Bloodborne (Japanese: ブラッドボーン Hepburn: Buraddobōn) is an action role-playing video game developed by FromSoftware and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. Officially announced at Sony's Electronic Entertainment Expo 2014 conference, the game was released worldwide for the PlayStation 4 in March 2015.
Bloodborne follows the player character, the Hunter, through the fictional decrepit Gothic, Victorian era inspired city of Yharnam, whose inhabitants have been afflicted with an abnormal blood-borne disease. Upon mysteriously awakening in Yharnam during the night of "The Hunt", the Hunter seeks out something known only as "Paleblood" for reasons unknown. The Hunter begins to unravel Yharnam's intriguing mysteries while hunting down its many terrifying beasts. Eventually, the Hunter's objective is to locate and terminate the source of the plague, and escape the nightmare to return to the 'real world', known as the "Waking World".
The game is played from a third-person perspective, players control a customizable protagonist, and gameplay is focused on weapons-based combat and exploration. Players battle beastly and varied enemies, including bosses, using items such as swords and firearms, and journey through the story, exploring the game's different locations, interacting with non-player characters, collecting key items involved in the story, and discovering and unraveling the world's many mysteries. Another trait of the game is its difficulty, with some gaming publications calling it "brutal", while others said it was "difficult, but fair".
Bloodborne began development in 2012 under the working title of Project Beast. Bearing many similarities to the Souls series of games by the same director, Bloodborne was partially inspired by classic H.P. Lovecraft novels as well as Dracula, and the architectural design of certain real world locations in places such as Romania and the Czech Republic. The decision by game director Hidetaka Miyazaki to create a new intellectual property (IP) and not another Souls game was made because Miyazaki wanted to create something "different"; at the same time, Sony wanted a new IP to be made exclusively for the PlayStation 4. An expansion for the game, titled The Old Hunters, was released on November 24, 2015.
Having been highly anticipated before being released, Bloodborne was met with critical acclaim upon release. Many critics applauded the game's atmosphere, detailed environments, and overall visuals, the interconnected world design, the design of the characters, particularly that of the enemies, the fast-paced gameplay, the storyline and lore, and the soundtrack, which some touted as "glorious". Frame rate issues and long load times at launch did, however, cause the game to draw some criticism. By September 2015, the game had sold over two million copies.
Bloodborne is played from a third-person perspective and features action role-playing elements similar to those found in the Souls series of games, particularly Demon's Souls and Dark Souls. Players make their way through different locations within the decrepit Gothic world of Yharnam, while battling varied enemies, including bosses, collecting different types of useful items that have many uses, interacting with the strange non-player characters, opening up shortcuts, and continuing through the main story. Combat is fast-paced and requires an offensive approach in order for players to combat dense hordes of enemies. The player character is agile and is able to dodge attacks by strafing around enemies while locked on. The new risk-and-reward style of gameplay is emphasized through Bloodborne's Regain system, which allows the player to, within a small window of time, recover portions of lost health by striking an enemy. A New Game Plus mode is also present; after the player has finished the game, a new game will immediately be started. New Game Plus is optional, players retain all their equipment, and the game is harder than the previous play through.
At the beginning of the game, the player creates their character, the Hunter. The player determines the basic details of the Hunter; gender, hairstyle, name, skin colour, body shape, voice, and eye colour, are some of the details the player determines. The player also chooses a starting class, known as an 'Origin', which provides a basic backstory for the Hunter and sets the player's starting attributes. The Origins allow the player's Hunter to have a distinct play style, which, along with physical appearance, give the Hunter a unique personality. For example, one Origin may describe the Hunter as a cowardly weakling, which would indicate the player prefers to avoid conflict, while another Origin may describe the Hunter as being a ruthless, killing machine, which would indicate that the Hunter prefers to engage in combat. Another way the player defines their Hunter is by choosing what brotherhood they are a member of. These religious societies, known as 'Covenants', each have their own views on the world of Yharnam.
