Bloodborne

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Bloodborne
Bloodborne Cover Wallpaper.jpg
Developer(s) FromSoftware
Publisher(s) Sony Computer Entertainment
Director(s) Hidetaka Miyazaki
Producer(s)
  • Masaaki Yamagiwa
  • Teruyuki Toriyama
Designer(s) Kazuhiro Hamatani
Programmer(s) Jun Ito
Composer(s)
Platform(s) PlayStation 4
Release
  • NA: March 24, 2015
  • PAL: March 25, 2015
  • JP: March 26, 2015
Genre(s) Action role-playing
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Bloodborne[a] is an action role-playing video game developed by FromSoftware and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for PlayStation 4. Officially announced at Sony's Electronic Entertainment Expo 2014 conference, the game was released worldwide in March 2015. Bloodborne follows the player character, the Hunter, through the decrepit Gothic, Victorian era inspired city of Yharnam, whose inhabitants have been afflicted with an abnormal blood-borne disease. Upon mysteriously awakening in Yharnam during the night of "The Hunt", the Hunter seeks out something known only as "Paleblood" for reasons unknown. The Hunter begins to unravel Yharnam's intriguing mysteries while hunting down its many terrifying beasts. Eventually, the Hunter's objective is to locate and terminate the source of the plague, and escape the nightmare.

The game is played from a third-person perspective, players control a customizable protagonist, and gameplay is focused on weapons-based combat and exploration. Players battle varied enemies, including bosses, using items such as swords and firearms, and journey through the story, exploring the game's different locations, interacting with non-player characters, collecting key items involved in the story, and discovering and unraveling the world's many mysteries. Bloodborne began development in 2012 under the working title of Project Beast. Bearing many similarities to the Souls series of games by the same company, Bloodborne was partially inspired by classic H. P. Lovecraft novels as well as Dracula, and the architectural design of certain real world locations in places such as Romania and the Czech Republic. The decision by game director Hidetaka Miyazaki to create a new intellectual property (IP) and not another Souls game was made because Miyazaki wanted to create something "different"; at the same time, Sony wanted a new IP to be made exclusively for the PlayStation 4.

Having been highly anticipated, Bloodborne was met with critical acclaim upon release, with praise being directed at the game's gameplay, audio design, atmospheric environments, inter-connected world design, and plot. Another of the game's praised traits is its difficulty, which some gaming publications called "brutal", and others considered "difficult, but fair". Some criticism, however, was directed at the game's technical performance at launch, which post-release updates later helped alleviate. An expansion for the game, titled The Old Hunters, was released in November 2015. By the end of 2015, the game had sold over two million copies worldwide.

Gameplay[edit]

Gameplay screenshot of the Bloodborne alpha release, showing the player battling one of the game's bosses, the Cleric Beast. Similarly to the Souls games, Bloodborne places a considerable emphasis on boss battles.

Bloodborne is an action role-playing game played from a third-person perspective and features elements similar to those found in the Souls series of games, particularly Demon's Souls and Dark Souls.[1] Players make their way through different locations within the decrepit Gothic world of Yharnam, while battling varied enemies, including bosses,[2] collecting different types of useful items that have many uses, interacting with the strange non-player characters,[3] opening up shortcuts, and continuing through the main story.

At the beginning of the game, the player creates their character, the Hunter. The player determines the basic details of the Hunter; gender, hairstyle, name, skin colour, body shape, voice, and eye colour, are some of the details the player determines. The player also chooses a starting class, known as an 'Origin', which provides a basic backstory for the Hunter and sets the player's starting attributes. The Origins allow the player's Hunter to have a distinct play style, which, along with physical appearance, give the Hunter a unique personality. For example, one Origin may describe the Hunter as a cowardly weakling, which would indicate the player prefers to avoid conflict, while another Origin may describe the Hunter as being a ruthless, killing machine, which would indicate that the Hunter prefers to engage in combat.[4][5] Another way the player defines their Hunter is by choosing what brotherhood they are a member of. These religious societies, known as 'Covenants', each have their own views on the world of Yharnam.[6][7]

