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Bloodborne Review

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Graphics:

 

9.2

Gameplay:

 

8.7

Sound:

 

8.9

Control:

 

8.3

Replay Value:

 

8.5

Overall Rating:       8.8

 

 

Online Gameplay:

Not Rated

Publisher:

SCEA

Developer:

From Software

Number Of Players:

1-5

Genre:

Action/RPG

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?

No, not really, and death is inevitable. But in the land of the dead, the Hunter’s Dream, you’re gifted your first weapons. You also come across a series of notes explaining the basic controls, which is the only help you’ll get before you set off in Yharnam. The city is a sprawling maze, littered with crumbling buildings and beset by horrid beasts. You find that some of them are human but just about anything moving is out to kill you, so you tread carefully. As you do so, you take time to smell the roses. …okay, there aren’t any roses left but you do start to appreciate what Yharnam must’ve been in its healthy heyday. Gorgeous architecture blends with a stirring sense of power and progress. It’s all the creepier knowing that such a city could fall to ruin and despair.

If you’re familiar with the game’s predecessors (Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls), you know you’re in for a stiff challenge. You know that death lurks around every corner and chances are, you’re going to die quite a bit. And when you die, you don’t merely start at a checkpoint as if nothing had happened. You lose your acquired Blood Echoes (the game’s currency) and of course, if you used any items before your death, those are gone as well. The big difference here is that in previous From Software games, you simply had to reach your Bloodstain to retrieve what was lost. In Bloodborne, you actually have to kill the beast that took you down, which can be much more difficult.

It’s this knowledge that keeps you moving slowly and methodically. If you see something you’re fairly certain will kick your ass, you feel the urge to retreat to the Hunter’s Dream and spend your hard-earned Echoes, lest you lose them. Obviously, the farther you go and the more enemies you kill, the more Blood Echoes you earn. But with each step comes the distinct possibility of losing them all and herein lies the game’s hardcore appeal. Additionally, don’t forget that beneath all that blood and aside from all the real-time encounters, there’s a hugely detailed role-playing mechanic that drives it all forward. You need to pay attention to your stats if you want to survive; they dictate your overall ability.

The rest falls on your shoulders. How you deal with the enemies around you is up to you, and you’ll soon devise various strategies. You’ll start hording Molotov Cocktails for especially tough foes, for example, and the transformation of your weapon is critical. The game took a lot of flak for a lack of different weapons, and the developers explained that weapon transformations were more than enough. I’m inclined to agree with that, because these transformations can drastically alter your combat style and effectiveness. For instance, after selecting the axe to start, I found that I could change it to a longer two-handled version, which offered a wider attack arc and more power. Given all the possibilities, I don’t think we needed more base weapons. Oh, and one quick note: The load times are too long, especially in a game where you die so often.

The only part of the game that has received significant criticism is the control. Unfortunately, while I wouldn’t call the combat “slow” or “clunky” – two adjectives that don’t really fit – I would say there are definite problems. First up is the camera, which once again sits much too close to the action. It greatly hampers visibility and very often results in worsening already compromising situations. If they had simply pulled back just a little, the entire experience would’ve been better. The control isn’t quite fluid enough to support a free-wheeling approach where you don’t lock on; and when you’re locked on, you see basically nothing besides the intended enemy. I’m constantly forced to look around, which isn’t a good idea when beset by multiple opponents.

One could argue that this merely amps up the challenge. But the game is hard enough and besides, a mechanical issue is a flaw and nothing more. The camera isn’t very good and the control isn’t perfect. These are just facts. Now, how you deal with these drawbacks is another matter altogether; some players won’t mind in the least, while others will find them extremely irritating. This ongoing trend of having cameras that sit much too close is getting tiresome; obviously, it’s for the sake of a more visceral, personal virtual experience. But it’s a trade-off. You’re sacrificing control and visibility and I’m just not okay with that. If a certain percentage of my deaths can’t be directly attributed to my own ability (or lack thereof), it’s a problem.

