Bloodborne Review Roundup: Is From Software's Twist On 'Dark Souls' As Challenging & Deep As Its Predecessor?

By Matthew Buzzi , Updated Mar 30, 2015 04:40 PM EDT

From Software has made a name for itself with Demon's Souls and the Dark Souls games, offering famously difficult and gritty RPG experiences. Bloodborne follows in the same mold on PlayStation 4, but takes a few twists of its own. Are the changes enough to differentiate the game from Dark Souls, and is the experience still highly rewarding? Here are excerpts from reviews around the web:

Polygon, 9/10: "Bloodborne is frequently opaque, but the game's bewildering design is appealing for a reason: It's is the antitheses of the excessive tutorials and restrictive gating that are so commonplace in other games. When you do manage to decipher its lore and its cryptic rules, or manage to overcome some hard-fought challenge, it comes with the increased satisfaction that you've earned it. Longtime Souls players may blanch at its whittled-down customization options and highly focused scope. Newcomers will likely be shocked by its difficulty. But Bloodborne is some of the best work From Software's ever done, a remarkable achievement and a shrewd turn from its Souls lineage.

Gamespot, 9/10: "The finest treasures are found within the city of Yharnam and the forests, lakes, and purgatories beyond it. Only Bloodborne would be so bold as to bury an entire factional player-versus-player mechanic within an optional region, which is in turn buried within a series of oblique steps you might miss if you aren't exploring every nook and cranny, or ignore the game's enigmatic hints. I finished Bloodborne in less time than I did Dark Souls II, yet I treasure it more in spite of its few missteps. In death there is life, and in blood, there is redemption. More hyperbole, yes, but for a game this theatrical, only hyperbole will do."

Game Informer, 9.75/10: "Bloodborne is a blood-drenched horror gem that has only the faintest of cracks in its façade. Bloodborne succeeds through sparse storytelling, lush atmospheres (conjuring up notions of the best of Lovecraft's work), and tight combat that forces you to be aggressive. While this new IP doesn't stray far from the established Souls franchise, it is a magical, wondrous work that admirably instills both terror and triumph in those brave enough to delve into it."

GamesRadar+, 4.5/5: "Only a few minor blotches spoil an otherwise immaculate picture. You have to travel back to the Hunter's Dream every time you want to level up, store equipment, or warp to a different lamp, which makes for weary process punctuated by loading screens. Also, clothing revolves around cloak and leather, lacking the creativity and variety of the Souls games. The class system isn't as divergent either...While combat is still incredibly rich, the lack of magic, miracles, pyromancy, archery, heavy, medium, and light options means less specialization, which discourages experimentation.

"Bloodborne lies somewhere between Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2, better than the latter but not quite as good as the former. The fourth time following the same template means the master strokes, however masterful they are, are anticipated. But take nothing away from this brilliant, brooding, brutal reinvention, because almost as great as the best game ever is pretty bloody great."

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