Players can return to the safe zone, known as the Hunter's Dream, by interacting with lanterns spread throughout the world of Yharnam. Doing so replenishes health, but repopulates all monsters in the game world. Lanterns also serve as the game's checkpoints; the player will return to the last activated lantern when they die. Positioned away from Yharnam, the Hunter's Dream delivers some of the game's basic features to the player. Players may purchase useful items, such as clothing, from the Messengers using Blood Echoes or Insight, level up their character by talking to the Doll, or upgrade their weapons in the workshop, among other things. Unlike Yharnam and all other locations in the game, the Hunter's Dream is considered completely safe as it is the only location in the game not to feature enemies. However, the last two boss battles of the game take place in the Hunter's Dream.[8][9][10]

Bloodborne's world of Yharnam is a large map full of areas that are connected. Some areas of Yharnam are not connected to the main locations and require the player to teleport there via the gravestones in the Hunter's Dream. Players are usually presented with multiple options when progressing through locations; usually there is a main path that the player uses to progress through the story. When traversing the main path, the player will encounter paths that lead to completely different locations that are optional. Each path also eventually leads back to the central area the player started in. This provides the player with shortcuts, useful for when they die.[11][12] There are many locations in the game; Forsaken Castle Cainhurst, a large, intricate castle situated away from Yharnam in a snowy environment; Upper Cathedral Ward, a cathedral that is home to one of the game's Covenants, The Choir; Abandoned Old Workshop, the 'real' location of the Hunter's Dream; Yahar'gul, Unseen Village, a location the Hunter may be forcibly taken to that features some of the most dangerous enemies in the game; and Hemwick Charnel Lane, a forest clearing full of the game's witch enemies, are some of the game's locations.[11][12]

Combat[edit]

Combat is fast-paced and requires an offensive approach in order for players to combat dense hordes of enemies. The player character is agile and is able to dodge attacks by strafing around enemies while locked on. The new risk-and-reward style of gameplay is emphasized through Bloodborne's Rally system, which allows the player to, within a small window of time, recover portions of lost health by striking an enemy.[13] Director Hidetaka Miyazaki explained that this is representative of the player's increased will to continue after successfully striking an enemy.[14] A New Game Plus mode is also present; after the player has finished the game, a new game will immediately be started. New Game Plus is optional, players retain all their equipment, and the game is harder than the previous play through.[15][16]

The player may only wield two melee weapons and two secondary weapons at one time. Most melee weapons, called Trick Weapons, can transform into an alternate state; each state encourages a different approach to combat. For example, the Hunter Axe in its initial state is wielded with one hand and can be used to quickly dispatch enemies in cramped areas, but when transformed into its secondary state, it becomes an extended two handed weapon more suited for crowd control. With most Trick Weapons, one state is usually a slower, bigger weapon, that deals heavier damage per hit, while the other state is smaller, faster, and deals its damage in hit streaks.[17][18] The player's main secondary weapon is a firearm; the firearm, usually a pistol, can be used in a traditional sense, as well as a way to stun enemies. When an enemy is stunned, the player can perform a Visceral attack; Visceral attacks cause a large amount of damage in one hit and can also be performed after the player strikes an enemy from behind with a charged attack. Other secondary weapons include a torch, cannon, and wooden shield, while other main melee weapons include a hammer, sword, two-handed gun, which serves as the melee and ranged weapon, and a whip. The player can carry other offensive weapons, such as molotovs, throwing knives, and pebbles.[17][19]

