One of the most enticing exclusives revealed during E3 last week is action-RPG, Bloodborne. Although only showcased with a gruesome CGI announcement trailer, we have seen some gameplay footage – and we’ve come to the conclusion that this could be something very special. Here are five reasons to be as excited as we are about Bloodborne.
IT’S A NEW IP FROM THE CREATORS OF DEMONS’ SOULS
Not only is Bloodborne developed by FromSoftware, it’s also directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki, the director of Demons’ Souls and Dark Souls. This will be especially good news for those franchise fans who felt that Dark Souls 2 was a little easy in places and less of an RPG. Both earlier games also felt decidedly creepier than Dark Souls 2, which suits the premise and setting of Bloodborne perfectly.
It’s safe to say that we can expect subtle RPG mechanics and character progression, as well as a variety of ways to tackle the game’s many horrors. Gameplay clips (which are likely showcasing early builds at this point) show mysterious wisps travelling from slain enemies into the main character, suggesting an experience and levelling system similar to From’s other fantasy RPGs. The familiar cycle of dying and retrying may also be present, but we’ve yet to see how that might be kept in context here. Either way, we trust Hidetaka-San completely.
THE SETTING IS BEAUTIFULLY GRIM
If there’s one thing FromSoftware do even better than combat, it’s world-building, and we’re expecting big things from Bloodborne’s setting. The city of Yharham is overrun by a hellish endemic that has transformed its denizens into mutated beasts. There is a distinct Victorian flavour to the city, like an even darker version of Dishonored’s Dunwall, and the meagre lighting creates an atmosphere of intense dread, grimly evident in the few short gameplay videos we’ve seen. And yet, somehow, there’s a perverse beauty to it all that you just cannot deny.
It has been hinted that Yharham will feature shortcuts similar to those seen in Lordran and Drangleic, allowing you to move around the city more and more freely. We can expect From to omit a map and compass from the hero’s arsenal, instead tasking the player with finding their own way through and learning the best routes into and out of certain areas. Back alleys, clock towers and (we hope) grimy waterways and aqueducts should make for some great exploration, and with danger slithering along every street, we don’t expect to ever relax in Yharham.
IT’S NEXT-GEN ONLY
Being a PlayStation 4 exclusive means that Bloodborne was built specifically to take advantage of next-gen technology. For a start, it looks incredible, and we can safely expect the framerate to sit at a slick 60fps throughout. The PS4 Share function will be particularly handy to capture and post boss fights and shortcut locations, and the option to easily stream speed-runs will be a huge draw for many gamers.
There is a possibility of PvP and co-op multiplayer similar to the Souls games given that it was pioneered in PS3-exclusive Demons’ Souls, though it’s more likely that the main online function that carries over is the option to leave signs and notes. The premise lends itself to the concept of multiple players exploring the city, so we’ll cross our fingers that Bloodborne utilises the power of the PS4 to deliver a smooth online experience.
THE STORY IS WONDERFULLY MACABRE
Once a centre of learning, Yharham was home to a legendary cure-all now sought only by the brave, the insane or the desperate. Which category our protagonist falls into is unclear, but it’s said that he (as far as we know, there is only one protagonist, and he’s a he) is suffering a mysterious ailment himself and has come to Yharham looking for a cure. Similarly to Dark Souls and its sequel, the premise of Bloodborne centres on the struggle of a solitary warrior to stay alive and stave off a fate worse than death (in Souls, that fate is becoming Hollow; in Bloodborne, it’s allowing his illness to defeat him). There are many parallels to draw between the two, and it wouldn’t be entirely surprising if there are subtle links between the universes.
We are expecting NPCs, item descriptions and scattered tomes and missives to exposit Yharham’s backstory and, although it’s probably silly, our fingers are crossed that the plot and history are more detailed and exposed than the hazy, deliberately ambiguous history of Lordran and Drangleic.
THE COMBAT IS FAST-PACED AND AGGRESSIVE
What’s immediately evident from the leaked reveal video and the footage we’ve seen from E3 is that the combat certainly apes the Souls games, but the main character has no shield and doesn’t do all that much rolling or evading. It’s unlikely you won’t be able to change or upgrade your weapons and clothing (after all the promos for Dark Souls 2 showed the same set of equipment every time), but all we’ve seen so far is the shotgun/club & machete/bonesaw combo.
It suggests a mix of ranged and melee combat as opposed to an onus on measured blocking and evasion – a more aggressive and direct, results-driven combat style. While every fight could still be your last, the best defence here is to kill the enemy as quickly as possible – which makes sense if everyone is carrying an horrific disease in their blood. We’ve seen no hint of magic or item use, and the gameplay we’ve seen has been bereft of any kind of HUD or UI, so we’re speculating here, but it seems likely that there will be varying combat styles to adopt and upgrade throughout the game.
So there you go: five bona fide reasons to be excited (and a smattering of wild speculation, too). Bloodborne is expected to release in 2015, so there’s a while to go yet, but we’ll keep you updated as new info becomes available.