I can’t decide if I like one particular element of the combat, which involves striking enemies immediately after getting hit. Doing so restores some of your lost health and obviously encourages you to retaliate as soon as possible. On the one hand, I think it’s another great gamble in a game full of gambles. Do you dive back into the fray immediately to get some health back, or do you retreat and use a Blood Vial to ensure survival? On the other hand, I think it’s actually encouraging something that is very much against the tone of the game. Only the cautious survive; the rash and impulsive die fast and often gruesome deaths. Going after an enemy that just struck you often seems rash; it doesn’t feel courageous and at the very least, it’s risky.

However, I can’t say it’s a universal negative because it’s a flawlessly implemented feature. Whether or not I like it is mostly irrelevant. As for the rest of the game, it really is immensely rewarding if you’re willing to buckle down and learn. The diligent and tactful will come away with relieved smiles on their faces, and I can always appreciate that. Taking down your first boss will get you hooked, while making a small mistake that results in death will infuriate you. It’s this ceaseless rollercoaster of ups and downs – and a few loops – that keeps you coming back for more. As for the narrative, it’s an endless argument: Does various lore, scattered throughout the world, and a handful of NPCs with bits of story to tell, comprise a solid narrative? Or does this lack of linearity have a negative impact?

I’m in the latter camp, as most of you are aware, but this is all about the gameplay. It really is. The atmosphere and combat is the focal point and as such, the story and characters take a back seat. I don’t see any trouble with this approach, as the game is consistent in its message. It doesn’t try to present itself as a story-driven adventure and it’s not apologetic about that. It knows precisely what it is and strives to excel in every possible way. And in fact, Bloodborne does indeed excel in almost every conceivable category. With the exception of what I consider obvious control and camera issues, it’s one of the most impressive, immersive, and well-produced games of the generation thus far. Do you dare?

The Good: Exceedingly well-presented and highly effective atmosphere. Excellent artistic design throughout. Great ambient sound effects. Involving combination of RPG depth and fast-paced action. Transforming weapons are bad-ass. A prodigious and rewarding challenge.

The Bad: Camera is just plain poor, no matter how you slice it. Basic control isn’t exactly flawless. Loading times are too long.

The Ugly: “I see nothing but fur. …and now I’m dead again. Great."

3/26/2015 Ben Dutka

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New Comment System


Legacy Comment System (66 posts)


GeneStarwind
Thursday, March 26, 2015 @ 9:05:20 PM
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Really loving this game. My first From Software...

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Deleted User
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 12:57:23 AM

Man, I miss Outlaw Star. May have to pop the DVDs in this weekend.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 9:11:00 AM

Melfina <3

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Crabba
Thursday, March 26, 2015 @ 9:34:58 PM
Reply

I agree with your opinion that too many games are way too zoomed in for no real reason, and coming from a pc gaming background where it's simply standard practice in pretty much every single game to be able to zoom in & out yourself to whatever level you prefer has annoyed me in many games on the PS3 where I'm silently screaming to the devs 'why the HECK don't you give me the option to zoom in/out if I want to?!?!?'.

Games like Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning spring to mind as one of the worst cases I've seen of this... especially for an RPG type of game, it really doesn't make any sense to have the camera this zoomed in!

Is it really true about having to kill the enemy to retrive your souls though? I've watched some gameplay videos of this game to see how it plays and it looks like they have been able to pick up their souls sometimes without killing whatever killed them before...

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Temjin001
Thursday, March 26, 2015 @ 9:50:17 PM
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I have to say this game is rapidly growing into a favorite of mine. The depth of play is incredible. I do agree about the camera problems it can have. Not so much managing it (because it does expect you to manage it) but in situations where foreground objects are occluding your view. Like during the first boss on the bridge, there's times the cam swung to the outside and I just couldn't see much of anything.
Though I am a big fan of games with a close camera when using short range weapons predominantly. I notice some other close camera games like The Last of Us and Order 1886 offset your character to the left hand side of the screen so the center vantage point is completely visible, but that may have more to do with keeping the cross hairs centered and I don't know if that would necessarily be best here.