Similarly to the previous Souls games, slaying enemies grants the player Blood Echoes, which doubles as the player's experience points and the game's currency. Should the player die, their Blood Echoes will be lost at the location of their death. If they are able to reach that point again, they can regain them. However, should the player die before they can retrieve their lost Blood Echoes, they will be lost forever. Sometimes, the player's Blood Echoes may be captured by an enemy, typically identified by glowing blue eyes; defeating this enemy will return the lost Blood Echoes. If an enemy does not hold the Blood Echoes, they will be on the ground near the location of the player's death.[20][21] Insight is a secondary form of currency; they can be spent to purchase items and depending on the players Insight level, the world will change in many different ways. When the player reaches a specific Insight level, some NPCs or enemies might no longer be present, the sky and moon may change colour, the player may start hearing different sounds (such as a crying baby and mysterious whispering), or enemies' attack patterns may change.[22] The world also changes as the player progresses through the main story. Insight can be gained by finding and defeating bosses or using items that grant Insight.[23][24]

When enemies are defeated, they drop useful items for the player, such as Blood Vials, which are used as healing potions, or Quicksilver Bullets, the main ammunition for ranged weaponry. Players can also sacrifice health to create Blood Bullets for their ranged weaponry. Blood Bullets cause slightly more damage than standard Quicksilver Bullets and the Rally system still applies to the lost health. Players may find useful items hidden in the environment as well as being dropped by enemies. The items hidden in the environment usually require the player to go on a different path than the path they were initially traveling. Other items the player may find include various forms of Coldblood, which grant the player Blood Echoes when consumed, Antidotes, used to cure poisoning, and Hunter Badges, items that allows the player to purchase more items in the Hunter's Dream.[25][26] The player's weapons can also be upgraded or modified by equipping certain items.[27]

Multiplayer[edit]

Multiplayer is present in Bloodborne as well, though it functions differently from its counterparts in the Souls series. By activating a non-consumable item at the cost of one Insight point, players can summon other players into their world to help with boss battles or large groups of enemies, and progress through areas of the game cooperatively. This leaves the player vulnerable to invasions, in which another player may invade the victim's game world and attempt to kill them, unless the player can find and defeat a specific enemy before an enemy player invades. Multiplayer summons are limited by proximity; players can only be summoned within a specific distance of each other to prevent players being summoned too far away to be of any assistance. Players can only summon other players that are around the same level as them to prevent the game from being too difficult, or too easy, for one of the players. What Covenant a player is a part of affects multiplayer as well. Players can summon an NPC to help them in addition to getting help from other players. The NPC serves as an AI companion to the player, that helps defeat enemies. Players can only summon specific NPCs that they have met throughout their journey.[28][29][30] Another way players may interact with each other is by leaving notes. A player may leave a tip for defeating a boss, tell the reader where to go, fool the reader by purposely providing incorrect information, or just leave a meaningless message to others. Players may rate a message as 'Fine' or 'Foul', which will indicate to future readers whether the note is useful or untrustworthy.[31][32]

Chalice Dungeons[edit]

A feature not found in previous Souls games are Chalice Dungeons. Chalice Dungeons are randomly generated dungeons that vary in depth and difficulty, and can be reformed by performing a ritual with a Chalice and other certain materials in the Hunter's Dream. Chalice Dungeons are optional and provide additional content to the player. Gameplay is much the same as the main story in that it contains various areas and enemies that the player must overcome to complete the Dungeon. Each Chalice Dungeon contains multiple bosses that the player must defeat to progress through the Dungeon's levels. Special types of lootable chests that are not found in the main story are hidden throughout the Dungeons, providing the player with the materials to generate more Dungeons. One major difference between the main story and the Chalice Dungeons is the world design. In the main story world of Yharnam, the design is open ended, more spacious, and is a mixture of indoor and outdoor environments. Chalice Dungeons are only indoors, cramped, and contain many traits of a typical dungeon. The branching paths featured in the main story are still present in the Chalice Dungeons. Another important difference are the objectives. In the main story, players journey through many different locations with many different objectives. In the Chalice Dungeons, the player's basic objective is to locate a door, then find the lever to open the door, which is located elsewhere, and then battle the boss behind the door. After the boss is defeated, the player enters the next area, which will be completely different, and completes the same goal. The cycle repeats at least three times before the entire Chalice Dungeon is cleared. Chalice Dungeons, like the main story, can be played alone or cooperatively with other players.[33][34][35][36]

