Review: Bloodborne

Bloodborne Review Cover The moment we saw the first trailer, we already knew Bloodborne was going to be something special.  Bloodborne is the latest action role-playing creation from Hidetaka Miyazaki. Miyazaki made a name for himself beginning with Demon Souls on the Playstation 3 – a dark, foreboding fantasy RPG which grew in infamy for being unforgivingly difficult, a game where death was a regular occurrence, to be made part of the overall gameplay experience. Add to this a return to old school gaming mechanic, an amazing atmosphere, merciless boss battles, and a unique multiplayer system, and you had the making of a classic.

It’s no secret – we are BIG fans of Miyazaki’s work here at TMG, and Bloodborne carries on his vision to the Playstation 4 in style; It’s a brutal, terrifying, and absolutely seductive offering, with enough differences to set itself apart as a truly next generation version of its predecessors while maintaining just enough familiarity to pull back in those already well versed in his works.

That said, the game isn’t perfect, and while we have to objectively point out its flaws, none of them really detracted from the overall experience. So let’s jump into it shall we?


Bloodborne takes place, for the most part, in a Victorian-era dystopia known as Yarnham. This is a city steeped in religious imagery and gothic architecture, whose residents fearfully lock themselves inside their homes at night as werewolves, rabid dogs, mad cultists and other dreadful creatures of the night come out to stalk the streets.

It is into this that you are thrust as a newly inducted Hunter – one of the chosen few who hunts the evils of the night. It’s a setting that combines the best of Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley and HP Lovecraft all rolled into one, and it is lovingly realized. Imagine every creepy church, cemetery, house, and building you’ve ever seen all within a single city. This is a city of constant dread and horror, yet also one of incredible beauty.

Graphically, Bloodborne is absolutely gorgeous. Environments are well detailed and interesting, every brick and tombstone lovingly rendered; indeed, moving the camera up close lets you fully appreciate the work that has gone into making Yarnham feel like the nightmare that it is, with small details seamlessly popping into view as you close in to examine the environment. Even details on character clothes and weapons are all fully realized, all of it wonderfully lit by a giant moon in the sky that gradually turns red and foreboding as you progress through the game.

Monsters and creatures are equally lovingly crafted and animated, oozing personality even with little to no dialogue attached. Almost every denizen of Yarnham you encounter is hostile, and all are equally deadly. Even the lowliest cultist can quickly cut you down if you aren’t careful. Combat in the game doesn’t stray too much from the set formula of previous Soul’s games and adds a few interesting elements to the mix, so those familiar with the previous titles should feel right at home, with one exception – there are no shields in the game anymore (actually there is one shield, but it’s so pathetically weak that it was certainly only put into the game as some sort of cruel joke.) The lack of a shield means you now need to be quick on your toes to react appropriately to your opponent’s moves, dodging and weaving in and out of range while taking shots of your own when the opportunity allows. The result is combat that is much more reaction heavy; you’ll need to be paying attention here if you want to survive.

The game rewards you for taking risks however – retaliating against your opponent within a short time frame after being hit can regenerate the health you lost, leading to an interesting dynamic where you need to temper your patience with bravery. It’s an excellent dynamic that, coupled with the lack of a shield, leads to some exciting combat encounters.


We cannot discuss combat further without tackling the issue of death. And let’s be honest here: No matter how good you think a player you are, you will die, several times, as you play through Bloodborne. Dying is obviously something you want to avoid, but thankfully because of Bloodborne’s excellent combat and design, it almost never feels unfair – more often than not, you die because of something you did or failed to do, and the game forces you to learn from your mistakes. It can get frustrating at times, but there was never a point where I felt like I just wanted to give up – rather I was spurred on forward more to keep trying until I got it right.

The most common area of death always tends to be with the boss encounters, and Bloodborne has some of the most memorable boss encounters to date in any video game. Some bosses are huge monstrosities several stories high, slow and lumbering but with incredible power behind each swing. Some are humanoid sized, quick, agile and deadly – you’ll need to be patient, watching for patterns and openings in order to succeed. Defeating a boss in Bloodborne always feels like an achievement, and it’s once again a testament to just how tight the combat design really is. The leveling system is also quite robust, despite being very simple, and allows for a lot of experimentation – a clear sign that this game was meant to be experienced multiple time over.

With so much good in this game, it’s so easy to overlook Bloodborne’ shortcomings, but the truth is it isn't a perfect game. Interpreting your character statistics can be quite a chore without an external reference, and the story of the game is not always communicated very well throughout. Yes these are relatively minor in the overall scheme of things. While it may not have the flash or pizazz of your traditional AAA title, the quality and care put into crafting it is clear – and many companies could only ever hope to come close.  The bottom line is, if you own a Playstation 4, you need to play Bloodborne. It is easily the best Playstation 4 exclusive to date, and so far one of the best contenders for Game of the Year.

