For fans of Hidetaka Miyazaki’s “Demons’ Souls” and “Dark Souls” games, the mere mention of the name, “Bloodborne,” is enough to ignite a manic spark in the eye. If you’re one of those people, you might want to sit down, Sony and developer From Software have decided to release a staggering 18 minutes of gameplay from the very start of the game.
The video, released via IGN First, proves two facts with absolute certainty. First, “Bloodborne” is just as relentlessly atmospheric as any of the “Souls” games, and second, it’s just as sadistic.
The video opens with the player strapped to an operating table, as a disheveled gentleman named Iosef prepares to operate. Understandably, you pass out just as Iosef begins a blood transfusion. It only gets worse from there. You awaken momentarily, to see a massive, blood-drenched hound emerge from the floor and make its way toward you. Just as it lays a clawed hand on you, it bursts into flame, and small Gollum-like creatures begin to crawl over your body, wailing in pain. Mercifully, you pass out. Again. Shortly thereafter, you regain consciousness and decide to explore your surroundings. This proves to be a spectacularly bad idea. You make your way downstairs and immediately encounter as massive shadowy dog, gnawing away at a carcass. The shadow dog quickly proceeds to kill you. For those keeping score, that’s three times in the opening three minutes of “Bloodborne” you’ve been killed and/or rendered unconscious.
With the preamble out of the way, the game proper can now begin. You wake up once more, in what appears to be the garden of a decrepit mansion. The garden is populated by the same wailing Gollum-like creatures that saved you from the blood-drenched dog in Iosef’s clinic. Thankfully, they don’t try to kill you. In fact, these “messengers” are only too happy to swap some weapons for a little cash. Now armed with a blunderbuss and a cleaver, you teleport back inside the mansion, ready to face the dog that so unceremoniously ended your life minutes before. Things go a lot better this time.
Having showed the nasty mutt who’s boss, you now proceed to make your way through the rest of the mansion, eventually finding the exit. Parting a pair of steel gates, you step into ancient, gothic city of Yharnam. The residents of Yharnam are none too pleased to make your acquaintance, you’ll have to fight your way through hordes of plague-ridden victims. Your reward? A boss fight with a monstrously huge creature called “The Cleric Beast.” Here, the video ends, and in quite predictable fashion, too.
Visually, not a great deal appears to have changed about “Bloodborne” since the recent alpha. The art style is still stunning, and environments are gorgeous to look at. The only blemish, and it’s a big one, is that the game still suffers from horrible pixel shimmering and poor antialiasing, as well as an unstable framerate. That said, From Software are at pains to point out that the video is taken from an early build of the game.
“Bloodborne” is currently scheduled for release on Mar. 24, having been delayed from its original release in February. Sony have announced a rather sweet looking Collector’s Edition as well. If the wait doesn’t kill you, the giant, hairy hound with the screaming face probably will.