Players can return to a safe zone, known as the Hunter's Dream, by interacting with lanterns spread throughout the world of Yharnam. Doing so replenishes health, but repopulates all monsters in the game world. Lanterns also serve as the game's checkpoints; the player will return to the last activated lantern when they die. Positioned away from Yharnam, the Hunter's Dream delivers some of the game's basic features to the player. Players may purchase useful items, such as clothing, from the Messengers using Blood Echoes or Insight, level up their character by talking to the Doll, or upgrade their weapons in the workshop, among other things. Unlike Yharnam and all other locations in the game, the Hunter's Dream is considered completely safe; there is no way for the player to die whilst in the Hunter's Dream and it is the only location in the game not to feature enemies. However, the last boss battles of the game take place in the Hunter's Dream.
The player may only wield two melee weapons and two secondary weapons at one time. Most melee weapons, called Trick Weapons, can transform into two alternate states; each state encourages a different approach to combat. For example, the Hunter Axe in its initial state is wielded with one hand and can be used to quickly dispatch enemies in cramped areas, but when transformed into its secondary state, it becomes an extended two handed weapon more suited for crowd control. With most Trick Weapons, one state is usually a slower, bigger weapon, that deals heavier damage per hit, while the other state is smaller, faster, and deals its damage in hit streaks. The player's main secondary weapon is a firearm; the firearm, usually a pistol, can be used in a traditional sense, as well as a way to stun enemies. When an enemy is stunned, the player can perform a Visceral attack; Visceral attacks cause a large amount of damage in one hit and can also be performed after the player strikes an enemy from behind with a charged attack. Other secondary weapons include a torch, cannon, and wooden shield, while other main melee weapons include a hammer, sword, two-handed gun, which serves as the melee and ranged weapon, and a whip. The player can carry other offensive weapons, such as molotovs, throwing knives, and pebbles.
Bloodborne's world of Yharnam is a large map full of areas that are connected. Some areas of Yharnam are not connected to the main locations and require the player to teleport there. Players are usually presented with multiple options when progressing through locations; usually there is a main path that the player uses to progress through the story. When traversing the main path, the player will encounter paths that lead to completely different locations that are optional. Each path also eventually leads back to the central area the player started in. This provides the player with shortcuts, useful for when they die. There are many locations in the game; Forsaken Castle Cainhurst, a large, intricate castle situated away from Yharnam in a snowy environment; Upper Cathedral Ward, a cathedral that is home to one of the game's Covenants, The Choir; Abandoned Old Workshop, the 'real' location of the Hunter's Dream; Yahar'gul, Unseen Village, a location the Hunter may be forcibly taken to that features some of the most dangerous enemies in the game; and Hemwick Charnel Lane, a forest clearing full of the game's witch enemies, are some of the game's locations.
Similarly to the previous Souls games, slaying enemies grants the player Blood Echoes, which doubles as the player's experience points and the game's currency. Should the player die, their Blood Echoes will be lost at the location of their death. If they are able to reach that point again, they can regain them. However, should the player die before they can retrieve their lost Blood Echoes, they will be lost forever. Sometimes, the player's Blood Echoes may be captured by an enemy, typically identified by glowing blue eyes; defeating this enemy will return the lost Blood Echoes. If an enemy does not hold the Blood Echoes, they will be on the ground near the location of the player's death. Insight is a secondary form of currency; they can be spent to purchase items and depending on the players Insight level, the world will change in many different ways. When the player reaches a specific Insight level, some NPCs or enemies might no longer be present, the sky and moon may change colour, the player may start hearing different sounds (such as a crying baby and mysterious whispering), or enemies' attack patterns may change. The world also changes as the player progresses through the main story. Insight can be gained by finding and defeating bosses or using items that grant Insight.