Willem went through the game completely offline in order to have a blind playthrough experience.

Online Features

Carlos' Note: The online aspect of Bloodborne is greatly similar to previous Souls games. Messages are left on the ground for players to warn them of incoming dangers or an item they could possibly miss. There are also pools of blood which shows another players last moments before death. Player vs Player is present in Bloodborne but is taken a few notches down compared to previous Souls games. Using the item the Beckoning Bell (co-op play) or the Sinister Bell (Invading players) will trigger online play. Player vs Player seems to take a backseat this time around since you can only invade in certain areas that have the bell bearer and if a player used the Beckoning Bell.

Chalice Dungeons are considered the end-game in Bloodborne and gives players the ability to craft dungeons through items found in the game. The difficulty of each dungeons don't scale with the player's level but the difficulty and length of the level can be increased

depending on the items used to create the dungeon. It's a great addition to the Souls formula and added extra hours of gameplay since there are bosses and items exclusive to chalice dungeons.

Reviewed by: Willem Den Toom Developer: From Software Release Date: March 24, 2015 Platform: PlayStation 4 Final Game Time: 53 Hours

9 ScorePro Con Bloodborne

Microsoft's Phil Spencer Giving Some Love to Bloodborne for Hitting the 1M Mark

5_1 Now you don't see this everyday. Xbox head Phil Spencer took the time to congratulate Sony and Bloodborne hitting 1 Million in sales via Twitter. See, Xbox and PlayStation are friends. Now why can't we all be like them?

Bloodborne is the latest exclusive title for the PlayStation 4 and is getting a lot of good praise from critics and fans of the souls series. It just hit its 1 million sales mark and it's indeed a big achievement with it being a new IP (Intelectual Property) only available on one platform. A

We had our fair share of the punishing action RPG with Miggy trying it out before it's release. Our review is currently in progress and will be out in a couple of days.

I loved every minute of Bloodborne, but to get a fresh and accurate judgement on From Software's latest game (I'm a huge fan of From Software games), I will take a step back and give Willem the reins on the site's full review. My impressions of the game is already out  on episode 76 of the TMG Podcast, so if your interested in what I think about the game, have a listen now.

Bloodborne was developed by From Software (Demon's Souls, Dark Souls, Dark Souls 2), and it's now available exclusively on the PlayStation 4.


Sony gives Filipino fans a taste of two upcoming exclusive titles: The Order: 1886, and Bloodborne

10982490_758838954202406_8525130480838935938_n On February 4, 2015, PlayStation invited 40 lucky fans and media  to attend a closed event that would make them the first gamers in the Philippines to try out two exclusive games coming to the PlayStation 4 - The Order: 1886, and Bloodborne. The TMG Crew attended the event and was surprised to see Sony make an effort in reaching out to gaming community here. For those that were unable to attend, here’s what you missed.

It was discreet to say the least; a single Facebook post from PlayStation Asia seemed to be the only promotion done to such an event. But it seemed to be enough because when we arrived, a solid number of participants were all lined up patiently waiting for the doors to open. It was held at Imperium e-Sports Bar and Video Game Lounge at Metrowalk, which they closed shop for the whole day to cater to the event.  Registration to enter Imperium started at 6:30PM. By 7PM, we were asked to gather at the main stage to begin.


Before we were given a chance to try out Bloodborne and The Order: 1886, Sony Computer Entertainment's Asia Region marketing manager Arata Naito went up on stage to do a quick presentation –a  brief description of Bloodborne and The Order: 1886 was given, as well as highlighting SCE Worldwide Studios' such as Media Molecule (Little Big Planet), Sucker Punch (Infamous), Guerrilla Games (Killzone), and Naughty Dog (Uncharted, The Last of Us). Talk about The Order: 1886 was first. Then, something I was not expecting happened – a video message from Ru Weerasuriya, CEO of Ready at Dawn and director of The Order: 1886. What’s special about this message was it was recorded just for this event, welcoming Filipino fans and the media present. They even started his video message with “Kamusta”, which means “How are you” in Tagalog. At this point, it made me think Sony is testing the waters here in the Philippines, looking at the reception given by the gaming community here.

The Order: 1886 is set in a unique vision of Victorian-Era London, where Man uses advanced technology to battle a powerful and ancient foe. In an alternate history where myths and technology co-exist, players take on the role of Sir Galahad, a hardened member of an elite order of Knights engaging in a centuries-old war that will determine the course of history forever.

