Depending on the kind of person you are, there are lots of third-person action games to choose from. There’s only one choice if you’re a masochist, however, and that’s Bloodborne. The latest offering from the studio that brought you Dark Souls and Demon Souls, two of the most unequivocally difficult games in recent memory, Bloodborne is an ever-so-slightly more friendly kind of action/adventure/RPG mash-up. But don’t be fooled—it will still punish you like a middle schooler caught with a pocket full of M80s.
The driving force of the game is a flimsy story of a traveller seeking a Holy Grail-ish in a ghostly city called Yharnam. That plot ultimately proves to be unnecessary, because Bloodborne is entirely a showcase for a gamer’s skills and patience. Weapons are deadly and bountiful, ghoulish enemies are hyper-aware and overpowered, and your character is an unstoppable force despite completely useless suspenders. Or, he is until you make a single misstep, in which case he’ll be stopped by screens that say “You Died” over and over and over again.
Still, anyone looking to invest their time and sanity into a game like Bloodborne should know exactly what they’re getting themselves into from the outset. You simply don’t buy this game without being the kind of person who thrives on a challenge. From Software, the oddly named studio behind all of the Souls games as well as Bloodborne, has garnered a well-earned reputation for creating games that rival the difficulty of the golden age of video games, when titles like Ninja Gaiden and Shinobi beat you to the ground and kicked you while you were down. Bloodborne continues that maddening tradition on the latest console hardware, utilizing the PS4’s graphics power to at least make the game, dark as it is, look really good, which is something of a consolation as we get our asses beat in throughout the game.
However, with great struggle comes great reward, and if you can overcome the mile-high adversities relentlessly tossed at you by the game, there is a sense of accomplishment waiting for you on the other side that you just don’t find in other games out there that throw achievements your way just for sticking the disc in the slot. Get ready to celebrate with fist pumps or cry yourself to sleep because, in Bloodborne, you’re either drinking in the sweet nectar of victory or sobbing over horrible gut kicks of defeat.
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