Bloodborne is the hardcore action-RPG the PS4 so desperately needs
With the PlayStation 3, there was this feeling of ‘this console is meant for hardcore gamers.’ I don’t personally buy into that sentiment as there were plenty of “hardcore” games for the Xbox 360 as well, but that belief was there last gen.
Sony has taken a broader approach with the PS4 -- marketing as the console for all gamers with the best games made by the best developers. It’s no longer “just for hardcore.” That’s a good thing, in my opinion; current PS4 sales will back me up on that. But I do also think there’s some good that comes from having that “hardcore” appeal. You need that staple title that die-hard gamers (I hate that phrase) look at and go ‘damn, that’s what I want to play.’ Bloodborne, FromSoftware’s new action-RPG, can be that game. And even better, it’s a PS4 exclusive.
To give you a little background, FromSoftware is the company responsible for Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls, two franchises featuring extremely challenging yet addictive gameplay. Though Bloodborne is still very early in development, it was clear from my hands-off E3 presentation that FromSoftware is looking to offer the same type of challenging gameplay. It wasn’t the most polished of previews at E3, but it was enough to show the core concepts of the game: action, gore, punishing gameplay, giant bosses that require strategy in how you approach a fight, and combat mechanics that seem to center around precision timing and, of course, rolling.
The game takes place in a city called Yharham, cursed with a strange endemic illness that turns its citizens into beast-like creatures and horrifying monsters. There certainly was no shortage of intimidating foes and the dreary, dark setting should make Souls fans feel right at home.
A stuttering frame rate and a noticeably absent UI reminds me that Bloodborne isn’t due out until 2015, but there’s plenty to be excited about if you’re a PS4 owner. For starters, it seems to play like a Souls game. As I mentioned above, the core concepts are all there; however, instead of wielding medieval weaponry, your character is armed with a shotgun and a cleaver-type weapon. It’s unclear if you’ll be forced to dual-wield or, like Dark Souls, you’ll be able to customize your approach. Either way, it appears as though strategy will play a big role in approaching combat in Bloodborne as enemies can prove to be quite deadly.
It also appears your decision making throughout the game will have an effect on combat. At one point we came across a man already engaged in combat. We had the choice to leave him be or help him fend off the foul beasts. We chose to run past him, but had we helped him then he would later return the favor by helping us with the boss encounter.
The stuttering framerate, wonky camera angles and lack of UI certainly didn’t make Bloodborne appear any easier, but it’s clear that even when the game is polished it will prove difficult. Would FromSoftware fans have it any other way? Granted this sort of challenging action-RPG is niche, but it’s a niche that the PS4 desperately needs to fill. Not only does Bloodborne give the PS4 a game that will appeal to “hardcore” gamers, but it’s also exclusive which means it could encourage new system sales.