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Bloodborne: the soul of souls

Bloodborne is the game that gives you reason to buy a PS4 instantly from game stall, and then sell it the next day after you die over a hundred times. I believe most gamers have heard of the soul series from From Software – Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2. This series features lots of death with very limited storytelling. It requires hard core game skills and immense endurance. As a spirit successor of the series, Bloodborne has nailed it when the players find out that they first awaken bare handed, find a wolf down the stairs, get killed in two minutes after pressing the new game button, and find out that they must die once before getting any weapons. The only major drawback of this is the long loading time after death, which drives players mad when they die so frequently. Some gamers joke about it as the new penalty of death, and it was implemented to give players time for reflection.  

The user interface, like the game itself, is very simple. The player can still see the same phrase from Souls ‘YOU DIED’ in Times New Roman so frequently that you will start complaining about why couldn’t just design a new font type. The developer abandoned the fancies and focused on game play. When monsters dash through the garden, players can see petals in the air. When the boss strikes heavily, players can feel its pressure by their blown coat. Compared to the Souls, Bloodborne has lowered its difficulty, and fastened its game pace. There is no such thing as parry or block in Bloodborne – only one shield is available and it was meant to mock Souls’ players. In order to fight, the players must master rolling and sweeping dashes. They must learn to counterstrike their enemies with the firearm in their left hand. The health regain system allows players to recover lost health by striking back at the attackers. This encourages the players to become aggressive.

Bloodborne-Cleric-Beast

Although stories are not explicit in the game, they are memorable. In Bloodborne players can only gather information from descriptions of items and a few lines from NPCs. Due to this, players can only guess what happened from loots and realise something has been done wrong afterwards. One of the most impressive NPCs is Father Gascoigne. He can be found as the second boss. In battle, if you use a music box from a little girl, who has asked the player to find her mother, Father Gascoigne will react to it. Later, after he has been defeated, the player can find a red brooch in the area, which had belonged to the little girl’s mother. When the player gives the little girl the brooch, her sister takes her position and asks you to find her white ribbon. The player can then find her ribbon which has been dropped by a pig demon. It can then be returned to the little girl’s sister. When the player next reloads the area, they can see a girl by a cliff with a white ribbon in her hand.

To describe Bloodborne accurately, I would say that it is a game of deduction. It keeps what is core about action games, for example, thrilling fights, and scraps other unnecessary elements. It wouldn’t force you to read codex and listen to NPC’s autobiography, or put lots of collectives that you will never complete. Most of the time players just engage in killing monsters and exploring. Compared to other games where their stories overwhelm its playability (such as The Order:1886 and Beyond: Two Souls), Bloodborne is polar opposite.

About Wing Lam Kar

w.l.kar@student.reading.ac.uk'

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