Bloodborne is a whole new game brought to you by the creators of Demon’s and Dark Souls. The Souls games had a very specific mythos and style, one of which has garnered a whole bunch of fans. Bloodborne seeks to find that delicate balance between remaining true to existing fans while still adding in some cool new things that might just attract new players to the games.
Bloodborne is based on three key themes: exploration of the unknown, truly perilous combat and unique online concept. During my session about the game, we delved into a bit more depth when it comes to combat.
Demons Souls changed the genre by making difficult games popular again. However, it’s not just a matter of making games harder and harder – at a certain point the game will become impossible. Instead, there’s a new mechanic that has been added to the game: the Regain System. This is designed to add a new strategy to combat.
When the player is hit in battle, a certain amount of health is lost. However, that is not lost forever. If the player manages to rally and release attacks on the enemy, that health can be regained. This becomes a delicate balancing act: do you go in to try to get your health back and maybe get hit again, taking further losses, or do you bide your time, accept the loss and prepare for a valiant return to victory?
Miyazaki is too much of a genius to just call this a regenerating health bar, though. Instead, he sees the red bar as a gauge of the character’s power of will. As you lose it, you’re actually plunging into despair to the point of death. However, as long as you’re alive, you can regain hope.
The new game out of From Software has also separated out the healing item from the rest of the inventory. This opens things up for unique strategies using items – douse an enemy in oil before throwing a Molotov cocktail, or throw a pebble at one monster to lure it away from a group and make it easier to take out. It’s quite a nice innovation and will freshen up the inventory tactics that we usually see in these games.
Items and weapons are varied in this game. Most weapons can transform, changing their usage, damage, range and speed depending on the form. Thanks to the addition of firearms, there isn’t as much blocking in this game. Offense can be the best form of defence as players are forced to kill or be killed. Some weapons are even made to be intentionally difficult – shorter range, longer reload times – all just to give players a challenge and ensure that YouTube will be filled with bragging videos showing off how some players cleared entire areas with the most difficult possible weapon types.
Built using an all new engine, the game is also designed to evoke some different feelings from players and represent an all new time-period. Unlike the fantasy approach of the Souls games, Bloodborne uses some 19th century elements. It blends these with Gothic and Victorian vibes, perhaps including in some classic Eastern European designs.
While they were adamant about stressing that the game isn’t based on any particular town or country, it’s nice to know that these aspects will be prevalent in the game. Also, as you progress through the game, the enemies and environments become more dark and twisted, ensuring that players are tense throughout the experience.
The game is looking rather gorgeous, but I get the sense it is still a long way off. Don’t get too amped for this game just yet – you might be waiting for a good many months.