Synopsis[edit]

Premise[edit]

Bloodborne takes place in Yharnam, a decrepit Gothic city known for its medical advances using blood as a primary tool.[37] Over the years, many travelers journey to the city seeking the remedy to cure their afflictions; the player's character journeys to Yharnam seeking something known as Paleblood for reasons unknown.[37] Upon arriving in the city, however, it is discovered that Yharnam is plagued with an endemic illness that has transformed most of its citizens into bestial creatures. The player must navigate the streets of Yharnam during the night of The Hunt, and overcome its violently deranged inhabitants and horrifying monsters in order to stop the source of the plague and escape the nightmare.[38][39][40]

Plot[edit]

The game's first few moments are seen in a first-person view through the eyes of a Hunter; the Hunter sees they're being operated on by an old man. The man explains that he is performing a blood transfusion, and tells the Hunter they've "come to the right place" in seeking Paleblood.[37] He warns the Hunter that he will go on a strange journey that will seem like a bad dream. The Hunter then passes out after seeing several beastly creatures approach them. After the player has created their Hunter, the game is seen in the standard third-person view, and the Hunter awakes on an operating table in a small clinic. Upon exiting the room, the Hunter discovers they're in Yharnam, full of dangerous monsters and mysteries, and begins their lengthy journey.

Shortly after their arrival in Yharnam, the player enters a spectral realm called the Hunter's Dream, which acts as both a sanctuary and workshop.[8] The player encounters two entities: Gehrman, an elderly, wheelchair-bound man who provides advice to Hunters like the player; and the Doll, a living life-size doll that assists the player in leveling up and emotionally bonds with the Hunter over the course of the game. Gehrman informs the player that in order to obtain the blood they seek, they must hunt down the various monsters plaguing Yharnam, and halt the source of the plague. As the Hunter delves deeper into the city, they begin to learn its dark secrets, as well as the origin of the plague that's destroying it. Long ago, the residents of Yharnam began worshiping ancient, eldritch cosmic beings known as the Great Ones after scholars from the College of Byrgenwerth discovered something referred to as a "medium" in the ruins of an ancient, highly advanced civilization that Yharnam was built on top of. The Great Ones provided the healing blood Yharnam was famous for, which are also the source of the plague.

While traveling through Central Yharnam, the second area, the Hunter is told to go to the Cathedral Ward by an NPC named Gilbert. He tells the Hunter they should seek the Healing Church (which is in the Cathedral Ward) because they were in charge of blood ministration and they may help the Hunter find Paleblood.[41] Along the way, the Hunter stumbles across the University of Byrgenwerth, and slays Rom, a cosmic kin and near Great One. After her death, the hunter sees Queen Yharnam, an ancient being from the dead civilization who supposedly bore Mergo, the source of the nightmare.

After progressing through various areas, including chapels, forests, small towns, universities, castles, odd nightmare locations, underground labyrinths, and churches, eventually the Hunter is led towards another spectral realm, the Nightmare of Mensis, wherein the player encounters Mergo, who is the source of the nightmare, and Mergo's guardian, known as Mergo's Wet Nurse. Only after slaying Mergo's Wet Nurse, and letting Mergo die by extension, is the final phase of the game initiated. When the Hunter returns to the Hunter's Dream, Gehrman offers to free the player from the Dream and return them to the World in the morning.[42] At this point, three different endings are possible depending on the player's actions. Choosing to accept Gehrman's offer unlocks the Yharnam Sunrise ending. Gehrman uses his scythe to behead the player, who then awakens in Yharnam as the sun rises. In the Hunter's Dream, the Doll bids the Hunter farewell. Choosing to refuse Gehrman's offer unlocks one of two endings; the second ending, Honoring Wishes, is the default ending for this case. To save the Hunter from being trapped in the dream, Gehrman initiates a battle with the player. After Gehrman is defeated, a mysterious being called the Moon Presence arrives and embraces the player, binding them to the dream. Some time later, the Doll is seen pushing the player, now sitting in Gehrman's wheelchair, back to the workshop in the Hunter's Dream. The Doll remarks that a new Hunt will begin, signifying that the player has taken Gehrman's place in guiding other Hunters.

