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Playstation Experience: Hands-On With Bloodborne

Dark Souls is an underground phenomenon. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more passionate and hardcore fanbase than that of FromSoftware’s signature dungeon crawler. It’s odd that you usually find such great success with a title as niche as Dark Souls. With its calling card being punishing difficulty and the learning curve never straying from being as unforgiving as possible, it seemed like FromSoftware was destined to stay packed tightly in its niche where it feels comfortable. That was the case…until Bloodborne.

Among the longest lines at Playstation Experience, Bloodborne has the most buzz surrounding it of any show at the event. I for one have been on pins and needles waiting to give it a shot. When I picked up the controller and took my first steps it instantly felt familiar, yet different. Everything you do in Dark Souls is deliberate. Movement, offense, defense—everything you do is slow and brooding. Bloodborne takes that feeling and gives it a small shot of adrenaline. A lot of Dark Souls fans have been apprehensive towards Bloodborne, thinking that their favorite series is taking more of a turn toward fast-paced arcade action. Let me assure you: this is not the case.

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Bloodborne‘s change of speed, as noticeable as it may be, does not detract in any way from the full experience of what has made the spiritual series great. The monsters are huge, the traps are frustrating—and slightly hilarious—and death is still high in volume. In terms of approach to combat, I for one adore Bloodborne‘s decision to favor offense over defense in this title. Wielding a huge sword (much like the one you’ve seen in most trailers and promo shots) makes you feel like an unstoppable beast. The action is much more twitch-based than its predecessors, leaning on your ability to react and adapt to your enemies rather than sitting and waiting for the next opening.

The game runs a little rough at times with a few lag spikes and odd textures here and there. These are normal things to see during demos, so the closer we get to a March release, the less apparent these hiccups should be. I don’t deny FromSoftware’s ability to send us a polished finished product, but I wouldn’t be shocked if this game saw one more tiny delay. I’m also a bit skeptical of ranged weapons in the game. It seems like having a good go-to stun would be an effective strategy for a game like this, but the execution seems off to me. This may be just a play-style preference that isn’t meant to appeal to every player, but I felt it was something that should be mentioned. One thing’s for sure: my first playthrough will be sword-slinging or bust.

Bloodborne is slated for release in North America March 24, 2015.



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