When enemies are defeated, they drop useful items for the player, such as Blood Vials, which are used as healing potions, or Quicksilver Bullets, the main ammunition for ranged weaponry. Players can also sacrifice health to create Blood Bullets for their ranged weaponry. Blood Bullets cause slightly more damage than standard Quicksilver Bullets and the Regain system still applies to the lost health. Players may find useful items hidden in the environment as well as being dropped by enemies. The items hidden in the environment usually require the player to go on a different path than the path they were initially traveling. Other items the player may find include Coldblood Dew, which grants the player Blood Echoes, Antidote, used when the player has been poisoned, and Hunter Badges, items that allows the player to purchase more items in the Hunter's Dream. The player may equip Blood Gems, Blood Shards, or Caryll Runes that, when discovered and equipped, give the player's weapons or the player themselves specific bonuses. For example, if a player has equipped a Caryll Rune, it may reduce the overall amount of stamina that is consumed; similarly, if a Blood Gem is fortified with a weapon, it may give the weapon a poison or fire effect, thus increasing the damage.
Multiplayer is present in Bloodborne as well, though it functions differently from its counterparts in the Souls series. By expending a consumable item and one Insight point, players can summon other players into their world to help with boss battles or large groups of enemies, and progress through areas of the game cooperatively. This leaves the player vulnerable to invasions, in which another player may invade the victim's game world and attempt to kill them, unless the player can find and defeat a specific enemy before an enemy player invades. Multiplayer summons are limited by proximity; players can only be summoned within a specific distance of each other to prevent players being summoned too far away to be of any assistance. Players can only summon other players that are around the same level as them to prevent the game from being too difficult, or too easy, for one of the players. What Covenant a player is a part of affects multiplayer as well. Players can summon an NPC to help them in addition to getting help from other players. The NPC serves as an AI companion to the player, that helps defeat enemies. Players can only summon specific NPCs that they have met throughout their journey. Another way players may interact with each other is by leaving notes. A player may leave a tip for defeating a boss, tell the reader where to go, fool the reader by purposely providing incorrect information, or just leave a meaningless message to others. Players may rate a message as 'Fine' or 'Foul', which will indicate to future readers whether the note is useful or untrustworthy.
A new feature that differs from the previous Souls games are Chalice Dungeons. Chalice Dungeons are randomly generated dungeons that vary in depth and difficulty, and can be reformed by performing a ritual with a Chalice and other certain materials in the Hunter's Dream. Chalice Dungeons are optional and provide additional content to the player. Gameplay is much the same as the main story in that it contains various areas and enemies that the player journeys through to complete the Dungeon. Each Chalice Dungeon contains multiple bosses that the player must defeat to progress through the Dungeon's levels. Special types of lootable chests that are not found in the main story are hidden throughout the Dungeons, providing the player with the materials to generate more Dungeons. One major difference between the main story and the Chalice Dungeons is the world design. In the main story world of Yharnam, the design is open ended, more spacious, and is a mixture of indoor and outdoor environments. Chalice Dungeons are only indoors, cramped, and contain many traits of a typical dungeon. The branching paths features in the main story are still present in the Chalice Dungeons. Another main difference is the objectives; in the main story, players journey through many different locations with many different objectives. In the Chalice Dungeons, the player's basic objective is to locate a door, then find the lever to open the door, which is located elsewhere, and then battle the boss behind the door. After the boss is defeated, the player enters the next area, which will be completely different, and completes the same goal. The cycle repeats at least three times before the entire Chalice Dungeon is cleared. Chalice Dungeons, like the main story, can be played alone or cooperatively with other players.
Bloodborne takes place in Yharnam, a decrepit Gothic city known for its medical advances using blood as a primary tool. Over the years, many travelers journey to the city seeking the remedy to cure their afflictions; the player's character journeys to Yharnam seeking something known as Paleblood for reasons unknown. Upon arriving in the city, however, it is discovered that Yharnam is plagued with an endemic illness that has transformed most of its citizens into bestial creatures. The player must navigate the streets of Yharnam during the night of The Hunt, and overcome its violently deranged inhabitants and horrifying monsters in order to stop the source of the plague and escape the nightmare.
The game's first few moments are seen in a first-person view through the eyes of a Hunter; the Hunter sees they're being operated on by an old man. The man explains that he is performing a blood transfusion, and tells the Hunter they've "come to the right place" in seeking Paleblood. He warns the Hunter that he will go on a strange journey that will seem like a bad dream. The Hunter then passes out after seeing several beastly creatures approach them. After the player has created their Hunter, the game is seen in the standard third-person view, and the Hunter awakes on an operating table in a small clinic. Upon exiting the room, the Hunter discovers they're in Yharnam, full of dangerous monsters and mysteries, and begins their lengthy journey.
