Bloodborne Review: Beasts Of The Victorian Wild

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Talking directly about the levels themselves, what sets Bloodborne apart is how open its world feels. It’s a return to basics, with a bigger emphasis on exploration than following a linear path. There are multiple places to progress at once, whether it be laterally, ascending to heights or exploring depths. Rewarding is it to uncover a hidden entrance, shortcuts back to restoration lamps (think bonfires) or entire new levels with an inquisitive mind and a push out the door. Forests act as such with nooks, crannies, uneven paths and overgrowth to an amazing degree.

Each area feels lived in, with enemies that thematically make sense for their surroundings and items placed in clever spots.

As much as this series of game types by From Software push the notion of difficulty through combat, more should be said about taking the training wheels off for what exactly to do. The story of Bloodborne tells itself through its intense lore and through interactions with NPC’s, item descriptions and where characters and items are appropriately placed. A lot of the in-game history and sense of self might be lost on the casual player, yet From Software believes in their audience enough not to lower the level of their discourse. To see this trend continue is always a blessing.

I don’t want to get too much in depth about the story of Bloodborne, as so much of it relies on discovery and piecing things together. I will say that, for the most part, the developers deliver on their goal of building a universe within its own right. Some may have disparaging thoughts about how the game ends, yet I feel it makes sense as to the overall development of the game’s plot. As with most From Software games, the importance is skewed way more into the journey itself, which provides a fulfilling adventure throughout.

Repeated playthroughs are a necessity, as there are a lot of hidden secrets and nods to games past in Bloodborne. After completing the game (over the course of 30 hours) and starting a new, Strength-based character, within the first 2 hours I had stumbled across a side quest that gave a back story to a prominent early boss. The game is littered with those “aha” moments, requiring an astute eye and keen exploration skills to get the full picture. You never know when a new NPC or set of relatively normal items can come back to bear great meaning in the end.

More so than before comes the importance of sound design in Bloodborne. When playing to the shadows, discordant sound effects and folly sounds of different enemies play key parts into building that hanging sense of dread. Things like the dragging of an axe on the ground does wonders to build upon a sense of unease. It pairs excellently with the game’s soundtrack, which boosts the excitement of harrowing boss battles to that extra degree. Usage of both the choir and the symphonic orchestra plays brilliantly to the scene, combining with the visuals to perfect the game’s vision of its scenes.

While there is a lot to love about Bloodborne, it doesn’t come without some serious disappointments. The chief among said complaints; outlandishly long wait times. For a game that rewards pressing the advantage and constant death, it should absolutely not take 30 or more seconds for the game to load back into play. When noting the length of the game (dozens, if not hundreds, of hours await those looking for full completion), it’s shocking to think that players will be wasting hours of their life looking at a Bloodborne name logo while waiting to resume the action. At the very least, they could have provided item descriptions to look at, like From Software used to do!

This game needed a little bit more tightening up in order to carry over the level of quality assurance expected from the series’ developers.

It’s clear why 60 FPS was not a target framerate in the development of Bloodborne; because hitting 30 FPS, consistently, is still a target now. Not only does the framerate dip in the heaviest of action scenes (a room in a library comes to mind), but it drops into the teens when playing with or against online players with bad connections. Additionally, the game has major clipping issues when it comes to combat. Not only can you attack through walls, but certain creatures are too big to fit through doorways, where they offer long-range attacks that can be countered from meters of in-game distance away. I’ve even seen bosses clip through pillars and walls to avoid my attacks, which cheapen an already punishing combat system.

What resonates the most, for me, is the first time I died in Bloodborne (when I was not expected to). It came meters away from the first steps onto the Yharnam pavement. Taking in the densely-packed Victorian era settings around me, I accidentally clipped into a fence, where I could not escape despite all my best efforts. Mere minutes after killing my first beast, the system could not sort itself out, with me just floating in mid-air. Ultimately, the game chose to kill me instead and return me back to the nearby lamp. Welcome to Bloodborne, indeed.

If this game is a victim of anything, it is of time. A video game is often the sum of its parts, so when you consider how janky, improperly responsive and unpolished Bloodborne is, you can’t help but feel disappointed. At the heart, there is an excellent game that creates a sense of awe and suspense for what lies around the corner. This game needed a little bit more tightening up in order to carry over the level of quality assurance expected from competent game developers. A solid framerate is never guaranteed with From Software, but half-minute breaks in the action dampens the tempo a considerable deal. They’ve done better in the past in this regard, and it’s a shame that the production value is rushed this time around.


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Bloodborne is a rather novel approach at creating a new IP through a familiar style of gaming development. Miyazaki really outdid himself in molding a world fit for foul beasts and creatures, while tailoring development towards a Victorian gothic appeal. Gameplay and character progression of old might have been leaned on in its creation, but it is in the changes towards frantic, on-the-fly action that revitalizes the overall experience. One has to wonder if the game is being rushed to market, however, with many disappointing technical faults that hamper its excellence. They are the only things holding back the true lethal, visceral brutality that is Bloodborne.

A copy of this game was provided to GameSided for the purpose of this review. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.

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