If our world ever becomes some horrible, medieval, magical, fantasy realm on the brink of disaster, I hearby give you all my permission to ditch me the first chance you get. You won’t hurt my feelings. Really. After my Bloodborne performance at the PlayStation Experience, I’d encourage it. Because yes, Bloodborne is brutal and, somehow, it felt even more challenging than Dark Souls when I played it this past weekend.
I shouldn’t have to tell you that I died.
I’m going to go ahead and blame it on the game being in an Alpha state, despite the fact that my failure was probably all my fault. There were no healing items or health-restoring save points in the Bloodbourne demo. If I ended up overwhelmed by enemies, I would die, find myself at the beginning of the dungeon area, with all of the enemies restored and waiting for me.
Even the fact that Bloodborne is so similar to Dark Souls didn’t help. The control scheme is familiar, with the attacks mapped to the R1 and R2 buttons and a dodge roll available. It helped, since I could fallback on prior knowledge when enemies swarmed my character. Also appreciated is a quickstep dodge that is triggered when locked onto an enemy. It kept my character from getting too far away from the target, but still allowed me to avoid a hit and resume the assault.
I suppose it had something to do with the faster pace. Bloodborne is a quicker game than Dark Souls, even though it doesn’t feel different. Rather, it’s more like an evolution. My avatar felt swifter, and perhaps even more precise—especially since there was a gun handy and the main weapon could shape shift between two forms. Yet, it didn’t alter the overall feel of the game. The formula remains the same. Rather, the evolving weapon, which provided increased range, seemed like a necessary change in tactics to adapt to the situation at hand. I needed to try and create combos on the fly, but switching between weapon forms and employing use of the gun when necessary, because otherwise I would have been quickly overwhelmed.
As revealed in the Bloodborne panel and announcements, the people in the Chalice dungeons will always attack. Characters are invaders and will be punished. These enemies aren’t attacking alone either. I’d say most of the encounters I saw had more than one opponent assaulting me, and if I didn’t have that faster pace, I would have died even sooner than I already did. This made me glad that of a few other things revealed about Bloodbourne. The Chalice is going to be optional, for one, outside of the 10 areas around Yharnam. It will be found below, and the three layer map will have multiple areas with Holy Chalices within. If someone chooses to perform a ritual, a fixed dungeon will be randomly generated.
Why fixed? Because From Software wants Bloodborne to be a social endeavor. After experiencing the demo, this is the only reason I think I may survive. Every aspect of the dungeon will be procedurally generated, even the boss, and the goal is for people to share their tactics for overcoming it and working together to complete them. Each one will be huge, far bigger and more expansive than the one seen in the PSX demo and keynote footage, with many traps designed to trip up players.
With the demo being as difficult as it was, I welcome the notion that people will be able to come together with Bloodborne. It too confirmed my feelings that this is building on the foundations of Dark Souls and Demon Souls before it. Especially since a phantom/hollow/effigy system could be present and it sounds as though the character customization options will be similar to the previous games. It was clear that From Software is building on everything it has learned and taking into account feedback from players to enhance a familiar formula.
We may not be able to “Praise the sun!” in Bloodborne, but I’m confident after dying twice at the PlayStation Experience that something similar and, perhaps as one person suggested during the panel, we’ll get the opportunity to “Praise the moon!”