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Why Bloodborne is the new Dark Souls

Friday, 27th June 2014 16:09 GMT By Matt Martin

Bloodborne is a Victorian horror action RPG and a spiritual successor to the Souls games. Here’s eight reasons to get excited for Miyazaki’s latest.

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Bloodborne isn’t a sequel to Demons Souls or a continuation of the Dark Souls brand – it’s an entirely new, original IP.

That was the message during my Bloodborne briefing by From Software and director Hidetaki Miyazaki, but I wasn’t buying it at the start and I certainly didn’t believe it after watching 50 minutes of gameplay. If you apply the duck test it’s clear to me it’s Demons Souls and Dark Souls and more – and that’s something to be celebrated, not ashamed of.

Here are eight reasons why all Dark Souls fans should be rubbing their gauntlets in anticipation of Bloodborne:

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It comes from great stock

Bloodborne is being developed by From Software, directed by Hidetaki Miyazaki and produced by Sony Japan as an exclusive for the PlayStation 4. I don’t need to tell you Miyazaki worked on the original Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls, and From Software worked on both, as well as Dark Souls 2 (and Xbox 360 gem Ninja Blade). But don’t underestimate Sony Japan’s involvement in this. An exclusive means it gets special care and attention for the PS4 platform and a proper marketing budget. If Sony puts its weight behind it, it’s an indication of something very special.

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Miyazaki is influenced by classic gothic horror

Victorian and gothic horror have been major influences for director Miyazaki, and you can smell the inspiration from classic literature like Dracula, Frankenstein, Jekyll & Hyde and Murders in the Rue Morgue. Bloodborne is also a story of man as beast, humanity versus its dark nature – the story concerns humans that have been turned into monsters by a virus in the fictional city of Yharnham. The city looks like Victorian London or Edinburgh, but Miyazaki says he doesn’t want it associated with one place, and it’s more influenced by Eastern European architecture and structures.

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Fights are proactive, not defensive

Miyazaki wants the player to fight for his or her life with every confrontation – so far, so Dark Souls. But where he claims it differs is in encouraging the player to press the attack, to pro-actively battle the enemy. A criticism with Dark Souls is that you stand with sword and shield and wait for enemies to strike before countering with your own blows. In Bloodborne you must attack first confidently and without hesitation, or run the risk of becoming quickly overwhelmed.

We witnessed the main character regularly tackle multiple enemies – in one case, three monsters at close quarters, a fourth with a firearm, and an unpredictable and vicious dog. There’s a lot of dodging – but not to escape – more as a way of staying a step ahead of your enemies.

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Transformative weapons and firearms add depth to combat

Weapons in Bloodborne have at least two different states, allowing you to transform them for alternative attacks. You can transform the weapon during combat too, almost instantaneously, to take advantage of multiple attacks. These weapons (like the Saw Cleaver shown during our demo) can be tweaked and strengthened throughout the game, although not upgraded significantly.

Bloodborne also introduces firearms to combat, but not for long-range attacks. Guns are used as close-quarters weapons, usually as more defensive or counter attacks, and are devastating at close range.

There’s beauty in the beast

What we’ve seen so far is only an alpha build with no HUD but it already looks pretty damn stunning. The moonlight reflections on the cobblestones, the incredible detail in the architecture, the decorative stones and the carved gargoyles, the wet blood on clothing, grass blowing in the breeze, the fumes and smoke as bodies are sacrificed, the autumnal colours – this is shaping up to be one of best looking games on PS4 so far. Check out the leaked gameplay footage if you don’t believe us.

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Exploration will be rewarding

The game is set in one expansive, interconnected location, but Miyazaki promises to offer lots of variety in the different districts of Yharnham. There will be shortcuts and hidden areas as you’d expect, but it’s not just about exploring the physical world. As in Dark Souls, there are untold stories of the city to uncover, none of which are likely to be presented in plain sight.

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Enemies will stalk the map

The Dark Souls games are a little stiff. Enemies appear in the same spots every time you approach an area and there are only a handful of other characters who dot the vast maps, dishing out cryptic advice (that’s not necessarily a criticism, it’s partly why the Dark Souls games are so great). But in Bloodborne enemies will be wandering around the environment, meaning you can’t expect them to be in the same place twice. Learning by rote is out, improvising is in.