Shortly after their arrival in Yharnam, the player enters a spectral realm called the Hunter's Dream, which acts as both a sanctuary and workshop. The player encounters two entities: Gehrman, an elderly, wheelchair-bound man who provides advice to Hunters like the player; and the Doll, a living life-size doll that assists the player in leveling up and emotionally bonds with the Hunter over the course of the game. Gehrman informs the player that in order to obtain the blood they seek, they must hunt down the various monsters plaguing Yharnam, and halt the source of the plague. As the Hunter delves deeper into the city, they begin to learn its dark secrets, as well as the origin of the plague that's destroying it. Long ago, the residents of Yharnam began worshiping ancient, eldritch cosmic beings known as the Great Ones after scholars from the College of Byrgenwerth discovered their blood in the ruins of an ancient, highly advanced civilization that Yharnam was built upon. The Great Ones provided the healing blood Yharnam was famous for, which are also the source of the plague. The Great Ones spread the scourge in Yharnam in order to foster the growth of an infant Great One.
While traveling through Central Yharnam, the second area, the Hunter is told to go to the Cathedral Ward by an NPC named Gilbert. He tells the Hunter they should seek the Healing Church (which is in the Cathedral Ward) because they were in charge of blood ministration and they may help the Hunter find Paleblood. The Hunter eventually gets to the Cathedral Ward, passing through sewers, a bridge, the streets of Central Yharnam, a graveyard, and through buildings.
After progressing through various areas, including chapels, forests, small towns, universities, castles, odd nightmare locations, underground labyrinths, and churches, eventually the Hunter is led towards another spectral realm, the Nightmare of Mensis, wherein the player encounters Mergo, an infant Great One who is the source of the nightmare, and Mergo's guardian, known as Mergo's Wet Nurse. Only after slaying Mergo's Wet Nurse, and letting Mergo die by extension, is the final phase of the game initiated. When the Hunter returns to the Hunter's Dream, Gehrman offers to free the player from the Nightmare and return them to the Waking World. At this point, three different endings are possible depending on the player's actions.
Choosing to accept Gehrman's offer unlocks the Yharnam Sunrise ending. Gehrman uses his scythe to behead the player, who then awakens in the real Yharnam as the sun rises. In the Hunter's Dream, the Doll bids the Hunter farewell.
Choosing to refuse Gehrman's offer unlocks one of two endings; the second ending, Honoring Wishes, is the default ending for this case. Angered, Gehrman initiates a battle with the player. After Gehrman is defeated, a mysterious being called the Moon Presence arrives and embraces the player, binding them to the dream. Some time later, the Doll is seen pushing the player, now sitting in Gehrman's wheelchair, back to the workshop in the Hunter's Dream. The Doll remarks that a new Hunt will begin, signifying that the player has taken Gehrman's place in guiding other Hunters.
Throughout the game, the player can find three pieces which are one third of an Umbilical Cord, which occur when a Great One is trying to reproduce, often using a human being as a surrogate. If the player consumes the three parts of Umbilical Cord just prior to refusing Gehrman's offer, the Childhood's Beginning ending is unlocked. After Gehrman is defeated, the Moon Presence arrives to bind the player to the dream, but the player resists and combats the Presence in a final battle. Upon defeating the Moon Presence, the player is transformed into an infant Great One, and is taken by the Doll to be raised as her own. Though there is no further explanation as to what happened, the description of the trophy the player receives for reaching this ending states that the player will "lift humanity into its next childhood".
The Old Hunters
After discovering an item called "Eye of a Blood-Drunk Hunter," the player learns of the Hunter's Nightmare, where the first hunters are trapped, drunk with blood. While traveling through Yharnam, the player comes across the corpse of a strange Hunter. When the player searches the corpse, they are pulled into the Hunter's Nightmare, populated by both beasts and long-crazed Hunters, by a lesser Amygdala. The player meets Simon the Harrowed Hunter, who tells them how the nightmare serves as a prison for hunters who have succumbed to their own madness and the scourge, and that the nightmare hides a dangerous secret. He then assists the player throughout their travels. The player first travels to the Nightmare Church, where they encounter and kill the first of the Old Hunters and the founder of the Healing Church Workshop, Ludwig the Accursed. The player also kills the founder of the Healing Church, Laurence the First Vicar, after finding his human skull.