Arata asked us to head over to the only TV on that displayed a demo version of The Order: 1886, which is to be played by cosplayer Myrtle Sarrosa. Two sections of the game were demonstrated; shooting gameplay and a portion that features the game’s visuals and other mechanics (puzzle, stealth, etc). The demo started with Sir Galahad and the rest of the Order rappelling down the side of a blimp in order to board it. A conversation between the characters kicks in and Arata explains that all of this is being done in-engine, it’s not CG. We’ve seen trailers and actual gameplay footage of The Order, but seeing up close, this game is definitely a visual marvel. After a small chat with the Order members, Galahad enters the blimp and we see Myrtle sneak behind an unfortunate soul and stabs him to death with a simple press of the triangle button. Then, we were shown a small hacking mini-game in order to unlock doors and disable certain devices. Galahad whips out a weird looking contraption with two mercury rods on both sides. With the mercury rods moving up and down on both sides, the player is tasked to press L3 for the left side and R3 for the right side at the right time. You’ll need to do one side at a time and once you get it, you’ll have to hold that button until you get the other side. Once done, you can now progress. At this point Arata cuts that section short and went straight to another portion of the game to showcase the game’s gun play.


In terms of gameplay, it looked like the traditional third person cover shooters you’d come to expect. But the only difference I was able to get while watching Galahad mow down 10 guys in under a minute is that it becomes even more stunning visually. Bullets seen flying; Galahad’s garments gracefully swaying as he takes cover; papers up in the air; debris coming from walls, soaking up bullets; there’s a lot going on and it was smooth all throughout. During the fight, the player was welcomed with a fearless thug equipped with a powerful shotgun that easily overpowered Galahad. We didn’t get a game over screen though, but more of a “downed” state. Arata explains that there’s an item called Blackwater that can bring Galahad back to the fight. Once used, Galahad stands up and does his thing. Arata then says that thanks to the PS4, developers at Ready at Dawn were able to create a game they’ve always wanted to make. After the dust clears, the player heads to the kitchen and more thugs appears and we are back to another gun fight.

Next up was Bloodborne, a new IP from From Software that strongly resembles the Demon Souls/Dark Souls franchise. Arata asks the crowd if people are familiar with Dark Souls, and the crowd replied with an ecstatic “yes”, suggesting that majority of those present were fans of the Action RPG franchise. Then, we get another video message, this time from Bloodborne producer Masaaki Yamagiwa, also wishing they were there to attend the event. The game takes place in the gothic, ruined city of Yharnam. Over the years, many travelers make pilgrimages to the city seeking the remedy to cure their afflictions; the player takes the role as one of these travelers known as Hunters. Yharnam is plagued with an endemic illness that has malformed most of its denizens into bestial creatures.

We head over to the only station on once again to watch a demo of Bloodborne, ready to be played by Myrtle Sarrosa yet again. The section demonstrated was said to be at the beginning of the game and the player was equipped with a scythe-like weapon, able to switch between two forms to cater to the situation at hand. These are called “Trick weapons”, and it’s one of the unique elements introduced to this new IP. Also unique to Bloodborne is the use of guns in the game as an offhand weapon (goodbye shields). Arata states that guns in the game isn’t used as a main damaging tool, but more of a tool to either stun your opponent or get yourself out of tight situations. The player was equipped with a blunderbuss-like gun that provides a pushback to whoever gets hit by the blast, my kind of weapon. The enemies wandering the stage were easily disposed by the typical spam of the attack button. After some quick dodges, we finally get hit hard, and we were introduced by a new system for the game – The “Rally System”. Arata starts explaining that after getting hit by a lethal blow, you are given a small window to attack your enemy in order to regain some health back. This also shows that they are taking a more offensive approach in combat with this new system, oppose to the more defensive route taken from the Souls series with the use of shields.  From Software has stated in the past that it will be one of the most difficult games you’ll ever play on your PS4 system, but we’ll see once it hits shelves this March. The demonstration went on going through the same stage with Arata explaining the different kinds of weapons in the game, said to give a lot of variety to the player. At this point, Arata was in control and stated that there are different paths to take in Bloodborne. We then see a larger foe wielding a hammer, banging at a gate. Arata then says that we can choose to not engage and opt to find another path, but then the crowd shouts in unison “FIGHT…FIGHT”. With a simple smile from Arata, he accepts the crowds request and we were greeted with the infamous ‘YOU DIED” screen found in Demon Souls/Dark. It was roughly a 30 second fight.