Anyway, I'm loving the Sawspear (it's found in the sewers hint-hint). It's my main, and as a secondary right-hand weapon I like my Axe. I didn't like the Kirkman Hammer much because it favors an overhead attack, lacking sweeps, and it's range doesn't seem as far.

Overall, the game had a definitely sore learning curve for me. It took me 3-4 hours for this thing to start blossoming into something that felt more like it's reputation. I also like that after the first boss the exploration aspect really opens up. I'm real excited to play more.

I do like that the flaws are being mentioned here because I feel they've been glossed over by many. These sort of things need to be addressed because in the end it may make the sequel better for it. 40 second load times are bad REAL bad, especially in a game that expects you to die and yes it should be dinged for that. Anyway I'm a long ways out from being able to render a score myself. But I will say it's one heck of an exclusive for Sony.


Last edited by Temjin001 on 3/26/2015 9:53:18 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, March 26, 2015 @ 9:57:01 PM

I'm not surprised that the flaws are being glossed over.

I'm telling you, hard games are simply considered "better" just because they're hard, and such flaws get swept under the carpet.

It's certainly true that the game opens up a lot more after that first boss fight. And beating him was just awesome. Still not sure I like the idea of enemies respawning every time I return to the Hunter's Dream, whether I die or not...

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Temjin001
Thursday, March 26, 2015 @ 10:11:05 PM

hehe that would be nice Ben, even if it would be too generous for this game's nature. There's been a time or two where I thought "if only I could quickly buy a molotov" before moving on.

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xenris
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 1:05:17 AM

You like the sawspear? I felt like it was mostly useless compared to the Axe, in its move set and dmg.

However I will ask how you are using it, are you using it extended or short? You using a torch or a gun in your offhand?

Glad you are liking the game, the series really does seem like it would be something up your alley.

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Temjin001
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 1:20:09 AM

Yea the sawspear is much faster in short range than the axe and it's length mode is still effective even if I prefer it's shorter mode. And I've pumped up my endurance (I also pump Strength and Skill) so I can just hack away at a guy until he's dead. It tends to stun them after the third hit or so. It scales nicely with my upgrade path. I still use the axe. It's my alternate. I bust the axe, long mode nearly exclusively, out for the fatties for both range and blunt damage advantages. It's R2 charged move works wonders because it knocks down mostly everything.
The sawspear is paying off in spades in Old Yarhnam where those little fast goolies try to get you. I have the torch as a secondary left hand, just for the darker rooms. I use the repeater revolver for my gun.

Yea, I'm really loving it. It is like a secondary NG to me. It's less about style and combo flair and more about intelligently placed attacks and being as deadly as you can.

EDIT: I have to say I'm so impressed by the quantity and variety of enemies. I'm encountering all kinds of new stuff. Those real tall stilted looking beasts with the axe or ball and chain are just so freaky.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 3/27/2015 1:24:47 AM

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Kevin555
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 2:48:19 AM

@Temjin, agree completely on the enemy variety, very impressive selection of creatures filled with imagination. Each boss seems to outdo one another in design with every encounter too.

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MRSUCCESS
Thursday, March 26, 2015 @ 10:41:03 PM
Reply

Sad to say that as a die hard souls fan, I still have the game in plastic. Amazon failed to deliver on day 1 to their Amazon locker (go figure) but at least they gave me $10 for delivering it late.

I've had too much work, homework and I come home late tired from the gym but Saturday morning will be the time I dive in and play the game.

Glad to see others are enjoying the game.

Last edited by MRSUCCESS on 3/26/2015 10:41:31 PM

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berserk
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 7:52:50 AM

That suck but at the same , boys will you enjoy finally getting to play on saturday . Gonna be easier getting the help you might need too .

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shaytoon
Thursday, March 26, 2015 @ 10:46:41 PM
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as always, great review!

im with you on camera control, there are times when im locked on an enemy and i dont know whats behind me if i wanna dodge back, so i try to find open sides, and if that doesnt work, well...im dead. (i wonder if theres a counter as to how many times ive died so far lol)

the respawn, i get why they did it. it kind of makes it easy to level up when you memorize where all the enemies are (at least ive memorized where everyone is) it makes it easy to go back and kill everything with ease. the only time i hate it is when i go to hunters dream to redeem $$ and yeeeah, annoying.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, March 26, 2015 @ 11:04:13 PM
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Sounds like it has the right name, I do like lots of blood. We need a Splatterhouse 2.