The player then continues on to the Research Hall, where Simon explains that in order to find the secret of the nightmare, the player must reach the Astral Clocktower and kill Lady Maria, another original hunter and one of Gehrman's students. After fighting their way through the "Living Failures" in the Research Hall, the player reaches the clocktower. Upon defeating Maria, the player reveals the secret she was protecting; a hidden fishing hamlet that had been pulled into the nightmare, and its inhabitants transformed into grotesque monsters. While exploring the village, the player comes across a mortally wounded Simon, who gives the player a key and his bowblade, and pleads for the player to end the nightmare. The player then discovers that the hamlet is the origin of the nightmare; the result of a curse placed on the Byrgenwerth scholars and their Hunter subordinates, who tortured and massacred the hamlet's inhabitants in search of someone or something. Afterwards, the player is continually attacked by the spirit of Simon's killer, Brador the Church Assassin. Using Simon's key, the player finds the real Brador within a prison cell, where he allows them to kill him.
As the player continues on through the Hamlet, they eventually discover the washed-up corpse of a large creature, revealed to be the Great One Kos, who the hamlet worshipped and who is responsible for the curse. An infant Great One, the "Orphan of Kos," suddenly emerges from the corpse. After its defeat, the creature's phantom retreats to its dead mother's side, and upon killing it the Hunter's Nightmare ends. "Ah, sweet child of Kos, returned to the ocean. A bottomless curse, a bottomless sea, accepting all that there is and can be."
Development of Bloodborne began as development was being completed on the Prepare to Die edition of Dark Souls, released in August 2012. Sony Computer Entertainment approached FromSoftware concerning cooperative development on a title, and director Hidetaka Miyazaki asked about the possibility of developing a game for eighth-generation consoles. The concept of Bloodborne developed from there. There were no connections to FromSoftware's previous titles, even though Miyazaki conceded that it "carries the DNA of Demon's Souls and its very specific level design". Development ran parallel to that of Dark Souls II.
The game's Victorian Gothic setting was partly inspired by the novel Dracula, and the architecture of locations in Romania and the Czech Republic. Miyazaki enjoyed the works of H. P. Lovecraft and Dracula novels and applied those same themes and the setting into the game. Miyazaki had wanted to create a game set in such an era as those novels, but he wanted everything to be as detailed as possible, and felt that such a game was only possible on eighth generation hardware. This need for high-end hardware, and the fact that the PlayStation 4 was presented to the company first, was the reason the game was a PS4 exclusive, rather than a cross-generation release. The developers' target framerate for the title was 30 frames per second, due to their design choices made for the title.
Story details were more plentiful than in the Souls games, though the team created a larger mystery at the heart of the story to compensate for this. The team did not want to raise the difficulty level higher than their previous games as they felt it would make the game "pretty much unplayable for anyone". To balance this out, the team created a more aggressive combat system focusing on both action and strategy. They also wanted to alter the penalties for death used in the Souls games as they did not want the game to be classified as being for hardcore gamers. One of the more difficult decisions the team faced was the introduction of guns as weapons. Because it would fit well into the game's setting, and that it would consequently be less accurate than modern models, guns were eventually included.
Bloodborne's soundtrack was composed by a mix of Western and Japanese composers. The soundtrack contains over 80 minutes of original music by Ryan Amon, Tsukasa Saitoh, Michael Wandmacher, Yuka Kitamura, Cris Velasco, and Nobuyoshi Suzuki, and features performances by a 65-piece orchestra and a 32-member choir. The development of the soundtrack lasted for around two and a half years.