Throughout the game, the player can find three pieces that are one third of an Umbilical Cord that forms when a Great One is trying to reproduce, often using a human being as a surrogate. If the player consumes three parts of Umbilical Cord prior to refusing Gehrman's offer, the Childhood's Beginning ending is unlocked. After Gehrman is defeated, the Moon Presence arrives to bind the player to the dream, but the player resists and fights the Presence in a final battle. Upon defeating the Moon Presence, the player is transformed into an infant Great One, and is taken by the Doll to be raised as her own. Though there is no further explanation as to what happens next, the description of the trophy the player receives for reaching this ending states that the player will "lift humanity into its next childhood".

The Old Hunters[edit]

After discovering an item called "Eye of a Blood-Drunk Hunter", the player learns of the Hunter's Nightmare, where the first hunters are trapped, drunk with blood. While traveling through Yharnam, the player comes across the corpse of a strange Hunter. When the player searches the corpse, they are pulled into the Hunter's Nightmare, populated by both beasts and long-crazed Hunters, by a lesser Amygdala. The player meets Simon the Harrowed Hunter, who tells them how the nightmare serves as a prison for hunters who have succumbed to their own madness and the scourge, and that the nightmare hides a dangerous secret. He then assists the player throughout their travels. The player first heads to the Nightmare Church, where they encounter and kill the first of the Old Hunters and the founder of the Healing Church Workshop, Ludwig the Accursed. The player can also kill the founder of the Healing Church, Laurence the First Vicar, after finding his human skull.

The player then continues on to the Research Hall, where Simon explains that in order to find the secret of the nightmare, the player must reach the Astral Clocktower and kill Lady Maria, another original hunter and one of Gehrman's students. After fighting their way through the "Living Failures" in the Research Hall, the player reaches the clocktower. Upon defeating Maria, the player reveals the secret she was protecting: the ruins of a fishing hamlet that had been pulled into the nightmare, and its inhabitants transformed into grotesque monsters. While exploring the village, the player comes across a mortally wounded Simon, who gives the player a key and his bowblade, and pleads for the player to end the nightmare. The player then discovers that the hamlet is the origin of the nightmare, the result of a curse placed on the Byrgenwerth scholars and their Hunter subordinates, who tortured and massacred the hamlet's inhabitants in search of someone or something. Afterwards, the player is continually attacked by the spirit of Simon's killer, Brador the Church Assassin. Using Simon's key, the player finds the real Brador within a prison cell, where the player can kill him.

As the player continues on through the hamlet, they eventually discover the washed-up corpse of a large creature, revealed to be the Great One Kos, who the hamlet worshipped and who is responsible for the curse. An infant Great One, the "Orphan of Kos", suddenly emerges from the corpse's womb and attacks the player out of blind terror. After its defeat, the creature's phantom retreats to its dead mother's side, and upon killing it the Hunter's Nightmare ends.[43]

Development[edit]

Development of Bloodborne began as development was being completed on the Prepare to Die edition of Dark Souls, released in August 2012. Sony Computer Entertainment approached FromSoftware concerning cooperative development on a title, and director Hidetaka Miyazaki asked about the possibility of developing a game for eighth-generation consoles. The concept of Bloodborne developed from there. There were no connections to FromSoftware's previous titles, even though Miyazaki conceded that it "carries the DNA of Demon's Souls and its very specific level design".[44] Development ran parallel to that of Dark Souls II.[45]

