elcome readers to my first entry on the famously difficult FromSoftware's Soulsborne series, which also created a subgenre of action RPG called Soulsborne which has a similar combat style to said games. We'll take a look into Bloodborne, the brother of the Dark Souls trilogy.
The game was released on 24 March 2015, between Dark Souls 2 and Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin or Dark Souls 3. The game is a masterpiece. The environment of Yharnam, a Victorian London-styled city, is very dark, beautiful and depressing with beasts and monsters hiding around every corner. The stunning architecture causes twists and turns in the level and world design which confuse and ambush you. Even the twist of the game is amazing because of how it affects the game and how you view it.
The story and lore are both vague and amazing. The only thing explained clearly is that you play as a hunter and you are sent out to end the hunt. You can't find out what the plot is unless you check the descriptions of items which detail events that happened in the past or how the items were important to characters, groups or just in general. For example, how healing blood is more addictive than alcohol and how it's a cure for all ailments with some possible side effects.
Bloodborne changed the famous Dark Souls gameplay by changing the combat style. It changed from a defensive reaction gameplay, one where you block or dodge attacks and then strike back, into a more aggressive version where you're more proactive. Bloodborne does this by making parrying easier with bigger windows of opportunity for countering. You are also now able to do it at range, giving you the ability to regain life by attacking an enemy quickly after he's damaged you. The health consumables being dropped by the enemies can be a downside because you may have to keep killing monsters to be able to have a good stock of them.
Dark Soul's more defensive playstyle means that you have less than a second to parry and, being more reliant on a shield to block things, you must have armor to help mitigate damage. The health potion is rechargeable but limited after every checkpoint.
The weapon system of Bloodborne is also great. The game gives you weapons that have two styles. A one-handed axe is able to change into a two-handed one and a cane can turn into a whip. Though, a majority of the weapons, even ones that require a certain build to do any real damage, are in the late game or the DLC areas of The Old Hunters. They also give you a multitude of firearms, usually for parrying at a distance but some builds can use them more effectively than the usual hunter weapons.
Bloodborne's gameplay isn't for the unskilled since the first Soulsborne game you play will be your hardest game and your favourite. Learning how subtly the game teaches you stuff like how you should engage enemies, how aggressive you can be on small or big guys. They then test it with you on the first two bosses. One tests you on how to fight giant dudes and the other tests you on how aggressive you should be or the boss will punish you with either being hit in the face with his weapon if you're too aggressive or with a storm of lead if you aren't aggressive enough.
The Old Hunters DLC adds a lot to the game with its bosses. They really test your skill at the game with being really punishing for making mistakes. The areas before the bosses are no joke either with some tricky yet unique environments that are either adding twists to old areas or adding an influence from a certain book, and you'll know what the book is if you learn the twist of the game. The Old Hunters isn't for the impatient since the difficulty ramps up to eleven. Most enemies and bosses have hard to read move sets and telegraphs, with some moves able to one-hit you if you didn't dodge it or stack enough health to survive.
Bloodborne is an amazing game full of flavourful details and care from the developers. It has great combat, an amazing world, and fun level design that tries to help you learn from mistakes with game design and not from tooltips popping up, telling you what do to. It is basically the pinnacle of "show, and don't tell" in teaching you how to play and how to adapt. I would say that this is my second favorite game of the Soulsborne series since it tries mostly new things in a new world with the Dark Souls formula.