Also, the population of Yharnham has a purpose. You can help save some of the NPCs from a monster attack if you want to, and in return they might help you with a boss fight later on in the same district of the city.

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Is bloodletting the new soul collecting?

This is part speculation from us, but there’s something more to the frequent and messy bloodletting than just visual effects. The game is awash with blood, and when asked if there was a gameplay reason behind it Miyazaki just replied that he hadn’t decided if it was to be more than just graphical. Maybe the main character benefits from soaking up the blood in the same way as you collect souls from the dead in Dark Souls. It would certainly tie-in with the name of the game, wouldn’t it? Blood born, indeed.

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31 Comments

  1. Legendaryboss

    I thought this was going to be a Dave article, you know given the massive hard on he has for the souls series.

    #1 4 months ago
  2. OrbitMonkey

    Not played any of the previous games, but I have to play this.

    Looks good & I have to know if I can handle the challenge. I’d better stock up on gamepads!

    #2 4 months ago
  3. Game Hunter

    @OrbitMonkey keep remembering how much they cost and you’ll do just fine.it’s working for me since 4 years ago when I bought my X360.couldn’t get a second controller because the price is too high here (150K).

    #3 4 months ago
  4. polygem

    thx for the update. sounds great to me. seems like they really are trying to make this feel different to the souls games eventhough they also obviously borrow a lot from them at the same time – it could work pretty well. can´t wait to get my hands on it and try it out. it´s a no brainer, day one purchase for me anyway and this game announcement was the final little push to buy into the playstation again. the question is, what are they doing with the souls ip then? they have that one as well. oh boy…

    @1: man, somehow you always make it sound as if passion for something is a bad thing…

    #4 4 months ago
  5. Erthazus

    The biggest thing i’m excited about is that battles now are proactive and not defensive… And That can be fucking annoying to be honest at the same time.

    you can change the formula and make some hard bosses with this.

    #5 4 months ago
  6. Legendaryboss

    @polygem Oh god forbid someone makes a joke without someone misunderstanding! From now on unless you understand my posts I’m not wasting my time. Never said it was good or bad, you jumped to that conclusion.

    #6 4 months ago
  7. polygem

    Aye Aye Captain but i know your shit – It smells.

    #7 4 months ago
  8. Shinji10TH

    Exclusive = No Buy, they didn’t even mention PC, which is, if Sony doesn’t know, not a concurrent platform.

    #8 4 months ago
  9. pukem0n

    no buy, game looks stupid, just like dark souls

    #9 4 months ago
  10. Templar0929

    @pukem0n Your comment is extremely stupid.

    #10 4 months ago
  11. Game Hunter

    @pukem0n Dave will ban you unless you take that back

    #11 4 months ago
  12. Clupula

    @Shinji10TH Yeah, that’d make total sense. “Hi. We’re Sony and we’re so stupid that we’re going to take the exclusive game, designed to make you want to buy a PS4 and stick it on PC so that people who want to play it don’t necessarily have to buy our system! Yay! Now, we’re going to kick ourselves in the balls repeatedly, because that’s just as smart an idea.”

    #12 4 months ago
  13. OrbitMonkey

    Its a testament to the quality of the series that Sony have secured its exclusivity once again.

    If I remember correctly the origional Dark Souls was put out on a limited release, Japan only (?) By a Sony convinced it would sink…

    Now its a hot exclusive.

    #13 4 months ago
  14. OneLifeCycle

    Gamers just love not getting along…

    #14 4 months ago
  15. Clupula

    @OrbitMonkey You are actually incorrect. It was put out as a regular title by Sony with regular distribution in Japan but did quite poorly over there, prompting Sony to not bother to localize it to the West. However, when Atlus brought it over, it was way more successful here (much like Valkyria Chronicles, actually), thus getting Namco excited enough about From Software’s Western sales potential to get them to do the Dark Souls games.

    #15 4 months ago
  16. Shinji10TH

    @Clupula Most PC only gamers (I’m not, I buy consoles, but the current-gen is trash atm) won’t buy a PS4 or an XOne, and since the previous souls games were released on PC (After FS acknowledged this community), FS will be the ones kicking themselves in the balls, and Sony will be the big stupid anti-PC publisher that made them do so, and it’s not going to be pretty.

