Bloodborne. © Sony

Bloodborne is an action role-playing game published by Sony Computer Entertainment and developed by FromSoftware. These are the same guys that produced the Dark Souls series and who released the third installment in 2016. Bloodborne was announced in 2014 at the Electronic Entertainment Expo and was made available on PlayStation 4 in March 2015.

Key facts about Bloodborne

  • Bloodborne has an amazing story that takes place almost entirely in the city of Yharnam whose residents are tormented by a blood-borne disease.
  • The game level design is impressive and developers paid a lot of attention to details when creating the bosses and roaming creatures.
  • Bloodborne has a fast tactical combat and despite its reasonable learning curve, the game is unforgiving on high difficulty.
  • The game has an interesting messaging system for the multiplayer mode, with players being able to live useful or utterly useless messages to their peers.
  • In Bloodborne, multiplayer is initiated by one player summoning others by using one consumable item and an Insight point.

The Bloodborne games

Bloodborne games are played from the third person perspective, both when exploring the world and when fighting various monsters. Depending on the difficulty level as well as the stage of the campaign, players will have to make use of various weapons and alternate special abilities. Interaction with nonplayer characters is essential and the game has some great dialogues that shouldn’t be skipped.

Bloodborne has a multiplayer mode and even though it pales in comparison to the single player campaign, it keeps players hooked for even more hours. To summon more players into this world, one would have to use Insight points and consumable items. The upside is that new players will prove to be an invaluable help against bosses and powerful creatures that would’ve been virtually impossible to defeat otherwise.

At the same time, by summoning more players one exposes himself to the danger of another player invading the realm. The newcomer can kill the player who initiated the summoning, so it’s important to factor in all these elements. Not only human controlled players but also NPCs can be summoned to assist the player, but the list is limited to those encountered during the course of the single player campaign. In most cases, these are capable enough as to render the need of inviting real players unnecessary.

Chalice Dungeons are randomly generated and are some of the most exciting Bloodborne games. They contain various bosses that need to be defeated. The tougher these opponents, the better the loot, making the chalice dungeons an important stepping stone. Only after players clear an entire area of existing bosses, are they allowed to move on to the next stage. Despite the absence of a plot, the allure of better loot makes the Chalice Dungeons very popular.

Screenshot of Bloodborne. © Sony
Screenshot of Bloodborne. © Sony

What is Bloodborne?

Bloodborne was developed by FromSoftware and published by Sony Computer Entertainment on PlayStation 4 in 2015. The action-adventure third person shooter has the Hunter at the cornerstone of its single player campaign. The game has a multiplayer mode, in which players can invite others and complete difficult objectives together, or find among themselves for supremacy.

Gameplay of Bloodborne

Bloodborne features all the popular action role-playing elements that players enjoyed in Dark Souls 2, but there are plenty of new additions. The game is regarded as one of the most difficult of the genre and it tends to get harder as the single player campaign advances. Fast-paced combat rewards players with great reflexes and they frequently feel compelled to take on an offensive stance even when fighting legions of monsters. The use of stealth is very limited as the Bloodborne gameplay is all about striking first.

Players can recover some of the health lost by attacking enemies in a quick succession, so they can’t afford to kill one monster at a time. Customization plays an important role in Bloodborne and many new players spend a lot of time setting the basic details of their hero. These decisions go beyond the visuals and depending on the choices made early on, the Hunter will have a unique personality and his very own fighting style. Just as important is to choose the right brotherhood as there are several possible Covenants.

New game mechanics revealed

The Bloodborne gameplay includes a couple of unique features, with players being able to return to selected safe zones by using lanterns. These act as checkpoints and given the high difficulty of this game, it is essential to focus on discovering them as early as possible. The Hunter's Dream is a shining example of a safe zone, since there is no possibility for the hero to die while in this area. On the other hand, the most difficult boss in the game needs to be defeated in the Hunter's Dream, as the campaign concludes.

Speaking of which, the New Game Plus begins after the single player comes to an end, with those choosing to continue taking on tougher bosses and more difficult challenges. Throughout the game, players can only use two mini weapons at the time and an additional two secondary weapons. The latter can inflict damage at decent distances and they consist mostly of pistols and other small firearms.

Screenshot of Bloodborne. © Sony
Screenshot of Bloodborne. © Sony

Plot of Bloodborne

Bloodborne has an engaging single player campaign, which starts with the Hunter waking up in the middle of a surgery. Once he gets on his feet, he is shocked to discover that the city of Yharnam has been overrun by monsters and bloodthirsty creatures. Players get familiar with the spectral realm that goes by the name of Hunter's Dream, which acts as a workshop and also as a safe zone for the player.

This is how the quest begins for a special type of blood that can only be obtained by killing legions of monsters roaming freely in the city. As the narrative progresses, more mysteries are unveiled and the Hunter fights the first bosses while learning about the infamous plans of the Great Ones, who are at the roots of the plague. Mergo, an infant Great One is one of the key characters in the story and in order to deal with this threat, the Hunter has to enter the treacherous Nightmare of Mensis round.

Once this quest is completed, the final stage of the single player campaign begins and the Hunter is pitted against some difficult decisions. There are three possible endings and all of them fully justify the effort of going through so many difficult missions. We won’t disclose any of them, since this would defeat the purpose of fighting hordes of monsters and defeating bosses. What we can say is that two of these possible endings leave the door open for a sequel.

Development of Bloodborne

Development of Bloodborne started in 2012 and director Hidetaka Miyazaki was at the helm, which explains the many similarities to the Dark Souls series. The plot as well as some of the game mechanics were altered in the course of development and the game was slightly delayed as a result. This was also the consequence of Sony making the game available exclusively on PlayStation 4. In November 2015, an expansion for Bloodborne was released and it goes by the name of The Old Hunters.

Screenshot of Bloodborne. © Sony
Screenshot of Bloodborne. © Sony

Where can I download Bloodborne?

Bloodborne is only available on PlayStation 4 so you can download the game from Sony’s online store if you don’t want to purchase the physical copy. FromSoftware is also selling the game, so those who appreciated the action-adventure third person shooter can head on to their website. Once there, they are just one click away from placing an order for Dark Souls 3, one of the most anticipated games of 2016.

What are others saying about Bloodborne?

Bloodborne was highly anticipated and the first reviews came up immediately after it was unveiled at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2014. The critics were initially impressed and even though some of them chose to revise the ratings downward after the official release, they still revolve around 90 out of 100. The criticism was in regard to the frame rate issues and the fact that Bloodborne proved to be extremely difficult for many players.

Bloodborne tournaments

Bloodborne has a multiplayer, but it feels more like playing in a co-op game than a fully fledged player versus player game. Summoning players into your world while trying to avoid malicious ones from entering is pretty much what multiplayer stands for. There are no Bloodborne tournaments and no interest in setting such competitions up, not even after the release of the expansion The Old Hunters.

My rating of Bloodborne

I don’t mind a game that is difficult to beat and now that the frame rate issues are behind us. In fact, I’m running out of reasons to dislike Bloodborne. I was so impressed with the single player campaign and the dark world created by FromSoftware that I spent most of the time playing offline. I can’t overstate my satisfaction for the strong narrative and complex gameplay and I’m glad to rate this game 9.5 out of 10.

Overall Score