Let me just say I have been excited for this game since the announcement, and I did something I never thought I'd do with it, I pre-ordered the Nightmare edition. So was did it live up to my expectations? Well read on and I'll let you know, I'll also avoid posting any spoilers (boss names don't count do they?) I have found in the name of not being a dick.
First of all I have to say I didn't really pay any money for this game, I traded in a crap ton of games for in-store credit and used that to pay for the whole thing so my bank account is still happy and I'm very happy.
When I unboxed this thing and saw the concept art book, the ink and quill set as well as the bell (quite a pretty little trinket it is too) I beamed from ear to ear, the messenger skin is irrelevant to me and I'll explain why soon enough.
So first of all after I had finished downloading the update file (which thankfully didn't take the 3 hours my PS4 initially told me) and booted up the game I noticed it wouldn't let me play in online mode. Now I've accepted that not having PS+ membership stops me from playing PvP and to be honest I don't really care about it, but I didn't realise it would prevent me from using the messenger function as well, so that gave me a bad taste in my mouth but I suppose PSN becoming like XBL is a rant for another day.
The character creation seems standard for a Souls game only you can now create a character that doesn't look too much like a potato, and instead of choosing a class you choose a background which I liked considerably more than the usual warrior, thief, mage setup as it made my character feel a little more concrete to me.
After making my character (I opted for the troubled childhood route myself) I jumped straight into the game, and I have to say it looks bloody good, DS2 had no real tension or mood to the environments, they were all pretty boring in my opinion but Bloodborne actually impressed me with its Gothic look.
You start out in a clinic where you were having your blood transfused, the clinic itself is abandoned and it was here I noticed something else I liked, the sound of the footsteps are amazing, now I know it sounds mundane but I'm a bit of an audiophile and when I noticed how good the footsteps sounded on the wood I got far more excited than I should have.
The music is also excellent really lending itself to the moody feel of the game, the enemy voices are also of note with them cursing you as they die and screaming in horror at your approach, it almost made me feel like I was walking through a village from a classic horror novel, so I have to say the atmosphere is perfect so far.
This game was advertised to me as the spiritual successor of Demons Souls and I have to say that's an accurate description, everything from the opening of the game to the feel of the combat and the healing feels far more like Demons than Dark souls, which is perfect in my books.
Now the combat was something I was skeptical of as you don't have shields anymore, I'm not afraid to admit that through most of DKS and DKS2 I spent a lot of time turtleing behind a shield waiting for an opportune moment to attack and usually getting slaughtered because I got my guard broken.
Bloodborne's combat is a lot faster in terms of pace and it pits your character against much larger numbers of enemies so the battles seem governed more by reflexes and flexibility as opposed to tanking your way through until your enemies are too tired to hit back, if I had to pick a game that the battle system reminded me of it would be something like a cross between Ninja Gaiden and Demons souls.
The battles are faced paced and unforgiving, more than once I allowed myself to get flanked and killed by some of the mobs, however once I figured out how to use alternate form of the Trick cane (what can I say I'm a Victorian gentleman at heart) the mobs stopped being so threatening as I was able to mow down entire groups with relatively little effort and some careful timing. The dodge function also works into the fighting incredibly well, in previous FromSoft games rolling and dodging felt very awkward and clunky (in fact combat in general felt like I was trying to attack an enemy in a pool full of treacle), the feeling of dodging and weaving amongst mobs of enemies while counterattacking with the cane and pistol is undeniably satisfying.
A visual addition I like in the combat is the fact your clothes slowly get drenched in blood as you fight and by the time I got near the Cleric beast even my pistol was bloodstained, it's a small visual nuance but one that I find really ties in with the theme, it also gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to see my character coated in the blood of his enemies but hey that might just be me.
Now in general you won't die from lack of healing items from what I've noticed as healing items are dropped by most enemies (the basic mobs tend to drop one or two when you kill them) so generally you'll die because you got too pressured to heal or just generally because you fucked up... Although that isn't entirely true, on more than one occasion I have been killed because the camera decided to go full retard on a piece of scenery (the Cleric beast fight did this to me) but it seems to be a rare occurrence and to my experience collision detection seems better here than in previous FromSoft games (I have yet to be killed by invisible range on anything),
While I'm on the subject of dying (which I have done my fair share of so far) the only major gripe I have is with the loading screen, I might just be an impatient bastard but I found the loading time a little ridiculous all things considered.
Bloodborne seems to also relish the element of surprise as the only two bosses I have fought so far were not preceded by a fog gate, only when I tried to turn and bolt as fast as my legs could take me did I realise what a dire situation I was in, and I love it especially with Father Gascoigne as a sheer moment of panic ran through me once the boss fight started and he rushed me (I still need to get around to beating him...).
In conclusion friends and fellow hunters was Bloodborne worth the hype? Well from what I can tell so far, yes it was. I haven't finished (I got it this morning around 9:30am GMT and only played it for about 4 hours) so I can't make any judgements on the late game and as I pointed out earlier I'm currently unable to experience PvP or even Co op play (No way in hell I can afford PS+ at the moment) but the single player experience has been everything I hoped it would be so far, it's more than making up for the disappointment of DKS 2, once I have finished the game I'll post up my final thoughts.
Until then happy hunting you glorious bastards.
(Please note that Bloodborne: Nightmare edition was purchased through my own means, no shilling here)