Bloodborne.

My dwindling interest in The Order is assuaged by the existence of another game that lurched onto my radar, Bloodborne.  This is the spiritual successor to Nightmare Creatures; here, we have close, violent and complex melees with horrifying monsters.  While set in the fictional city of Yharnam, it clearly reflects a dark Victorian look: shadowy, cobblestone streets; oil lamps and torches pooling amber light; tall cathedral spires silhouetted by the full moon.  My preorder is coming off of The Order: 1886 and landing squarely on this game.  The first title from Japanese developer From Software and director Hidetaka Miyazaki (PS3 cult hits Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls) to be released on the PS4 and while this title does appear to share some fundamental philosophies, there are clear deviations from the attritional nature of their previous titles.

The most important deviation appears to be in the combat mechanics; unlike the Souls games, the player is given a shotgun rather than a shield and as a result, the combat is faster and more fluid.  Gameplay videos show dodging and moving to gain a tactical advantage as key elements in combat. The player also has a the new ability to recover health.   The monsters mutated by the disease endemic in Yharnam lurk through the streets, sometimes patrolling alone and in larger more deadly groups.  The health recovery has more of a risk/reward feel than the simple regeneration of health. In order to recover health it’s imperative to attack your enemy.  Doing so leaves you open to further attack. While it seems clear that this combat system will be faster and more fluid it does not, however, appear that the combat is any less taught or dangerous.

Much of the plot is still shrouded in mystery.  The city of Yharnam is fabled for some kind of potent medical cure. Ostensibly, the main character is there to acquire this cure.  When our hero arrives a previously existing illness The Scourge of the Beast has reached pandemic levels and there are hunters wandering the streets, dispatching these hellions with giant blades and boomsticks.  There is a multiplayer component to this game as well.  There is PvP in Bloodborne but very little has been explained about how this works and the co-op, presumably, revolves around teaming up with other hunters to clear areas.

The situation here is perhaps exactly the opposite of The Order.  With The Order: 1886 we know a lot of the plot, and some backstory and these are supported by vigorous marketing campaigns that show off really shiny graphics and extremely believable facial animations.  With Bloodborne, we have seen all kinds of gameplay but very little about the story.  Bloodborne looks like a game that I would play single player, over and over; but, the addition of cooperative play, could be an additional reason to pick the game up.  The initial release is set for March 24th in North America and will release globally in the days following.

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