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March Video Game of the Month Runner-Up: BLOODBORNE

March was a great month for gaming, so it was hard to choose just one game. This time around, we’re doing a runner-up. Bloodborne, coming at you via From Software (Demon Souls, Dark Souls), is a satisfying, yet punishing game that delivers on some of the best visuals on the PlayStation 4 to date, and is one of the better exclusive titles on the console. The game has been highly praised across the board and with good reason. If you don’t mind the game crushing your soul (due to difficulty) you are in for one hell of a journey.

Reasons to Play

  • Boss battles that test your skills and are quite memorable
  • Genuine feeling of self-accomplishment due to difficulty
  • Leveling system

Graphics

The locations you visit in this game are some of the best eye candy out there in gaming today. The towns, cathedrals, dungeons, graveyards, and so forth come to live and put you right in the middle of the actions. This is made even better with the ability to be able to smash pots and tombstones and so forth. The Victorian Gothic setting throughout makes it feel close to a 3D Castlevania title, which interesting enough, the Dracula novel was part of the inspiration behind the art that went into this game. The result are several areas that you will remember along with the deadly beasts and townspeople that lurk in them.

Gameplay

The gameplay is where this game truly shines. Bloodborne drives the perfect balance between frustratingly hard and feelings of real accomplishment when you make progress in the game. Every enemy has a specific way they move and attack, especially with bosses. From attack pattern, to enemy placement, to thoughtful boss battles, this game constantly has you on your toes. You have a stamina gauge, which determines how much/far you can run and do attacks. When the gauge runs out, you can’t perform another action until you have some left. While this constantly regenerates itself, if you attempt to do a three hit combo and only have enough stamina for two of those hits, you will be stuck there motionless for that third attack, should you attempt it.

Killing enemies gets you blood echoes, which serve as currency to buy items, but also lets you level up your character. If you die, you lose any blood echoes you collected and there goes possible progress towards leveling up. You can attempt to get your echoes back by going to the spot you died and picking them up off the floor or killing the enemy who cause your death, for a chance at redemption. If you mess up again, that’s it. Those original bunch of echoes are gone forever.

You also get various weapons to able to kill your enemies with. Each weapon has different timing and also a transformation. Each weapon has both a standard and heavy attack, as well a transformation to either a different weapon entirely or a different version of the weapon you have. Secondary weapons will have perhaps more range, be stronger, have more attack, etc. You also have various guns to be able to use.

If you time a gunshot right before being hit, the enemy gets downed temporarily and you have a short bit of time to perform a visceral attack. A visceral attack, if performed correctly, rewards you with massive damage versus that said enemy or boss. You can also get torches as a secondary for seeing certain areas.

Had enough yet? No? Bring it on!

This game simply does not let you take it easy. One wrong misstep could spell certain death for your character. If there is anything worse than dying over and over again and seeing that “You Died” on the screen, it is the load times, which are one of few cons about the game.

If anything, they are an incentive to die less and do better. Although there seems to be a workaround if you leave the game idle long enough to make the game easier, that takes the thrill and enjoyment out of the stock game. This game is intentionally hard and the beginning is meant to break you.

If you can’t last the first few hours, the game probably isn’t for you. If you can, even though things don’t get any easier, you just can’t step away from the game. You want that next piece of armor. You want that stronger weapon. You want to face hordes of enemies the right way and with enough health to strike down that boss that awaits you.

The gave gives you a certain drive through killing you again and again to do better. It is similar to how people felt in the older days of video games in which you feel proud of getting to that next area. This game tells you all you need to know from the start and then just throws you straight into the action.

No tutorials, arrows that tell you where to go, and the complete freedom to roam in the open world makes you feel good not just about your kills but also finding the right way. Bloodborne does not and will not hold your hand. If you are okay with this, I highly recommend giving this game a shot. If you get frustrated easily, spare yourself the broken controller. If you can indeed embrace the challenge though, you’re reading about a game very much worth your time and certainly your effort as well.

 

Cover image via

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Categories: Video Game Reviews

Author:Victor Vellon

Victor has been gaming since his early childhood and plays many games. From retro to modern, his gaming knows no bounds. When not writing or playing games, he can be found engaging conversation on the Twitterverse as well as managing Video Gaming Hard Corps and it's many outlets.

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