The game's Victorian Gothic setting was partly inspired by the novel Dracula,[46] and the architecture of locations in Romania and the Czech Republic.[47] Miyazaki enjoyed the works of H. P. Lovecraft and Dracula novels and applied those same themes and the setting into the game.[48] Miyazaki had wanted to create a game set in such an era as those novels, but he wanted everything to be as detailed as possible, and felt that such a game was only possible on eighth generation hardware. This need for high-end hardware, and the fact that the PlayStation 4 was presented to the company first, was the reason the game was a PS4 exclusive, rather than a cross-generation release.[49] The developers' target framerate for the title was 30 frames per second, due to their design choices made for the title.[46]

Story details were more plentiful than in the Souls games, though the team created a larger mystery at the heart of the story to compensate for this.[50] The team did not want to raise the difficulty level higher than their previous games as they felt it would make the game "pretty much unplayable for anyone". To balance this out, the team created a more aggressive combat system focusing on both action and strategy. They also wanted to alter the penalties for death used in the Souls games as they did not want the game to be classified as being for hardcore gamers.[46] One of the more difficult decisions the team faced was the introduction of guns as weapons. Because it would fit well into the game's setting, and that it would consequently be less accurate than modern models, guns were eventually included.[50]

Bloodborne's soundtrack was composed by a mix of Western and Japanese composers. The soundtrack contains over 80 minutes of original music by Ryan Amon, Tsukasa Saitoh, Michael Wandmacher, Yuka Kitamura, Cris Velasco, and Nobuyoshi Suzuki, and features performances by a 65-piece orchestra and a 32-member choir.[51][52][53][54] The development of the soundtrack lasted for around two and a half years.[51]

Screenshots and a gameplay trailer of the game were leaked on the Internet weeks before the official reveal, under the title of Project Beast.[55] Many believed at the time that the leak could be connected to Demon's Souls.[56] However, Miyazaki later stated that Bloodborne was never considered to be Demon's Souls II, due to Sony Computer Entertainment wanting a new intellectual property (IP) for the PlayStation 4.[57]

Release[edit]

Bloodborne was announced at Sony Computer Entertainment's 2014 Electronic Entertainment Expo media briefing on June 9, 2014. A trailer was shown. In January 2015, Bloodborne became Game Informer's readers' most anticipated game of 2015.[58][59] The game was originally planned to be released on February 6, 2015, but it was delayed to March 2015. Bloodborne was released on March 24, 2015 in North America, March 25, 2015 in Australia and Europe, and March 26, 2015 in Japan.[60][61]

A limited collector's edition was launched with the game. It includes a SteelBook case, a hard cover art book, and a digital copy of the game's soundtrack.[62] The soundtrack was released separately on April 21, 2015.[52][53] The European exclusive Nightmare Edition included physical items such as a quill and ink set, as well as all the items in the collector's edition. An Asian edition includes a letter opener modeled off of the in-game weapon, the Kirkhammer. A PlayStation 4 bundle is also available in Asian regions.[63]

A song to promote Bloodborne was recorded by the Hit House featuring Ruby Friedman for a trailer and TV spot of the game,[64] titled "Hunt You Down", written by Scott Miller and William Hunt, and recorded by Wyn Davis[65] in Los Angeles and at Word of Mouth Recording Studios in New Orleans.[66][67][68][69]

Sony Denmark teamed up with Danish organization GivBlod in order to encourage blood donations through a program where donators who donated on March 23, 2015, would receive a chance to win Bloodborne as a gift.[70][71]

In March 2016, a full year after the game's original release, it was announced that an officially licensed card game would be released, based on the game's Chalice Dungeons.[72] The game was created by Eric Lang and published by CoolMiniOrNot in November 2016.[73]

Downloadable content[edit]

At the SCEJA Press Conference for the 2015 Tokyo Game Show, an expansion pack for Bloodborne was announced, titled The Old Hunters. Released on November 24, 2015, the expansion takes place within a world where hunters of the past are trapped, and features new weapons, outfits and arcane items.[74][75]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
Aggregator Score
Metacritic 92/100[76]
Review scores
Publication Score
Destructoid 9/10[79]
Edge 10/10[77]
EGM 9.5/10[78]
Game Informer 9.75/10[80]
Game Revolution 4/5 stars[81]
GameSpot 9/10[82]
GamesRadar 4.5/5 stars[83]
IGN 9.1/10[84]
Polygon 9/10[85]
New York Daily News 5/5 stars[86]
The Guardian 5/5 stars[87]
The Daily Telegraph 5/5 stars[88]