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mk ultra
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 2:55:36 AM

I second a Spatterhouse 2.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 9:12:19 AM

yayyy, you're the first person I've met who didn't hate on that game. It was funny and had a cool story and unique battle system. Nodded to it's own past and was generally awesome.

Totally underrated in reviews.

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mk ultra
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 7:20:07 PM

Agreed. I feel the same about it.

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burnedknight
Thursday, March 26, 2015 @ 11:14:22 PM
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I'm loving this game so far but I'm a huge souls fan so iI knew I'd love it . From software once again makes a great game I'm so glad their getting some great reviews they deserve it.

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smileys_007
Thursday, March 26, 2015 @ 11:34:01 PM
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good review. Bloodborne is a great game but I think I'm gonna pass on this one. I have played and finished Demon Souls and I don't think that I'll be playing that kind of game again. I'm just happy that ps4 has gotten another great exclusive game. ^_^

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FAREEZ
Thursday, March 26, 2015 @ 11:42:53 PM
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* Prey Slaughtered *
I feel like a badass right now after beat the first boss...

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Riku994
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 12:33:12 AM
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I hate to nitpick but they're Blood Echoes, not Blood Souls. I agree with almost everything in the review, but I've never had a problem with the camera in a Souls game before, and I still don't in Bloodborne, except until you fight a very large boss and locking on causes camera issues. (This goes for Souls and Bloodborne)

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Temjin001
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 12:50:30 AM

The second boss, a smaller guy, gave me camera issues after he changed into a werewolf.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 3/27/2015 12:50:52 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 1:57:56 AM

Not nitpicking at all; I got it wrong and I'm glad you called me on it. :)

Fixed now.

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xenris
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 1:13:21 AM
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I think that the camera being close is a design choice. The director miyazaki designs every aspect of his games with intent and purpose.

The close camera is meant to limit your vision, so that you have to manually look around more.

I do agree with the lock on though, it gets a bit weird during big boss fights.

I will say though that when you get a good grasp on your weapon you can play most of the game without locking on to enemies, I actually rarely use the lock on unless its against a boss and I want the fast side dodge and not a roll.

My main negative point to the game is that I feel like the humanoid bosses are actually poorly designed. I might change my opinion on that but the fact that they can dodge and attack with almost no downtime is a little lame. I feel like they should have to obey the same stamina rules that I do. I'm stuck on a boss that gets insanely wily towards the end and just spams, so I need to figure out a better way to deal with her stuff.

I picked the class thats description said you are worthless and shouldn't have been born....so suffice to say I made the game a lot harder than it needed to be hahah. Oh well I will just grind some levels and try out some other strategies until I get it done.

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Temjin001
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 1:57:33 AM

Hehe you picked waste of skin?
Yea you started several levels lower. The long term advantage there is to custom spec your character. I chose milk toast.

I liked the second boss, a humanoid. He seemed to mostly play by the rules.

What boss you on?
I'm in a town where a guy at the top of a clock tower is shooting at me with a machine gun. He's narrating my actions and taunting me. I presume he'll be a boss when I get to him.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 1:59:32 AM

I chose the Troubled Childhood one, or something like that.

And the camera is also loose and jerky, especially when tearing yourself off of a locked foe. For such cramped areas, the camera simply needed to be farther back for visibility purposes. I know it's a design choice but personally, I think it was the wrong choice. If the camera was Demon's Souls distance, for example, I think that would've been just right.

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xenris
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 11:29:25 AM

@ Ben

I agree mostly with the camera, I think it just never popped out at me as a hindrance and therefore I didn't notice it that much.

I agree with the way it gets weird when you unlock though, it can be disorienting for sure.

@Temjin

I just got to the end of that area you are in, the guy at the top is not actually the boss of the area, the boss is the one I was stuck on but beat literally 5 minutes ago and I was fist pumping my arm off.

