In the first 10 hours or so in From Software’s spiritual successor to their critically acclaimed Souls franchise, I have seen a lot, and died a lot. Literally, the game makes you die in the first 5 minutes just to give you a weapon so you can probably die some more within the next few minutes. So, brings me to the big question people want to know: Is it still hard or dumbed down a bit?
Yes, the game is still very difficult. Enemies are much faster and they can cover a lot of distance in a short amount of time. Even behemoth enemies are somehow very nimble and hit hard and fast making them very dangerous adversaries. Also, a huge dynamic change this time around is that there is no shield in your off-hand. Instead, you are given the option of a pistol or a blunderbuss (I went with the pistol). While, at first glance, it doesn’t look like these firearms do much damage, they are a key focus in the mastery of combat. In the game, the guns are your means of parrying. Timing a shot just right during an enemy’s attack animation will stagger them, where you can do an instant kill attack on a regular enemy and a big chunk of damage to a boss type. The combat is much more fluid as well. Overall, the pace of the game is just much faster, and it honestly feels fresh. I’ve only played around 10 hours or so of Bloodborne, and I can’t see myself going back to play a Dark Souls game now.
There are unique weapons, skills, and items which feel a bit different, but in a good way. Gone are the very complex attributes from the Souls games and they are reduced to just six main attributes now: Vitality (HP), Endurance (Stamina and Resistance), Strength (Heavy Attack Damage), Skill (Light Attack Damage), Bloodtinge (Firearm Damage), and Arcane (Item Damage). These statistics feel much easier to manage, though it is still as challenging as ever to decide what attributes you want to level up. The weapons are very nice. I personally chose the saw cleaver and am very happy with my choice. In all the weapons however, there are two forms of that particular weapon. For example, the small cleaver is a hard hitting folded weapon to start. But by hitting the L1 button now, I can unfold the cleaver into a much longer weapon, that does more damage and has more range at the sacrifice of being slower. So, now even with one weapon we have choices.
While basically keeping the Souls currency system intact, Bloodborne uses blood echoes instead of souls as the games currency and experience points system. You still lose them all when you die, and you still have to return to the spot where you died to retrieve them, but there is a twist. Now, if an enemy kills you, you must avenge yourself and defeat that enemy to retrieve your blood echoes. I think this is a neat little twist and can be very rewarding.
I’m going to touch on co-op a bit because a lot of people seem to be confused about it, and they are in the right. While co-op is very fun and a new tweak this time around, it can be very confusing to get it started. For one, co-op is not available for you until you have defeated the first boss. Afterwards, you will receive an item called the Beckoning Bell. Use this item to summon other player to hopefully help you. To join another player’s game you must acquire the Small Resonant Bell or Sinister Resonant Bell.
The difference in the two is that the Small Resonant Bell allows you to help other players, while the Sinister Bell allows you to join another player’s world in an attempt to kill them and steal their blood echoes. To unlock those two bells, you must visit the Hunter’s Dream on the top level (outside the door where Gehrman is) and there is a bath messenger that will sell the two items to you. However, in order to unlock the messenger, you will need 10 insight, which is acquired by seeing bosses for the first time, defeating bosses, and receiving items known as madman’s knowledge. All this being said, you still need to do even more to join a specific friend’s game.
Communication is key here. To set up a game with a friend, you must go into the network settings in game and set up identical passwords in the password matching option. Then, one player must use the beckoning bell and the other use the resonant bell. It can take up to a few minutes so be patient. Co-op does make the game a bit easier.
For example, on the second boss of a game, my friend played solo and it took him around 20 times to beat the challenging boss. As for me, when he joined my game to play co-op we beat the boss on the first try. I suggest trying the boss solo a few times at first to really get the full experience before requesting help.
Overall, I haven’t had enough time with the game to give it a score yet, but I can already say that I’m having lots of fun and that I recommend it. Dying has never been more fun. I will continue to add more detail to the review as I continue to play it. I hope to have a score up by later next week. For more information on Bloodborne, stay tuned to Gamespresso.