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

PlayStation 4 Launch Event Philippines

SONY DSC The PlayStation 4 has officially launched in the Philippines! Celebrated with a 2 day launch event at Glorietta 2 on the 14th and 15th of January 2014 with a bunch of games that you can try out in their open exhibit area.


Dual-Shock 4

I missed out on the launch program but got there in time for the first Celebrity Showdown where they were playing Just Dance (one of the newer ones). While everyone was distracted by the dancing of celebrities that I didn't know, I went in and played about everything that was there.


PS4 Launch

On PS4, I got to try out Knack, and played with some of the AR bots in the Playroom. I also got to try out the PSVita TV. They were running God Eater, Dragon's Crown and Gundam Breaker on the exhibit floor as well as Muramasa Rebirth on the stage. The PSVita TV uses a white Dual-Shock 3 controller and emulates the front touchscreen by clicking down on the right analog stick and pressing either L1 or L2 to simulate tapping.



They also had a few PSVita 2000s on display. I got to try out Tear Away and Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z. The PSVita 2000 may have downgraded their screens from OLEDs back to LCD but god damn do those LCDs look good. Everything was very crisp and clear and I did not notice any ghosting while I was playing. It feels great in the hand too. The smaller size and lighter weight is very noticeable and a welcome change compared to the original PSVita models.

PS Vita 2000

I also got to experience the Personal 3D Viewer, Sony's answer to the Oculus Rift. Got to play the PS4 version of Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag and Killzone: Shadowfall on it. Too bad none of the games that had hooked up to it had 3D support. It was very underwhelming.


Personal 3D Viewer

Aside from that, they also had 2 PS3s running what I think was Gran Turismo 6 and a few PS4s running NBA 2k14.

We uploaded a ton of photos of the event on our Facebook page so check it out!

Things to look forward to entering 2014


watchdogs-police-takedown-screenshot We are now on the final days of 2013. A great year for video games indeed thanks to the amazing games released as well as the debut of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. We are entering a new era, but where do we go from here? To be honest, it's hard to tell how 2014 will shape up. how does the next generation lineup look like after March? Will early PlayStation 4 and Xbox One owners have games to buy during the 2nd and 3rd quarter of 2014? Or will this be Nintendo's year to get things rolling for the Wii U? So many questions, but here's a couple of things to look forward to once we hit 2014.


Wii U and it's 1st party titles

Let's face it. The Wii U isn't doing so well. Sales for the unit hasn't even hit 1M and the games isn't coming in batches as we hoped for a 1-year-old console. But we can't count the Wii U just yet. I believe this is Nintendo's year to make something happen to their next generation unit. Don't forget, their big first party titles are planned for this year - Super Smash Bros. Wii U, The new Zelda game (Footage yet to be revealed but confirmed to be in development since console launch), Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Mario Kart 8, and Bayonetta 2. But 1st party titles isn't enough to get the Wii U back in the spotlight, but it's definitely a good start to give it a sign of life to those looking for a new console to dabble with.

Third party support, which was widely promoted after the reveal of the Wii U, shows a big decline as it enters its first year. Ubisoft's exclusive title for the Wii U - ZombiU, didn't do well in sales but was considered a good game. But big publishers look at the numbers to consider a sequel and it looks like it won't happen anytime soon. That kind of result makes third party's hesitate in bringing their big games to the Wii U. Solution? Sell more units, build a player base. But of course it's easier said than done. Maybe a name change? The conversation during stores explaining parents the difference between the Wii and the Wii U must be a nightmare for any clerk working in a video game store. So much work needs to be done. Get to it Nintendo.

Titanfall, that is all. 

Is it that great of a game? Well, the folks that have played it have nothing but good things to say about this FPS Mech/soldier multiplayer game. This is also one of the titles trying something different. I'm not talking about the fluid switch from FPS shooter to mech shooter. I'm talking about Respawn Entertainment blending in their single player campaign with their multiplayer component. A very interesting concept and a perfect way to somewhat erase a mode most people ignore with multiplayer shooters nowadays but retain a sense of story and character progression. How will it fair from start to finish? We'll have to see when it hits shelves on March for Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC. You have never seen Titanfall in action? Just watch the video below will ya?

Steam Machines-ss01

SteamOS and Steam Machines

PlayStation 4 and Xbox One sure got most of the attention this year, but people should remember Valve made a big move by announcing the Steam Machines, Valve's console planned to your already crowded living room. It's just  not just one console being produced by Valve, thus it being called Steam Machines. Various hardware companies will be making different varieties of Valve's console, capable of running their Linux-based Operating System called the SteamOS. The big idea is simply bringing your huge Steam library into your living room to enjoy. With a keyboard and mouse? Well, not really. They also announced a Steam controller that is trying something...different.

A controller without joysticks. Check out the controller in action below. It's built so that games like Civilization V or other games built for keyboard and mouse won't be neglected once Steam hits your living room. It's hard to describe and explain how it would work. But the demonstration shows that the controller is capable of working well with Real-Time Strategy games and First Person Shooter games.

With how it looks, I'm not a fan of the design but you never know, it might be those products that will grow on you the more you use it...or not.


The future of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Great start for Sony and Microsoft's new consoles. In just one day, they were able to surpass the 1 million units sold mark. So what's next? To release as much games as possible in their units. Last thing you want is your new unit being turned on once a month. There are tons of games planned for 2014 like Ubisoft's Watch Dogs and CD Projekt Red's The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Titanfall and Quantum Break for Xbox One, and inFamous: Second Son and The Order: 1886 for the PS4. But  how does the lineup look like during the second half of 2014? It's still unknown what Sony and Microsoft has planned but be sure to tune in E3 2014 because it's going to be an all out war. A new Uncharted was announced exclusive to the PS4 and we still need more information on the next Halo title planned for the Xbox One. If there's one thing I hope to see in 2014, it's newer franchises. 2014 will be just as exciting as 2013, and it just makes me all giddy just thinking about it.


PS3 and Xbox 360 still alive and kicking

Sure, next-gen is now upon us and technically the PS4 and Xbox One is now current generation while the PS3 and Xbox 360 is now previous generation. But don't set aside your prevous consoles just yet. There are a couple of titles to look forward to entering 2014. If you still want to give Square Enix's Final Fantasy XIII series a chance, Lightning Returns is out in Japan but  the western version will be hitting stores February 11. Dark Souls 2, the sequel to the tough but amazing action RPG is for PS3 and Xbox 360 and is launching on March 11.

If you can't wait to play Titanfall but can't afford to make the upgrade on your PC or even making the jump to the Xbox One, it is also being released on the Xbox 360 on March 11. There's also Persona 5, which was recently announced by Atlus, exclusive to the PS3 and is planned for release at the end of 2014. The next in the Tales of series was also recently announced - Tales of Zesteria, which is also a PS3 exclusive, planned for a worldwide release in 2014. Oh, and of course, Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes the prologue to Metal Gear Solid V planned for release on March 18 on PS3, Xbox 360, and next-gen consoles. All of that, plus all the yearly titles like Call of Duty or Assassin's Creed is enough to keep your current consoles active in 2014.

What are you most excited for entering 2014? Sound off in the comments below. And just in case we miss the chance - Happy New Year to everybody! Hope you all have a good one.