The presentation was over and the first wave of players was about to try out the games themselves. All participants were given a stub before entering and were given the choice to pick one of the two games to demo. Fans were able to bring one friend during the event, so we saw a couple of folks discussing what game they’d like to try. Miggy and I had a similar discussion, and since he was never a fan of shooters, I happily gave him the chance to try out Bloodborne while I deal with The Order. Each batch of players playing the game was given roughly 10 minutes to try the demo. Once time is over, the next batch of players take over the stations prepped for the playable demos. Dinner was served and those waiting for their turn was able to dig in and mingle, talking about what they’ve seen so far. Mr. Arata and the rest of the Sony crew was very welcoming to all those that approached them. Taking photos with the fans; talking more about the two games, I think I also overheard someone asking about Uncharted 4. This was after all a PlayStation Fans event, so I’m sure they were expecting questions like those. We had a good talk with him and he appreciated the enthusiasm of the Filipino fans.

During the demo, we were told that whoever can beat the boss at the end of the Bloodborne demo will be given an exclusive Bloodborne t-shirt. There were roughly 9 waves of players that tried out Bloodborne and only two players were able to beat the big baddie waiting at the end. And no, Miggy was not one of the two players that snagged a shirt. He’s still dreading about the last move he did that lead to his death.

When it comes to events in the Philippines, this is the first of it's kind. It’s an event greatly overdue for the Filipino gaming community. PlayStation is finding huge success with the PlayStation 4 and it looks like they are staying aggressive in order to keep the momentum going by reaching out to other regions. I'm going to take this event as a sign. A sign that big companies like Sony will make a bigger presence for console gaming in the Philippines.

Our full hands-on impression of Bloodborne and The Order: 1886 will debut on episode 69 of the TMG Podcast going live on February 10, 2015.

The Order: 1886 is scheduled for release on February 20, while Bloodborne  will be out next month on March 24, exclusive to the PlayStation 4.


Written by: Carlos Hernandez

E3 2014: Sony Press Conference - Bloodborne, LittleBigPlanet 3, Grim Fandango, Dead Island 2, Uncharted 4, and a lot more

SonyE3 With Sony being the last press conference for Day 0 of E3 2014 and Microsoft releasing a great show, the pressure was on. Did they deliver? We say yes, and what they showed might help keep the momentum they currently have for their PlayStation 4. Here's the rundown of what happened at the show.

Sony starts the show with a lengthy Destiny trailer

Order: 1886 Gameplay Demo

Entwinded announced and now available on PSN for $9.99

inFamous First light, DLC for inFamous Second Son out August 2014

Little Big Planet 3 announced, coming November 3

Project Beast announced - Called Bloodborne, a PS4 Exclusive

FarCry 4 gameplay demo, campaign co-op revealed

Dead Island 2 announced

Magicka 2 announced

Let it Die, Suda 51's new game exclusive to PS4

Director of Journey and Flower brings Abzu, announced for PlayStation

No Man's Sky for PS4 announced

Gameplay footage of Mortal Kombat X. New characters revealed

The Last of Us Remastered out for PS4 on July 29

GTA V for PS4

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End announced. Out 2015.

Quick Mentions

- Destiny Beta starts July 17 for PlayStation users first #E32014

- PS4 users can play the Destiny alpha now!? #E32014 White PS4 Destiny bundle announced, out September 9

-  In LittleBigPlanet 3, all content created from previous games can be played in the new game with improved graphics

- Friends can play Far Cry 4 for co-op even if they don't own a copy of the game.

- Battlefield Hardline PS4 beta access.

- The Last of Us infected heading to Diablo 3.

- PS3 and PS4 gets exclusive content for Destiny.

- Grim Fandago being remastered  for PS4 and PS Vita.

- 95% of PS4 console are connected.

- YouTube going to PS4. Pressing the share button instantly sends your video to your channel. Out later this year.

- Sony pushing free to play games on PS4.

- PlayStation Now service open beta for US and Canda available July 31.

- PlayStation Now available on specific Sony TV. All you need is a Dual Shock controller to use PS Now.

- PS Now beta will have Dead Space 3, God of War Ascension, MGS Ground Zeroes, Ratchet & Clank Into the Nexus, and Ultra Street Fighter 4.

- PS3 and PS Vita will be getting PS Now in the future.

- PlayStation TV announced for a western release. Priced at $99.

- Ratchet and Clank movie announced. Out next year.

- Grand Theft Auto 5 for PS4. Xbox 360 and PS3 saves will transfer.

 White PS4 Destiny Bundle has been announced. White PS4 controller, white system, destiny game.

- Disney Infinity is going to have an exclusive PlayStation 4 collector's edition, and exclusive content and Hulk and four unrevealed heroes.

That''s Sony's Press Conference, what do you guys think? A bit draggy towards the end but it's great to see them provide a lot of variety to different gamers. Plus, more exclusives will always be a great thing. The Last Guardian? Not today. It will happen eventually...right?

We will give more of our impressions of what was shown in the press conference in a future post. TMG Podcast's E3 Special will go LIVE next week once all the dust has cleared to go through each announcement and reveals one by one.