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Halloween Countdown Day VI – Bloodborne

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Day Six – Bloodborne

Did I mention tame games last article? Of course I did, but Bloodborne‘s not a tame game and I wouldn’t hold it against you if you haven’t checked it out. I have a bit of bias for From Software’s extensive series, but this review won’t be covering the game on its base merits and instead highlighting the creative uses of horror and intimidation. For my review on the game as a whole go here.

So it’s a werewolf game, right?

Bloodborne

Yeah… something like that. And while werewolves, or more specifically, “beasts”, might be frightening in their own right, Bloodborne chooses to emanate the gradual downfall of society in a very Lovecraftian-inspired cultist method. I won’t look too heavily into the story, but essentially a your character goes to the city of Yharnam to receive treatment from Yharnam’s famous blood doctors who inject you with a plasmal cocktail. So it goes that the blood has been contaminated for some time and so brought the scourge of the beast. You get to kill those beasts.

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It’s not all fun and games.

The bosses are often times larger than you in both stature and life as they creep across the preternatural bounds from whence they were conceived. Several massive beasts of differing sizes, flesh salads of limbs and extremities, and sorcerous fiends who bend arcane knowledge to their will all face you in various arenas and settings. While the bosses themselves lack the subtleties of long-lasting trepidation, there are presentation that can be downright unsettling.

My personal favorite was Ebrietas presentation and the heavy implications thereof.

Some more noteworthy boss introduction include The One Reborn’s opening cutscene and the devilish layout of Hemwick’s own witchified mansion. Speaking of Hemwick Charnel Lane, for those who have no idea what I’m referring to, I want you to picture a vague, backwoods coven built around decaying farms and overflowing graveyards. The atmosphere is thick with the piercing cackles and shrieks of dancing maidens wielding meathooks. The scent of burning flesh, rotten animals, and shallow corpses fills the air as a slow sense of dread boils the thick of your gut.

There’s a very special barn in Hemwick Lane, a spot that I can’t clear from my head whenever someone mentions this area. It’s presented so well, and with such intimidation brooding in its swaying doors and absolute silence that I took pause before entering, quite certain I was stepping out of a werewolf story and into Hostel. Every corner brought new surprises, and even though the building was two stories tall and some odd size long, I still revel in those few moments every time I pass through.

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On the subject of vile implications, much the same as my SOMA coverage, Bloodborne is full of moments of panic, moments of introspection, and moments where the best way through is to just close your eyes and slam circle without prejudice. There are certain areas that manage to pry back the indoctrination and desensitization you’ve gleaned throughout the story, and when they do, they reveal so much more than you could ever imagine.

You’ve fought wolves, and giant wolves, and giant wolves made of legs, but then you open a chest and hundreds of skulls spill out on to the floor, all bound by flesh with limbs flailing about, their flesh-covered jaws snapping like a bear trap at your supple body. Or imagine you walk into an academy for medical science. You prop open a door to a pitch-black auditorium only to see the glinting of silvery flesh. Suddenly a wave of 30 mercurial students descend upon you with stretched arms and gaping maws. Don’t put it past normal enemies to curiously sneak up on you when you’re not paying attention and drive a pickaxe through your unguarded spine either, it’s sure to happen more than once.

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My descriptions do no justice and I don’t want them to. It’s an experience that transcends the intricate story and characters, an experience that transcends jolly cooperation and the fruit of victory. It’s seeing the forest through the trees that puts everything in perspective, and when it does, it resembles the grotesque amalgam of a maddened mind. Bloodborne is the most horrific entry in the souls-likes to this day and rightfully so, and I highly expect From to include similar elements in future iterations.

If you play Bloodborne and haven’t heard the good news yet, the first DLC has been announced!

About Samuel Collet

Sam is a writer for the internet, an awful graphic designer, and will work for coffee. If you wish to hire this destroyer of languages, send him an e-mail at samuelsharpe001@yahoo.com

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