Bloodborne E3 Previews

We conclude another post-E3 week with some more event-based impressions of From Software's Bloodborne, the gothic-style action RPG that will once again throw unrelenting difficulty at our feet.


Our demo takes place on a smoggy night in Yharnam, with a gang of surviving locals crucifying a werewolf-type creature before setting it alight. It quietly burns as the mob makes its way down the cobbled streets, but the city's completely open nature and the lack of objective markers mean we can go any way we choose, from main routes, to cramped alleyways, or into buildings.

The first combat encounter we see betrays the game's horror leanings. Blood sprays liberally with every successful hit, and our oversized zombie-style foes are quickly defeated, their pitchforks, hooks, and swords clattering to the ground. Further along, a large wooden door contorts as it is being struck with frightening force by an unseen creature on its other side. We pass up the opportunity to open it in favour of taking an alley to catch sight of what exactly is trying to break through: a towering hunchback whose head is level with the surrounding buildings' second floors. What follows is a challenging fight made simple, as the developers admit the game's difficulty has been turned down several notches so they can at get through the demo without dying too frequently. Again, the Souls games spring to mind as the hunchback brick in hand employs a series of charge attacks, the avoidance of which requires decent reflexes.


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.

Hardcore Gamer:

Unfortunately, as big as this game will surely be, the demonstration was only ten to twenty minutes long, giving us only a taste of what to expect in terms of gameplay. The trench-coated character was equipped with a fancy giant transforming blade that has a traditional slashing blow with the heavy attack, and a more stunning, short-ranged strike with the regular attack. This was equipped onto one arm while in his other was something new to the formula. While in Dark Souls and Demon's Souls we had projectile weapons such as crossbows and longbows, this time we have a shotgun. This is a much more closed ranged weapon, as it should be, and can do strong damage to anyone taking the blast within the spread.

Bloodborne also seems fairly difficult. While the presenter didn't die during his quest, and there was no HUD to indicate how much health was being lost, he did have to consume something every time he was struck, giving off that these infected hit hard. Other than the humanoid infected, the last enemy that was shown before the demo concluded was a giant creature, about the size and broadness of the Taurus Demon. By just the scale alone, this enemy could have easily been mistaken for a boss, as this hulking beast was able to grasp the player in one hand and throw him across the bridge. Suffice it to say, there will be some rather creative, yet grotesque creatures to fight.

PlayStation Trophies:

Armed with a Sawcleaver, which can only be described as a transformative cleaver that can switch from short-range dealing quick hits to long-range dealing slower but more powerful swipes on the fly, and a Blunderbuss, which is almost like a short-ranged shotgun of sorts, where ammo is extremely limited, in our demo the protagonist lurked in the dark, dimly lit alleyways of Yharnam, stalking his prey.

It's a case of, (if you can see it, you can go there) in Yharnam, and the Sherlock Holmes-style cobbled streets and tight alleyways mean there is no one clear path for the player. Bloodborne isn't the kind of game you're going to want to wander into a group of five enemies looking for a fight, chances are you'll lose the key to success is picking off foes one-by-one.

Niche Gamer:

The story of the game, (or at least the level we saw being played) seems simple: your character travels to an old city in the hopes of finding a miracle cure for an illness no one else can help with, only to find that it has been overrun with a plague of its own, changing the cities inhabitants into terrifying creatures.

In order to survive and find the cure, you'll have to brave the city and unlock the mystery behind it. Gameplay looked quite smooth, you could tell with a glance that this is very much a spiritual successor to Demon's Souls. While the demo did have a few issues such as the player being unable to climb ladders, I'm sure that the talented folks at Sony Japan Studio and From Software will iron them out as development moves forward.

And Rocket Chainsaw:

There were a lot of points throughout the demo where the developer playing through the game should have been deader than dead, if it weren't for the fact it was an un-loseable E3 demo. Miyazaki said he doesn't go out of his way to make his games frustratingly difficult (as he apologised to one attendee for the controllers he had broken playing Dark Souls), he just wants to make games that are incredibly rewarding to the player and overcoming a significant challenge is the best way to achieve that.

Monstersin the demo were varied, from simple zombie-like human opponents that formed the bulk of the enemies encountered, to pathetic giant crows. These beasts have lost the power of flight, reduced to belly flopping their way towards the player (Miyazaki described them as '˜cute'). Giant, hugely intimidating bosses also make a return from the Souls series. Yharnam itself is massive, and more importantly interconnected in lots of hidden ways. Miyazaki hopes that players will be able to find all the shortcuts and secret passageways throughout the city and make use of them to cleverly reach objectives faster. He also said to expect the return of a Dark Souls-like '˜safe zone' and checkpoint feature.