One of the breakout series in the last console generation was the Soul series. Even though the first game Demon Souls didn’t sell well, it was a cult hit amongst fans. Bandai Namco however managed to hit gold with the spiritual successor Dark Souls. The tight controls, challenging but fair difficulty provided gamers a rewarding experience should they manage to overcome the many perils laid before them. Dark Souls 2 was released last year and while it was a great game in its own right, fans were decidedly divisive in their opinions. Some felt that it was too similar and provided nothing new and that the environments weren’t as immersive and atmospheric while others felt it built upon an already excellent game. But what was certain was the unanimous excitement when Hidetaka Miyazaki announced his next game, Bloodborne.
Much like Dark Souls was the spiritual successor to Demon Souls, Bloodborne is the spiritual successor to Dark Souls. While it doesn’t bear the same Souls name, everything from the music, the combat and the environment is undoubtedly a Souls game. In Bloodborne, players will have to explore the ruined city of Yharnam in search of a remedy to cure a plague. This of course will not be a simple stroll in the park as Yharnam is infested with crazed denizens and horrifying monstrosities.
The combat system should be familiar to those who have played previous instalments, however it seems the main protagonist is a little more agile than his predecessors. He is now able to side step and strafe much quicker for counter attacks as compared to just being able to roll away from danger. Another addition is the ability to switch your weapon forms and when timed correctly, perform devastating combos. An example would be using a rapier for few quick stabs before using the rapier as a makeshift handle for a hammer to deal the last finishing blow.
What differentiates Bloodborne from the previous Souls games is the emphasis on offence now. The Souls games have always been about calculative actions and understanding enemy attack patterns. Knowing when to attack, when to dodge and when to defend is paramount to succeeding in that game. Bloodborne however has a mechanic which encourages more aggressive play. When the player gets hit and loses health, he/she will be able to recover a portion of that health by striking back at the enemy. This adds a risk reward element to the gameplay; Do I attack to recover my health and save on healing items but risk dying or do I retreat and use up valuable resources to heal. Adding this kind of dynamic to an already excellent combat system is what excites me the most.
The Souls games always had some form of multiplayer aspect to it and Bloodborne is no different. Apart from the usual co-op and player vs player modes, Bloodborne has a new procedural generated dungeon known as the Chalice Dungeon. What this means that each player’s Chalice Dungeon will be different from another player’s as the Chalice Dungeon’s layout and enemy placement will be randomly generated with each new game.
With all these new additions, Bloodborne looks set to be the definitive Souls game. Although the game’s release date has been pushed back slightly, players everywhere won’t need to wait that much longer as the game releases in March worldwide exclusively for the PlayStation 4.