I missed out on playing Demon Souls when it first reached the UK, and before its release over here I’d heard too little of the game to be interested in importing it from Japan. Then Dark Souls came out and was deemed the spiritual successor of Demon Souls, this made me avoid the game because I’d already missed out on Demon Souls. Then when Dark Souls 2 hit PC I figured it was time to try this new trend of tortuous gaming. I played the game for around an hour and was lost. I still plan to go back to it when I have time, but it’s clearly a game you need to get fully invested in to reap the rewards. Evidently Dark Souls is all about figuring things out for yourself with no hand holding, and feeling gratification once you’ve overcome an obstacle.
Bloodborne seems to carry over this formula for the most part, but the way in which it’s presented is far more inviting. The demo I played was short, but long enough for me to understand what developer From Software is going for. At the start of the demo I was able to chose from four different character builds; A swordsman, a heavy weapons expert, a mix of swords and heavy weapons and an agile character with light weapons. I chose the heavy weapons expert which also allows the use of a revolver.
Once the demo started I was placed in a dark gothic town named Yharnam, with no instruction of what to do. Visually the game is stunning, the lighting is really well done to the point that you feel the darkness of the environment when there’s no street lamps around. The environment was empty besides the giant men and monstrous creatures lurking around. Slaying the weaker enemies in the area gave me a nice feel for the controls. I say they were weaker enemies only because they were nothing compared to what you face later in the demo. Even if they are weaker in comparison you still have to tread carefully, because swinging your weapons in an untrained manner will result in eventual death. Your timing and your ability to evade attacks will come into play a lot throughout this game, and that’s easier said than done when you’re facing multiple enemies at different angles.
After slaying the first few enemies I had my first slow moment. There were two gates which were locked, so I had to figure out a way to progress to the next area. Thankfully my delay in figuring out the way forward was more due to my slowness than the game intentionally trying to be complicated, which is usually the case with the Dark Souls games. Once I got to the next area the real challenge started, and I suffered my first death. It was here that I realized I had to approach combat with more tact instead of entering with pure aggression.
I didn’t make it much further, I’ve heard there’s a nasty boss in the demo. The fact that I didn’t even make it to him shows my lack of experience with From Software’s style of games, as well as the learning curve for new players. Still, even with the difficulty I never felt put off by the game, and I still want to play it. Dying only makes you understand what you have to do to be successful the next time.
Overall it was an extremely short demo, so its difficult to judge a game of this scope on with such little time. But from what I played I can tell this game will be popular to anybody who’s enjoyed the Souls games, particularly Demon Souls. As someone who hasn’t had much experience with the Souls games, I can honestly say I will be buying Bloodborne after playing this short demo. The difficulty makes me determined to keep playing, rather than deterring me completely.