In the early days of the PlayStation 3, one game was silently released that would go on to become a classic: Demon's Souls. This game, designed for only the most hardcore of gamers, would go on to be one of the PS3's most defining exclusive games. When the spiritual successor, Dark Souls, went on to be multi-platform, some lamented the fact that the series would never again take full advantage of the PS3's power. History may repeat itself in the best possible way, however, as Sony has contracted From Software to bring them yet another spiritual successor to the Souls series as a PS4 exclusive: Bloodborne.
What is Bloodborne?
Bloodborne is the next entry in the "Souls" series, just without the name. Everything from the interface to the combat system is a direct callback to the past games in From Software's library. Death is around every corner, monsters are 10 times your size and victory will come from the remnants of constant defeats.
However, rather than set itself in yet another tired medieval setting, Bloodborne sheds its old skin to reveal something different: a 19th century look, complete with flowing trenchcoats, Victorian era cities and Gothic backdrops.
Story details are light but what we do know is that you, as the protagonist, are thrust into a city in the grips of illness that has driven all the citizens mad. The dark, bleak setting that past From Software games have become known for is abundant here.
One major change to the series is the removal of all magic spells and the addition of firearms. However, this change isn't as exciting as it sounds: In essence, firearms will function exactly like magic. Magic missiles are replaced with bullets while powerful close-combat magic is replaced with a blast from a blunderbuss. Firearms will work exactly as they do in the real-world, as rifles will be worthless when your opponent is up close, while the opposite is true for shotguns.
The "Regain" Mechanic
New to Bloodborne is the Regain mechanic. As you lose life, it won't instantly vanish -- instead, a portion of your life bar will turn yellow, enabling you to regain your health by attacking your enemies. While the Souls games focused on the defensive, Bloodborne is a decidedly offensive affair.
To compliment this new mechanic is the fact that every weapon now has two states: a close-range state that inflicts quicker strikes but less damage, and a long-range state that inflicts slower strikes with greater damage.
From Software has also stated that items will play a much bigger role in this title than in their previous games.
Full Offense, but a Little Defense Too
While Bloodborne is focused on offensive gameplay over defensive, it has been announced that shields will be included in the game for players who like to play defensively. However, From Software has stated that shields won't be that good, and will quickly cause a player's death if they rely on them too heavily.
New Name, Same Difficulty
If you're worried about Bloodborne being too easy, fear not: From Software have revealed the statistics of demo players from both PAX Prime and Tokyo Game Show.
Less than one percent of demo players were able to kill the final boss, with a similar fraction at Tokyo Game Show. While much of this can be attributed to the fact that there was no tutorial and many players were playing the game for the first time, many demo players mentioned that the game was incredibly hard. Some of these players were even self-professed Dark Souls experts!
Is that not enough to convince you that this game will be difficult? If not, then try this on for size: The developers themselves have stated that the New Game + difficulty is too difficult for even them to defeat! While it seems From Software may have toned down the difficulty on the first Bloodborne playthrough, the second trip through the game will put even hardened Souls veterans to the test!
In an interview with website MCV, project director Hidetaka Miyazaki has gone on record by stating "Yes, there will be a New Game Plus mode. We’re having trouble beating it, though."
In true From Software fashion, the first playthrough seems to be merely an appetizer for the full course. If even the developers are having trouble beating the game, what hope do the rest of us have?
We don't yet know how co-op play works, but we know it's included thanks to this recent Sony trailer:
Japan will be receiving a limited edition for Bloodbourne, consisting of only a PlayStation 4 with the game's logo and box artwork drawn on it, along with a copy of the game.
It's unclear if this bundle will be released outside of Japan.
Bloodborne was originally set to release on February 6th, 2015 in both the United States and Europe. However, this now been pushed back to March 24th in the United States and between March 25th - 27th depending on where you live in Europe. The cause of the delay? "The game needs more polish," that old adage you hear every game company trot out when they need more time to make a game good.
Bloodborne Official TGS Gameplay Trailer | Tokyo Game Show 2014:
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