Yeah I chose waste of skin for that reason also I figured I could handle it, I'm level 20 something right now and things are totally good.

One word of advice I tried to kill the guy at the top of the church who is shooting at you and he is a jerk and really fast and hard. I would skip him and unlock the shortcuts in the area before trying him. He is similar to the gravehunter dude you just fought but imo way harder because you are stuck in a small space.

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Temjin001
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 12:03:21 PM

thanks Xenris I'll keep that in mind. Sounds like you're doing great for only level 20. I'm like 25.
Have you tried the auto lock setting for the camera yet?
I haven't.

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Kevin555
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 2:45:59 AM
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Getting my arse royally kicked in this game and i have to say, I'm quite enjoying it ;)

What amazes me about this game the most though is not the challenge provided nor the imaginative creature design in which both are impressive, but the atmosphere itself. Everything looks ridiculously good and the art style is just magical. I can't see too many games on the horizon pulling me away from this one for quite some time.

Good review and a fair verdict too imo.

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mk ultra
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 2:53:14 AM
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I don't know if it's just the way you worded everything or what, but my interest is fully piqued after reading that.

I'm getting this as soon as my check clears on the first. The farthest I've ever made it in a souls game was the second boss in Demon Souls, wish me luck.

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Beamboom
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 4:53:52 AM
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Very good review Ben. It's a delight to see review work like this, knowing your personal stances. Pure delight.

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JackieBoy
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 6:16:08 AM
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"Now, how you deal with these drawbacks is another matter altogether; some players won’t mind in the least, while others will find them extremely irritating"

Guess I will wait for a patch then.

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berserk
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 7:49:34 AM
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Great game so far and easier then the other games before .Cleared everything before the first Boss without dying for example (2-3 hours worth of killing ).Still got to be extra careful and play smart tho .
The only thing as hard as before so far are the bosses .

Of course if you got no souls experience , it s gonna be hard even before the bosses .

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Underdog15
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 8:22:04 AM
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To anyone really into the game now:

Are the camera issues inhibiting, or just something annoying you have to learn to manipulate better?

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Palmetto
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 10:25:40 AM

The camera will get you killed from time to time that is just an unfortunate fact. However, it was like that in every souls game and I view it as more of annoyance, certainly not a game breaker.

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Underdog15
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 11:25:45 AM

Right on, thanks. If it's the same as other Souls games, then I just gotta get used to it. I didn't find the camera a major issue once I figured out how to use it better.

Thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated.

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Oxvial
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 12:22:39 PM

No, ONLY with Big Bosses if you target lock them it can be annoying, but Ben took a bit too far the camera issue in this review some would thought the game it's unplayable or something xD, but that's not the case.

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Underdog15
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 3:05:36 PM

I don't like locking on unless you have to focus kill something or execute a combo anyways. I abused the lock/unlock button on previous titles. By "focus kill" I mean if you leave it alone to attack something different, it'll heal or something, so you have to focus on it.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 4:01:50 PM

Underdog: The camera issues are inhibiting. Oxvial can try to pretend they're not but the truth is obvious.

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Oxvial
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 5:18:16 PM

I'm not pretending stuff Ben if that was the case I would say that you underrated the game with your review, that's how the camera feels to me, but well Underdog what about comment on some videos of Bloodborne playthroughs and ask more people for feedback?... or well maybe you already did.

Last edited by Oxvial on 3/27/2015 5:20:11 PM

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Temjin001
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 9:44:19 PM

Yes, Underdog the cam can be a problem at times, particularly while learning the game. Yes, the camera has killed me. Out of the last 100x I've been killed I'd say it was the camera's fault maybe two or three times. And yes, occasionally you'll take hits because of not having a good view of a situation (not as big of deal when you become more powerful by leveling up). It's far from a game breaker, and YES, once you've accustomed to how it behaves when you engage a lock and disengage a lock it will make a big difference. Yes, it requires you to be conscience of it. That's both a blessing and curse to every game that has a camera of this sort.
The reality is all critics know of it. Yet, many critics are treating it lightly and scoring it high anyway, and many are doing it with much passion in their tone. It's not hard to see why though. It's one immensely awesome game. Yes, it has some blemishes but the experience is unforgettable and it IS a reason to own a PS4. Any contrivances are far outweighed by it's positive points.

