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bloodborne review •

The start of each year is mostly a hard one for most video game enthusiasts, as most big publishers are holding onto major game releases until better sales periods start. As we delve deeper into 2015, big titles are slowly making their way onto shelves and digital stores; arguably, this year’s first major release is PlayStation 4-exclusive Bloodborne – which seems to have lit a fire under reviewers and fans alike.

As it stands now, the Sony-published title holds an average reviewer score of 93 on aggregating site Metacritic, based on scores from 44 different reviewers. More impressive though is that it hold a 9.0 average user review score, as the site is known for posting large difference between critic and user score, especially on highly anticipated games – for example, 2012 Bioware game Mass Effect 3 holds a commendable 89 aggregate score from reviewers, while the user average is as low as 5.3.

What’s so special about Bloodborne, you may ask? Well, for starters, it’s not really that kind of game that builds its hype around excessive marketing or controversy, such as well-known franchises as Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto. Instead, it borrows its following from a phenomenon either loved or hated that started in Japan.

Bloodborne is the “spiritual successor” to the popular “Souls” franchise made by developer From Software, which encompasses Demon Souls and Dark Souls 1 and 2. Although it doesn’t encompass the word Souls into its title, it shares a similar style with the previous games – all of them are fantasy-themed third person action-role playing games, with emphasis on monster slaying and exploration; a style that prompted many to deem them as “modern Legend of Zelda games.

But the defining characteristic shared by all of the games, and what earns both their cult following and critics, is the high difficulty level and the “never hold the player’s hand” approach. Players are usually driven through a paltry tutorial that teaches them basic game mechanics and after that are let loose upon the game’s world – no quest log, marker or other kind of directional help. The game itself rewards mostly players who are patient and analytical about their mistakes – because they WILL happen; an in-game Dark Souls II counter for example showed that players had died over two million times in the first 24 hours since launch.

Critics and users alike agree that Bloodborne keeps the fundamentals that earned its predecessors a cult following, while also changing enough to avoid repetition. Gamespot’s Kevin VanOrd, which scored the game a 9 out 10, praised the game’s agile enemies, and also its Victorian-London inspired setting and deep story themes. His opinion was shared by The Guardian’s Simon Parkin, who also commended the humor of its characters.

Many feel that the game’s quality should be attributed to the return of Hidetaka Miyazaki to the series, which directed Demon Souls and Dark Souls but skipped a fairly user criticized Dark Souls 2. Whatever the case, Bloodborne seems like a first serious contender for end of the year titles. It can be purchased from most major retailer, such as Amazon or BestBuy, at a price tag of $60.

Image Source: Forbes

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