    #16 4 months ago
  17. Clupula

    @Shinji10TH No, they won’t be, because plenty of people (myself included) were convinced to buy a PS4 by it being an exclusive. The only people who will be kicking themselves in the balls are those who are sticking to only PC but really, really want this game, because they’re not going to get it until whenever in the future that there are PS4 emulators.

    Sony never puts their games on PC (except for the SOE games, but that’s a different division) and that’s a very smart move by them. Exclusives are the exact reason why people buy a particular console. The bottom line is that there will be enough people like me who will buy the system to get the game to make up for people like you who won’t. That’s what Sony and From Software are counting on.

    Demon’s Souls wasn’t available on PC and that sold pretty damn well (in the West, at least). Well enough that it became a franchise.

    #17 4 months ago
  18. Clupula

    If Demon’s Souls, which was a PS3 exclusive, hadn’t sold as well as it did, there wouldn’t have been a Dark Souls to put on PC in the first place.

    #18 4 months ago
  19. Shinji10TH

    @Clupula What can I say ? Enjoy.
    And I was thinking that “PC MASTER RACE” were the worst fan-boys.

    #19 4 months ago
  20. DreamCleaver

    @Clupula: Good for Sony, yes, but not necessarily for From Software, as they shut out a part of their fanbase.

    And getting a PS4, when I have a good gaming rig, is just dumb. There are only a handful exclusives available on it at the moment so it’s not worth the entry price, if you ask me.

    #20 4 months ago
  21. BrahManDude

    alot of hate for a game they show little of just because it’s an exclusive, especially the PC crowd which i can care less because most of them are hackers on Dark Souls 1 & 2 that i have encountered alot when playing on PC and they probably pirated both games

    #21 4 months ago
  22. Erthazus

    @BrahManDude So how you encountered hackers on steam if they pirated the game?

    Stupid or just a fanboy? Choose one please.

    #22 4 months ago
  23. Shinji10TH

    @Erthazus Both I would say ^^

    #23 4 months ago
  24. DBGT

    Neither Bloodborne nor Uncharted or LittleBigPlanet will force me to buy a PS4, this exclusive thing really ……………..
    If the people like your console they will buy it, and of course Sony knows that, their exclusives will rise their sales, if they were really want the people to enjoy the maximum experience -as they claim- then they will publish the game on the other platforms, but what can I say! The business is the priority and only the business.

    #24 4 months ago
  25. DBGT

    @Erthazus probably both

    #25 4 months ago
  26. Lounds

    People moaning that this is an exclusive are idiots. It’s business, SONY want to monopolise and have the market share they lost from the PS2 era, make a killer game or app is all it takes for a console to sell well. People are right in think they could make more money having it on other platforms but why would they when they can get you hooked into the PS4′s market the same way Apple does with the app store and the iPhone.

    #26 4 months ago
  27. Panthro

    Might just be the first PS4 exclusive worth playing

    #27 4 months ago
  28. zoopdeloop

    @Lounds
    +1
    agree,they need their heads seriously examined.It’s like asking Ninty to let publish their franchises on PC, because last time i heard Bloodborne is developed by Sony alongside From,not just published.This isn’t Bayonetta 2…
    From Software doesn’t lose anything by this,on the contrary while on the other hand they could be making another multiplatform DS or a new IP alongside with it or down the line.

    #28 4 months ago
  29. ManuOtaku

    I hope it maintains the world and the sensations transmited by it, and all the key touches that make this games a souls game.

    But i do hope the fighting mechanics are different, more action oriented. But with their particular touch.

    As For being an exclusive, well thats why i do recommend getting all consoles, of course for those who can afford it, but if you dont want to miss any great exclusive, owning all is a good solution.

    #29 4 months ago
  30. Denmark

    The whole blood thing is a bit much, excessive.
    Bit gross, but it should be a quality game…just not really proving to be in my tastes, where as the souls games strike many balances where I feel at home.

    #30 3 months ago
  31. Denmark

    @ManuOtaku

    not a souls game.

    #31 3 months ago

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