I still recall the day that I saw Dark Souls in my local game store back in Ireland. Living in the metaphorical cave that I apparently was, it took me by complete surprise to look up the game online and discover that its ratings were incredibly high. Dark Souls was praised by everyone with access to it, and seeing as I had a bit of cash in my pocket, I decided to pick it up.
Upon going home and loading it up, I got a message from my very nerdy friend (always online this guy) who quickly asked me why on earth I had made this purchase. I was assured that this was in no way my kind of game and that it was far too difficult and weird. Naturally, as we're all prone to do, I turned on Dark Souls with a new found desire to beat back these words, and realised that I needn't have forced anything.
Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2 remain 2 of my favourite games of all time, and I really feel like Dragon age: Inquisition robbed the latter title of the Game of the Year award. The reason I adore these games so much, is not just their glorious difficulty and freedom that is offered to the player, its the atmosphere and the ability to carve out my own path.
The games willingly allow you to make mistakes, in fact they delight in it, and so do we. Exploration has never felt as rewarding for me than with Dark Souls. And rounding a corner or entering a new area is rarely surpassed by how these games deliver. I mean traversing the light is always an intense gamble. Of course I love Demon's Souls also, but I felt the series really developed with its sequel. For this reason alone I'm looking at Bloodborne through bias eyes, but let's take a look at why From Software's next title could be a contender for Game of the Year in 2015.
Bloodborne & The Game of the Year Award
There is serious competition to be had this year with video games. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain could blow us all away, and I'm a massive MGS fan. And for those that love The Witcher series and their massive RPGs, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is guaranteed to please. And Batman is back with Arkham Knight!! But I feel that the vision that Bloodborne fights towards is one far more worthy of appraisal.
For those that haven't seen this recently released behind the scenes look at the music of Bloodborne, you've got to check out this chilling piece. It sets the mood for a dark and atmospheric game, one that will be filled with intense and epic boss battles.
We Don't Have to Go Alone
Bloodborne will introduce full on co-op into this dark world, reminiscent of the Souls series. Running around these dark and dank environments and spotting another player venturing through them with you is an intensely exciting notion. At the announcement of this new element, I felt like this would be a game that I'd play for many a year to come. From Software have always found innovative methods when it comes to multiplayer, and I can't wait to see what they've done with it in Bloodborne.
Gore, Falling, Speed - The Little Things
Seeing as Bloodborne is the soul successor to one of the greatest series of all time, I was quite wary that this new IP may copy too many features from it and lose its own identity. But with an increased amount of speed to the combat, changing forms of weapons, guns, the ability to fall from great heights without hurting yourself and an insane amount of gore - I feel like every single one of these little improvements will make me love it more and stand out from its predecessors.
The first 18 minutes of Bloodborne are up and live for the world to see. I was so amazed and intrigued by what I've seen here that I can't actually watch it without skipping ahead. So much of From Software's work must be experienced in your own way. They consider atmosphere to be an integral part of a game and how they set the stage is always impressive. The opening to Bloodborne immerses us in a dark and unpredictable world filled with death and unimaginable horrors.
Player Choice & Difficulty
Long gone are the days of games presenting players with genuine challenges. Bloodborne and the Dark Souls series embrace the roots of the industry and actively protest against the mainstream accessibility of so many titles. This is what makes them so intensely rewarding to master. And now From Software have revealed that we can handicap ourselves from the outset of the game with a mode roughly translated as "Shouldn't Have Been Born." It gives us almost no Blood Echoes at the outset and a starting level that will make the opening hours of the game extremely stressful.
I can't wait to wander down this game's many paths and have my ass handed to me for my mistakes. I want to be able to stride through New Game Plus with confidence after having mastered this world only to be presented with an additional ass-whooping. It's masochistic delight all round.
And I haven't even mentioned the fact that, graphically, the game is beautiful. Its art design is impeccable and shows us a landscape of forlorn, eerie and decrepit castles and villages. I can't wait to explore every avenue this game will present us with and delight in returning to one of From Software's dark worlds.
So gamers, what do you make of Bloodborne. Are you excited for its release, or do you have your eyes set on another title for Game of the Year? All aboard the hype train, huh?? Let us know in the comments what you're looking forward to the most in 2015! Bloodborne will be released for the PS4 on March 24th (aka. too far away).