By: Adam O’Brien
When From Software’s latest game begins you are stranded in a place you don’t quite fully understand. You slowly explore this hostile city trying to make sense of it, only to be met with punishment and death. Just as you escape the area after hours of torture you finally push through and make it to the village you realise that this world isn’t getting more and more insane, you are.
It’s made very clear at the start that something is being kept from you. The world has an unexplained obsession with blood and The Hunt. The locals are either trying to kill you or trying to confuse you further by talking in riddles. Something here is not right. Is it me?
And just when you thought you were paranoid for feeling like you were always being watched you see that these things were always watching you in a hub area.
A great representation of progress is the colour of the sky. At any time you can look at the sky and the atmosphere and vibe are clearly conveyed. When it starts it is yellow and dusky. About halfway through the game, it turns dark. Very dark. And after even more gruelling hours the sky’s colour finally represents your sanity.
This gave the game a sense of scale that few before it have had. It shows us that the entire game is set during one night. Well over 30 hours were pumped into my first playthrough and this entire game took place within a tiny fraction of that. This wasn’t a night. This was a nightmare.
Compare the enemies at the start to the end. At the start, you fight possessed looking villagers. Then you move onto what look like werewolf/bear hybrids, you fight tall hooded figures who will kill you instantly and teleport you to their lair and finally you fight mass graves that are alive (and very very terrifying).
After killing any boss you are greeted with a giant “Prey Slaughtered” on your screen. After killing the final boss it changed to “Nightmare Slain”. It was finally over. I fought a nightmare creature at the top of a giant castle and it was finally over. I decided to finally go rest in The Hunter’s Dream.
All through the game, I was attacked at every corner but there was one place where I felt safe. The Hunter’s Dream. Here is where you level up, buy equipment and fast travel. The area is gorgeous but eerie. At the top of a hill is a small church like building where you can upgrade equipment. The building is the first thing you see when you teleport there. There was something just so comforting about seeing it because it finally meant I couldn’t be murdered.
When I got there it was burning. Panic set in immediately. The one place I knew I was safe was taken from me. Bloodborne doesn’t pull any punches. I was never safe and even my place of refuge could die just as easily as I could.
The feeling of confusion and the fear of exploration is a feeling that never fully leaves for the entire duration of your stay in Yarnham and it’s my favourite thing about Bloodborne.