PAX Prime 2014 | Getting Our Hands on the Bloodborne Demo

From Software’s next title, Bloodborne, has a lot of people excited. Not just because it’s the spiritual successor to the Souls series with legendary creator Hidetaka Miyazaki at the helm but it also introduces a bevy of new features to a series that has some persistent staples.

I got the chance to play the same demo that you all see here:

So what can I report that you don’t necessarily see in that trailer? Well, the first thing I noticed was that switching between weapon modes mid-combo was very smooth… at least from compact to expanded. I was unable to combo from the larger heavier mode into the smaller fast mode, however. It seems that the combo switching only goes one way. However, an interesting tid-bit I heard from a PR rep was that players might not always be stuck with a gun as an off hand weapon. Certain enemies had shields, so the mechanics exist. Will players get them? Will players be able to forgo the ability to parry for the increased sustained damage of wielding two weapons? I can’t say for sure at the moment, but it’s an interesting prospect to ponder.

The demo also has interesting narrative insinuations. Clearly, we see the same tropes that were present in Demon’s and Dark Souls: A cursed player makes their way to some decrepit location in order to cure themselves. One possible twist here is that the city in Bloodbornecalled Yharnum, doesn’t seem to be quite so desolate as the previous titles. It’s clearly not well off, but there are definitely still people living there. The most interesting fact was that these people, the humanoid enemies, will constantly refer to the player as “The Beast” as they begin to attack the player. This could possibly shed some light on the relationship between the player and the rest of the world, though what the details of that might be, we can only speculate for now.

I can also confirm that the entity helping the player fight the large dogs at the end of the demo is indeed an NPC, suggesting that the game will have functional world NPCs that actively aid the player. Something I find much more appealing that having to summon phantoms (I really do miss just happening upon Bior wrecking a dragon in Demon’s Souls.) Whether or not that NPC is a named, plot relevant character or not, the PR rep walking me through the demo would not elaborate on.

For now, all I can say is that I think this game is going to be another solid entry into the Souls series. Miyazaki’s presence was sorely missed in the development of Dark Souls 2, and I believe him being back will make this title a success. For the record though, I hope they don’t include shields, as the shift towards highly offensive gameplay thanks to the Regain system really added to the high tension of encounters (and this is coming from someone who always uses great shields.)

Guess I’ll just have to learn to dodge, eh?

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