Bloodborne received critical acclaim upon release. It holds an aggregated score of 92/100 on Metacritic based on 100 reviews.[76]

Daniel Tack of Game Informer gave the game a 9.75 out of 10, praising the game's unsettling atmosphere and the aesthetic visuals, which he stated "had brought horror to life". He also praised its challenging gameplay, which he compared to the Souls series, as well as its intimately-realized story, high replay value, deliberate, rewarding and fast-paced combat, sparse storytelling and satisfying weapon customization. He was also impressed by the well-crafted boss battles, unique enemy-design, and soundtrack. He also praised the multiplayer for extending the longevity of the game, and the game for allowing players to learn and adapt throughout a playthrough. He summarized the review by saying that "While this new IP doesn’t stray far from the established Souls franchise, it is a magical, wondrous work that admirably instills both terror and triumph in those brave enough to delve into it."[80]

Edge scored it a full 10 out of 10, stating that it was a "dazzling work of dank, abject horror that cements Miyazaki as one of the all-time greats."[77] Electronic Gaming Monthly scored it 9.5 out of 10, stating "Though built on the same core as the Souls games, Bloodborne marks the largest departure from the status quo to date. The numerous changes, many in service of a faster and more aggressive playstyle, might not be for everyone, but if you embrace that shift, you might well have a new favorite in the From Software canon."[78]

Kevin VanOrd of GameSpot gave the game a 9 out of 10, praising its Lovecraftian horror-themed storyline, energetic boss battles, precise combat for making encounters with enemies fun, as well as its unique artistry and varied environments. He also praised the sound-design of the enemies, the difficulty, which he compared to Dark Souls II, and the melee-based weapons featured in the game for allowing transformation during battle. Regarding the survival horror portion of the game, he stated that it succeeded in making players feel disturbed. The interconnected design of the game world is also praised for making discovery rewarding.[82]

Writing for GamesRadar, Ben Griffin gave the game a 4.5/5, praising the game's detailed environments, Gothic-styled visuals, rich combat, fresh challenges, the randomized Chalice Dungeons for extending the game's length and the rewarding character upgrade system. He also praised the game for delivering a sense of progression and offering players motivation to finish the game, as well as the narrative for "intertwining with geography of Yharnam". However, he criticized the game's non-divergent class system, as well as the specialization, as he stated that "lack of magic, miracles, pyromancy, archery, heavy, medium, and light options discourages experimentation." He also criticized the game for always forcing players to upgrade and stock weapons only in certain sections of the game.[83]

Destructoid's Chris Carter gave the game a 9/10. While calling the game "the most stable Souls game to date", he praised the game's emphasis on melee combat and raw skill, as well as the game's interesting NPCs, sidequests and interactions. He criticized the game's less-inspiring setting and environment design, limited competitive multiplayer, low replay value, as well as the occasional blocked area in the game, which he stated "feel less sprawling and less replayable" than previous FromSoftware games. He summarized the review by saying that "Bloodborne is an interesting mix of everything FromSoftware has learned throughout its storied developmental career. FromSoftware is still one of the only developers left that makes you work for your satisfaction, and Bloodborne is damn satisfying."[79]

IGN's Brandin Tyrrel gave the game a 9.1 out of 10 in saying: "Bloodborne is an amazing, exacting, and exhausting pilgrimage through a gorgeous land that imposes the feeling of approaching the bottom of a descent into madness. Though extended load times and minor frame-rate hitches have an effect on the pacing, it's otherwise an intensely challenging and rewarding game. There's an incredible power to unlocking its mysteries, and in succeeding, despite its demand for a pound of your flesh."[84]

