Bloodborne Nightmare Edition is not for the weak, pampered gamer who has been swaddled in checkpoints, given a nice warm bottle full of 1ups and left to sleep. Bloodborne descends from gaming’s dark side, the Souls Series. If you are not used to or prepared for this game it will frustrate you and many players give up. This the Nightmare Collectors Edition includes a steelbook case, an art book with never-seen-before concept art, gothic notebook, quill, red ink set, top hat messenger skin (for use in-game), bell trinket, book tin plus a download code for the soundtrack. I’m not going to say I’m great at the franchise but I get by and am not afraid of its unforgiving format and tackle it head on and am rewarded when it gives you one of the greatest feelings of accomplishment in gaming history.
In previous games I classed myself on the shank and plank tactic of quivering behind heavy armour and a massive shield, the biggest weapon on my shoulder and wading into battle without a care in the world (in fact I was still petrified and would hide behind the sofa like a girl) but that tactic got the job done. It doesn’t get the job done anymore and it laughs at you while you struggle and die which you will do a lot (possibly cry/scream or a mixture of both).
I was lucky enough to get my hands on Bloodborne at EGX a few weeks before release which showed me how beautiful, horrific and tough this game was going to be. I queued in a long line of lost souls each succumbing to their fate until it was my turn, sitting down, placing the headset on and gripping the controller I entered Yharnam (the city which you start out in) and immediately was immersed. I hacked, dodged, rolled and killed my way through the dark foreboding streets, before my life and turn ended. I walked away desperate to own the game and couldn’t wait until release day.
This incarnation strips away everything you know, you get clothes that change your appearance and stats but it’s not armour and not upgradeable, so you pick one that looks good as your smashed to a pulp, poisoned, burned or electrocuted. Each will have better defences in certain situations so knowing your enemy and environment seriously help your plight and struggle in this game. Shields? Nope, well there is but you’d get more protection standing behind a lollipop stick. The key and focus in this game is the parry and staggering moves, as an enemy strikes you let loose with you side arm opening him/her/it up to some vicious attacks.
Bloodborne is set in a kind of dark almost Victorian era with an incredible back drop of spires, castles and buildings in a sinister horrifying city. Each footstep fills you with dread and the music makes all this seem much, much worse. Gripping your weapon of choice (for me an axe) I advanced, enemy’s jumping out at you and being cut down in blood is just the beginning. A well placed gun shot can bring nearly every foe to its knees, stepping forward you literally pull the heart out in a satisfying visceral attack. Each weapon has forms and can be switched easily but in two-handed for more power and range you no longer have your trusted side arm.
This hardcore RPG is frustratingly incredible, round every corner there is something exciting and scary to hamper you spirits, controllers will get thrown, consoles turned off and the odd frustrated scream will escape your lips. Everything is out to cause distress, blood vials are a non replenish-able item used to heal yourself (you will run out and can only carry a limited number) bullets are the same and blood echos the in-game currency used for buying items and upgrading your character that you collect from vanquishing your enemy’s are lost on death. There is no pause at all and another peril is the controllers battery life, the game gives you no direction and I love it. The boss battles are tough, you can ring a bell in hopeless effort to summon some co-op help but that brings a new fear, once a hapless soul has been dragged into your world you can now be invaded by other players which is nice.
A few kills, a new weapon, levelling up and killing a boss are a huge achievement and give you a massive sense of accomplishment. Just flicking down my trophy list with each boss kill the percentage gets lower and lower, giving you a sense of pride and a fair bit of bragging rights. I have now completed Bloodborne Nightmare Edition, it was struggle over nearly seventy hours and I can’t even say I enjoyed every second but it is still a fantastic game. This game scores 10/10 for me, it’s everything a die-hard gamer wants. It’s an addictive challenge you won’t be able to put down lightly (warning most controllers will smash when thrown).
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