’s kind of exhausting in that way and it’s almost entirely due to the developer’s fantastic vision. Now, while the textures aren’t as clean as what we saw in The Order: 1886 , and the frame rate can drop every now and then, the artistry is just amazing. Are we really going to quibble about a slightly questionable texture when we’re facing a creature that’s so beautifully crafted it’s almost a sin to be scared?

However, let me say this: From Software claims the blood in this game isn’t gratuitous. Well, I’m sorry, but I beg to differ. While it certainly adds to the brutal nature of the game, I’m fairly certain that amount of blood, gushing and spurting from every strike, is unnecessary. Saying it’s essential for the sake of the atmosphere is a stretch and one I don’t accept. I get that Japanese culture has been steeped in outrageous violence for decades (one glance at certain anime will tell you that), so maybe their jaded level is even above ours. But despite all this, you can’t deny the remarkably horrific beauty of Bloodborne ; they put a ton of work into every possible detail and that should be praised.

The sound is another high watermark for this production. The voice performances are few and far between but they’re effectively haunting and well-presented, and the soundtrack is aptly foreboding. The music does recede into the shadows a little too often but that’s a design decision. They want to make you feel alone and vulnerable and as such, they keep the soundtrack to a relative minimum. It’s the effects that grab you by the throat; it’s the sickening slash of your weapon, the crispness of flame being applied to your face, and the surrounding sounds of a dying, diseased city. Cries of despair, unknown yet terrifying growls, the unmistakable sounds of death and fear; it all creates a singularly effective environment. All of it screams, “be careful or die.”

As you might expect, there’s little to no hand-holding in such a game. You sign your contract – during which time, you create your character, which is a ridiculously in-depth process concerning both cosmetics and base statistics – and awake in a mysterious laboratory of sorts. You carefully move forward, prepared for the worst. The darkness presses in around you and then, you hear it: It’s a grisly munching of sorts and it’s just ahead. There, in a room filled with tables laden with bizarre medical equipment, is a fearsome four-legged demon, feasting on a dead body. His back is to you and you wonder what to do. Thing is, you’ve got nothing; no weapon, no shield, no armor, no spells. Can you sneak past?