Game Revolution's Nick Tan gave the game an 8/10, criticizing the restrictive builds and the unreliable firearms. He also noted that the game suffered from lock-on and camera issues. He summarized the review by saying that "Though not as refined and freeform as some of its predecessors, it continues in the longstanding Souls tradition of lending credence to challenging games and making the seemingly Sisphyean task of conquering ruthless, malformed monstrosities possible and downright commendable."[81]

Michael McWhertor of Polygon scored the game a 9 out of 10. He thought that the story was "intriguing", said the guns were "unlike any other video game gun", in that the Visceral attacks give the player "one of the best feelings in any game", praised the game's difficulty for providing satisfying encounters, and thought the cryptic mysteries did a good job at encouraging the player to progress through the game. He also praised the game's environments, enemies, and weapons, as he thought they were well designed and offered the player freedom and variety. McWhertor's main criticisms were concerning the load times and technical issues. He found that the game performed noticeably worse when playing with another player, saying that the frame rate "takes a hit". He also found some mechanics and items confusing, and disliked the fact that there are lots of loading screens in quick succession.[85]

The game was positively reviewed outside of the traditional gaming media. New York Daily News gave it a full five-star rating, stating that it is "the perfect marriage, blending mechanics that seem easy to learn with gameplay and challenge that demands mastery and ingenuity."[86] The Guardian also gave it a full five-star rating, stating that "elegance, precision, humour, and challenge make Bloodborne irresistible."[87] The Telegraph also awarded it a full five-star rating, concluding that "it's the digital edition of a round-the-world trip to foreign continents, each turning of a corner providing equal helpings of excitement and trepidation."[88]

After receiving criticism for long load times, FromSoftware announced that it was working on a patch to improve the issue.[89] Two patches addressing various issues, including reducing the loading times, were released in April 2015.[90][91]

Sales[edit]

The game sold 152,567 physical retail copies within the first week of release in Japan,[92] ranking first place within the Japanese software sales charts for that particular week.[93] Bloodborne debuted at number two in the UK software retail chart, behind Battlefield Hardline by 22,500 units.[94] In North America, Bloodborne was the second best selling software in March, despite being released at the end of the month.[95] By April 2015, the game had sold over one million copies,[96] and by September 2015, the game had over two million copies sold.[97] Soon after release, Sony stated that the game's sales exceeded their expectations.[98]

Accolades[edit]

Bloodborne was awarded the 2015 Game of the Year by several video game review sites, including GameTrailers,[99] Eurogamer,[100] Destructoid,[101] and Edge,[102] along with being awarded the "2015 Playstation 4 Game of the Year" by IGN.[103] Bloodborne was nominated for eight Golden Joystick Awards, including Game of the Year, PlayStation Game of the Year, Best Original Game, Best Multiplayer Game, Best Storytelling, Best Visual Design, Best Audio, and Best Gaming Moment.[104] In 2017, Game Informer ranked Bloodborne #11 on their Top 100 RPGs of all time list.

List of awards and nominations
Award Category Result
Golden Joystick Awards 2015[105] Best Original Game Won
Best Storytelling Nominated
Best Visual Design Nominated
Best Audio Nominated
Best Multiplayer Game Nominated
Best Gaming Moment Nominated
Game of the Year Nominated
PlayStation Game of the Year Won
The Game Awards 2015[106] Game of the Year Nominated
Best Role Playing Game Nominated
Best Art Direction Nominated
Game Developers Choice Awards 2016[107] Game of the Year Nominated
Best Design Nominated
Best Visual Art Nominated
12th British Academy Games Awards[108] Game Design Won
NAVGTR Awards[109] Game, Original Action Won
Original Dramatic Score, New IP Won
Sound Editing in a Game Cinema Nominated
Art Direction, Fantasy Nominated
Game Design, New IP Nominated
Game Engineering Nominated
Game of the Year Nominated

References[edit]

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External links[edit]


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