EDIT: btw. I can live with the camera just fine. But the thing I'd like fixed most is the long load time after death.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 3/27/2015 9:49:37 PM

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martyt
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 8:32:42 AM
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My copy of Bloodborne arrives today. Looking forward to it! However, having loved Darks Souls 1, yet skipping Dark Souls 2 because I was only playing my PS4 at the time, and assuming it would come to new-gen eventually, I waited, and waited... now, I am wondering if I really need to play DS2? I have plenty of backlog, and if Bloodborne surpasses DS2 in most ways, I am thinking I don't need to invest in DS2. Thoughts?

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xenris
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 5:49:16 PM

Bloodborne is leagues above Dark Souls 2 in ever single way. The level design alone runs circles around it, and the enemy variety and balance is just so much better.

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DemonNeno
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 9:41:54 AM
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I totally agree about the controls. Primarily the camera. It wouldn't have been an issue had the game play speed not been ramped up. With the pace and crucial timing of things, it's a nuisance. I've gotten the hang of hitting r3 on and off. Fortunately, it's been rare for me to lock on the wrong enemy doing so.

I'm beginning to wonder if the camera approach was a result of trying to keep the frame rates as steady as possible. It seems like most frame drops occur around fires, so it may be a long shot.

Great review, by the way.

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Squirreleatsman
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 10:08:33 AM
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So I attempted both Demon Souls and Dark Souls but never got hooked, perhaps it was slow and clunky control or the lack of direction and unforgiving nature of the game. At any rate I didn't get any enjoyment out of them and found them more frustrating than fun.
After all the hype surrounding Bloodborne I felt compelled to play it if only to prove that I hated it. So the day after Bloodborne was released I went to GameStop with copies of Dying Light and Dragon Age Inquisition in hand and traded them for the game that I was destined to hate.
I immediately started playing when I got home and I died, and I died, and I died.....this could go on for awhile. Finally I reached the Cleric and he killed me almost instantly. Frustrated as all hell, full well knowing I was going to have to fight through the same 20+ enemies I said this game isn't for me. So I went on the GameStop website to see the trade in value...$29.70...well GameStop obviously was aware of the type of game it was and knew that it would see many returns. I took a moment and thought more about Bloodborne, I thought there's no way in hell anyone would play this game if they had to keep running through the same path over and over again just to die instantly at the end of it. I jumped back into it this time intent on finding every nook and crevice after a couple hours of exploring I discovered a path that took me directly to the Cleric. I had a few drinks and my ability to play was suffering so I decided to call it quits for the evening.
The following day I came back to the game sober, I leveled my character up again and made my way to the Cleric. To be clear at this point I had begun to enjoy my time with Bloodborne but I wasn't sold. The battle with the cleric began I managed to dodge his attack fairly well. By the end I had only gone through maybe a third of my blood vials, the beast was down to literally nothing, I couldn't see an once of color on his health bar. I was confident but then I missed a step, and I paid dearly. My health was down and my options were limited. Do I take a blood vial?, no, there's no time. Do I attack with my Saw?...It's over I think to myself, but something had happened my reflexes kicked in, I had shot him, stunning him...I charged forward and finished him off. Prey Slaughtered the screen read....a sense of pride, joy, and relief swept over me. I came really close to giving up with this game, I'm glad I didn't.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 10:21:03 AM

Great story, that's exactly how these games make people love them. The sense of major achievement after incredible frustration kicks in an overload squirt of serotonin and endorphins in the brain.

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Temjin001
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 10:52:40 AM

Ha. Nice. There's a direct path to the cleric? Cool. I took the long path each time.
It helped when I paid more attention to the fact that the boss has one major attacking arm. It made knowing what way to dodge easier.

I think the first few hours is initiation. Everything I've done past the first part has been much easier. There's both more lamps to checkpoint at and you yourself are more powerful.

@world: you'll eventually need to give the game a look-see.


