Bloodborne: All the Details We Know So Far
Bloodborne is by far my most anticipated release of 2015. Since my first playthrough of Dark Souls a few years back, I have been quite the fanboy of From Software. It has gotten to the point where if they were a rock band, I would be the first to throw my underwear on stage.
Since we are a little over a month away from launch (a little less if you live in the U S of A), I thought that it might be nice to have an article detailing a few of the things that we know about Bloodborne so far.
Moving away from the medieval settings in Demon's/Dark Souls, Bloodborne takes us to Yharnam, which feels a lot like Victorian England if the Black Plague had never ended (and turned people into monsters). The city is rumoured to house a potent medical remedy that many people have travelled a great distance to obtain with our character, The Hunter, being one such pilgrim.
Upon arrival, however, our hero finds the city plagued by a disease that has transformed the townsfolk into bestial monstrosities.
It took me many deaths (MANY!) to get the hang of Dark Souls and when From Software announced last year that Dark Souls 2 would force players out of their comfort zone with new mechanics, I was a little worried. My concerns quickly waned once I got my hands on the game, however, as even with a few slight changes to rolling, parrying and the like, it was still familiar. It is still Dark Souls at heart. This is what both excites and terrifies me. This time around we are told that although shields will be present in Bloodborne, if we attempt to use them as we did in Dark Souls we will die.
No euphemisms, just, "You will die."
Although I got used to rolling rather than blocking most of the time, I would often use my shield as a crutch for sticky situations and I liked knowing that, should I need it, it was there. On a related note, this was probably why I used a comforter until I was fifteen.
Although, I had one of these living under my bed.
A new mechanic being introduced is the health gain system, whereby if you lose health it can be regained by attacking an enemy within a certain amount of time. What I find particularly interesting is that with Dark Souls, you are rewarded for patience and punished if you did not take the time to wait for your opening but with this new mechanic, you are almost being encouraged to act hastily and force an opening that may not be there. On top of that, From Software has forgone the use of bloodstains this time around.
Instead, in order to reclaim lost currency, the Hunter will have to kill the creature that killed him. This could add a lot of extra tension when being killed by a boss, which I’m sure will happen fairly often.
There seems to be a focus on the theme of blood (duh!) with blood vials replacing the Estus Flask as your main healing item. We can also harvest two types of blood from fallen foes: tainted blood and pure blood. Tainted blood is acquired easily from fallen enemies but consuming too much will cause the Hunter to transform into a beast. In beast form, the Hunter will become difficult to control and make him the target of other hunters.
The only way to return to human form is by consuming pure blood. Pure blood can be consumed without any consequences - but it is much harder to obtain, dropping only from human players and NPCs.
The weapon system has received an overhaul as well with a focus on guns equipped in the off-hand, which can be used to interrupt and stun enemies, and an extendable melee weapon in the main hand. This combination definitely encourages a faster style of combat and I’m very interested to see how it will play out, especially with a greater focus on ripostes, which was a mechanic that I felt was largely forgotten in Dark Souls 2 due to its clumsiness.
A Return to the Hub System
I am a little disappointed by the return to a hub system as I preferred the connected open world of Dark Souls over the Nexus from Demon’s Souls. Even though, for all intents and purposes, Majula was a hub in Dark Souls 2 it still felt as if I was in an open-world environment. Don’t get me wrong: the atmosphere, level design, and bosses of Demon’s Souls blew my mind harder than an asthmatic smoker blowing up a balloon, but I felt that the levels were too disjointed from each other.
Of course, there are many who preferred the hub system and because From Software has said that Bloodborne will be closer to Demon’s Souls than Dark Souls, I suppose it makes sense.
The Nexus hub from Demon's Souls.
On the topic of epic bosses, I am really glad that Hidetaka Miyazaki is making a return to the director's seat as it was from his twisted imagination that sprang some of the best video game bosses I have ever seen. Although he was brought on to consult for Dark Souls 2, I found the bosses to be lackluster in comparison to the first two Souls games.
From some of the trailers that I have seen thus far, it looks like we can expect a return to form in terms of epic boss battles.
The Chalice Dungeon system is probably the most anticipated feature of Bloodborne. It seems to be a similar to the idea of Nephalim Rifts in Diablo 3 in the sense that it is procedurally generated at first but becomes fixed until it has been completed.
This feature also has a high focus on co-op multiplayer as they have been described as “quite difficult,” but to be fair, this is a From Software game, so when they say "quite difficult" we can expect it to be no easier than teaching advanced calculus to an angry Grizzly Bear.
After the dismal release of Assassin’s Creed: Unity, I swore that I would never pre-order another game but I think that I will need to break that rule for Bloodborne as it just looks too awesome. There are only a few weeks left until release but I am starting to feel that Eric Cartman’s strategy of cryogenic stasis might be a viable option...