Last edited by Temjin001 on 3/27/2015 10:53:10 AM

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Temjin001
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 10:58:48 AM

http://www.polygon.com/2015/3/26/8296155/bloodborne-how-to-backstab-front-stab-parry-riposte-jump-attack-break-shields

Nice. Look at this.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 11:16:57 AM
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Let me add one thing: The combat system is closer to strict action than any game From Software has done, with the player encountering multiple enemies far more often, and the available abilities including side-step/back-step, roll, parry, counter, etc.

As such, aside from complex combos, the core setup isn't that much different from a God of War or Devil May Cry. If you look at those games, especially GoW, you see how far back the camera sits. Obviously, it's so the player can deal with situations in which he's being set upon from all sides, and allows him to react and plan accordingly.

Now, imagine moving the camera in to where it is in Bloodborne. Imagine a God of War where the camera sits directly behind him and offers only that limited scope. I mean, it'd be borderline unplayable, would it not? That's what I think From Software missed about their new game.

And for the record, it's really the only significant drawback; had this been better, and had the control been only slightly tweaked, this is a high-9 game, honestly. Unfortunately, these issues are so significant that they affect all aspects of the gameplay and as such, I couldn't see fit to award it a 9.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 3/27/2015 11:18:17 AM

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PS3_Wizard
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 11:50:50 AM

On a personal level, do you like this game? Would you see yourself playing it outside of just playing it for the review? I'm like you in that a game like this doesn't really interest me since I have a limited amount of gaming time a day, and the punishing nature of these games turns me off from anything From Software does.

But if you honestly like it more than you thought, I might give it a try. The atmosphere and ability to over-level sounds ultra appealing to me. I'd probably just spend hours killing weaker enemies to level up enough that I can kill most anything with relative ease.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 1:19:31 PM

I do like it, and I like it more than Demon's Souls or either of the Dark Souls games.

But the camera really bothers me and when I think I'm being punished for no reason, I tend to lose interest fast. On top of which, if you have limited playing time (like both you and I), I'm not sure this is something to dive into.

Also, you can't really "over-level." Enemies respawn so you can build up a lot of Blood Echoes but until you progress to certain points in the game, you can't buy new equipment. For instance, when you first start, there's only the basic Yharnam stuff to buy and while there are four pieces, you can get them very quickly just by clearing out some of the weaker enemies around the area.

But once you've done that, there's nothing left to buy. You could buy more items, I suppose, but you won't get any stronger until you progress. Trust me, if you COULD power up, I'd play it. I'd take the grind over the immense challenge because I just don't have that masochistic drive anymore. And at least I'd get to enjoy every aspect of the game and I wouldn't want to put a controller through the TV every half-hour. ;)

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 3/27/2015 1:19:54 PM

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PS3_Wizard
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 1:34:38 PM

Gotcha! Thanks for the info, I might have to wait until a friend buys it and borrow it from him then. I appreciate it.

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xenris
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 5:51:30 PM

I think because the areas are more cramped they had to bring the camera in closer or it would be getting caught on things much more often don't you think?

I think the camera distance is somewhat of a necessary evil given the games level design.

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Temjin001
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 6:49:23 PM

Xenris I'm finding more often than not the camera can be managed to alleviate problems. I think in the tighter spots, which is often, the close camera is perfect for the game because it totally fits the horror-like vibe. It's in those times where the immediate area opens up and expects you to navigate object laden terrain, whether during a boss or levels with multiple enemies, while having to be really evasive is when I think a drawn back camera would help. And it doesn't need to pull far back anywhere near a God of War game, I wouldnt like that in this. Games like Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 learned to pull the camera back somewhat in such instances without losing much of that direct interaction because the focus has changed to positioning tactics. This game while very much an action based game isn't much for a platformer with little by way of jumping and huge yardage leaps and rolls. It's still a lot less mobile than a DMC, NG, or GoW. I'm going to play around with the camera settings. It seems to me the game gives you a number of customization options for speed etc.


Last edited by Temjin001 on 3/27/2015 6:52:25 PM

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berserk
Sunday, March 29, 2015 @ 3:41:16 PM

" But once you've done that, there's nothing left to buy. You could buy more items, I suppose, but you won't get any stronger until you progress."

Did you forget you can level up your character or something ?

Every point in str or skill make you and your weapon stronger (weapons damage scale with some stats ,so make sure to put point in the stat that your favorite weapon scale better with ) .

You can also put points in vitality to have more life , in endurance to attack/dodge more and every point spent boost your damage resistance .

You could also farm the items that you can upgrade your weapon with .

Last edited by berserk on 3/29/2015 3:46:15 PM

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Shauneepeak
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 3:18:36 PM
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What's wrong with the camera? It is exactly the same as both Dark Souls 1 and 2 and better than it was in Demon's.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 4:03:12 PM

It's not exactly the same. It's a little closer, I think.

But most importantly, we're in much more cramped surroundings most of the time in Bloodborne, and we encounter multiple enemies far more often. Plus, the actual fighting mechanic is deeper and more pronounced. All of this is screaming for a wider-angle lens and/or a pulled-back camera.

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Shauneepeak
Saturday, March 28, 2015 @ 4:13:40 PM

I just think the more zoomed out camera would make the game too easy the whole point of having a close camera is you cannot see enemies sneaking up behind you or peer around corners as much as you could if it was zoomed out.

I think they have a good middle ground between first-person and super zoomed third-person. You have just enough zoom to have full combat awareness but not enough to ruin sneak attacks enemies plan against you.

Maybe it's just because I am so used to it. It might be more zoomed in compared to Dark Souls but I would have to check to make sure. Everything felt right at home to me when I first jumped in.

I also have always felt third-person struggles with indoor environments anyways even if you have a far zoomed out camera soon as you go indoors it zooms way in and in my opinion is more likely to throw you off due to the drastic change.

Frame rate is a valid fault in some area though the Forbidden Woods had me chug a number of times and I opened a door in a Chalice Dungeon with about 20+ enemies all waiting on the other side and I hit single digits when they all rushed through, somehow I survived PRAISE the Thread Cane's whip form!

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, March 28, 2015 @ 6:46:28 PM

I'm sorry, but you absolutely never have "full combat awareness."

And it's not just about visibility. The camera is also erratic and the lock-on just doesn't work as well as it should.

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Squirreleatsman
Saturday, March 28, 2015 @ 11:35:06 PM

I've gotta agree with Ben on this. It's simply unacceptable to have a game that expects the gamer to play with near perfection and then have a wonky camera system and a frustratingly unreliable lock on system.

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Shams
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 9:32:26 PM
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I think harder games must be more frustrating to review. Obscurity coupled with less in the way of hand-holding must be especially jarring when you've got a dead line, and you're eager for the game open up and present itself. Minor defects become aggravating annoyances, even if they can be readily adapted, too. I never flung my controller in Demon's Souls, or any game in recent recollection, but if I had deadline to review it in, I'm pretty sure I'd let loose of a couple f-bombs and floor-punches, and i'd make sure my review would be indicative of that. Anyhow nice review. Can't wait to crack the plastic wrap.

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Temjin001
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 9:52:21 PM

dude. I think you're gonna love it!

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Shams
Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 10:22:13 PM

I knew I would when i read your later comments, Sensei Temjin!

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, March 28, 2015 @ 11:15:18 AM

Nah, it's not like that. I want the review up ASAP of course but I'm never killing myself to get to a certain point in a game. If it takes some time, it takes some time. I could've had the review up a day earlier or so, but do people really care about that 24-hour gap? I suppose some do but they'll just have to deal with it.

I don't let myself get that frustrated when playing games for review purposes. :)

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Rachet_JC_FTW
Saturday, March 28, 2015 @ 3:57:18 AM
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i haven't played the game yet but what i've seen it look like a 9 but then again idk enough about it to make an educated final decision, just thought i'd let you guys know

happy gaming

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Shauneepeak
Saturday, March 28, 2015 @ 4:15:21 PM

I think Bloodborne is EASILY better than Dark Souls 2 and hat has a 91 so I think the current Meta is very accurate.

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