Screenshots and a gameplay trailer of the game were leaked on the Internet weeks before the official reveal, under the title of Project Beast. Many believed at the time that the leak could be connected to Demon's Souls. However, Miyazaki later stated that Bloodborne was never considered to be Demon's Souls II, due to Sony Computer Entertainment wanting a new intellectual property (IP) for the PlayStation 4.
Bloodborne was announced at Sony Computer Entertainment's 2014 Electronic Entertainment Expo media briefing on June 9, 2014. A trailer was shown. In January 2015, Bloodborne became Game Informer's readers' most anticipated game of 2015. The game was originally planned to be released on February 6, 2015, but it was delayed to March 2015. Bloodborne was released on March 24, 2015 in North America, March 25, 2015 in Europe and Australia, March 26, 2015 in Japan, and March 27, 2015 in the United Kingdom.
A limited collector's edition was launched with the game. It includes a SteelBook case, a hard cover art book, and a digital copy of the game's soundtrack. The soundtrack was released separately on April 21, 2015. The European exclusive Nightmare Edition included physical items such as a quill and ink set, as well as all the items in the collector's edition. An Asian edition includes a letter opener modeled off of the in-game weapon, the Kirkhammer. A PlayStation 4 bundle is also available in Asian regions.
A song to promote Bloodborne was recorded by the Hit House featuring Ruby Friedman for a trailer and TV spot of the game, titled "Hunt You Down", written by Scott Miller and William Hunt, and recorded by Wyn Davis in Los Angeles and at Word of Mouth Recording Studios in New Orleans.
Sony Denmark teamed up with Danish organization GivBlod in order to encourage blood donations through a program where donators who donated on March 23, 2015, would receive a chance to win Bloodborne as a gift.
In March 2016, a full year after the game's original release, it was announced that an officially licensed card game, based on the game's Chalice Dungeons, would be released at a later date. The card game was created by Eric Lang and will be published by CoolMiniOrNot.
At the SCEJA Press Conference for the 2015 Tokyo Game Show, an expansion pack for Bloodborne was announced, titled The Old Hunters. Released on November 24, 2015, the expansion takes place within a world where hunters of the past are trapped, and features new weapons, outfits and arcane items.
Daniel Tack of Game Informer gave the game a 9.75 out of 10, praising the game's unsettling atmosphere and the aesthetic visuals, which he stated "had brought horror to life". He also praised its challenging gameplay, which he compared to the Souls series, as well as its intimately-realized story, high replay value, deliberate, rewarding and fast-paced combat, sparse storytelling and satisfying weapon customization. He was also impressed by the well-crafted boss battles, unique enemy-design, and soundtrack. He also praised the multiplayer for extending the longevity of the game, and the game for allowing players to learn and adapt throughout a playthrough. He summarized the review by saying that "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."
Edge scored it a full 10 out of 10, stating that it was a "dazzling work of dank, abject horror that cements Miyazaki as one of the all-time greats." Electronic Gaming Monthly scored it 9.5 out of 10, stating "Though built on the same core as the Souls games, Bloodborne marks the largest departure from the status quo to date. The numerous changes, many in service of a faster and more aggressive playstyle, might not be for everyone, but if you embrace that shift, you might well have a new favorite in the From Software canon."
Kevin VanOrd of GameSpot gave the game a 9 out of 10, praising its Lovecraftian horror-themed storyline, energetic boss battles, precise combat for making encounters with enemies fun, as well as its unique artistry and varied environments. He also praised the sound-design of the enemies, the difficulty, which he compared to Dark Souls II, and the melee-based weapons featured in the game for allowing transformation during battle. Regarding the survival horror portion of the game, he stated that it succeeded in making players feel disturbed. The interconnected design of the game world is also praised for making discovery rewarding.
Writing for GamesRadar, Ben Griffin gave the game a 4.5/5, praising the game's detailed environments, Gothic-styled visuals, rich combat, fresh challenges, the randomized Chalice Dungeons for extending the game's length and the rewarding character upgrade system. He also praised the game for delivering a sense of progression and offering players motivation to finish the game, as well as the narrative for "intertwining with geography of Yharnam". However, he criticized the game's non-divergent class system, as well as the specialization, as he stated that "lack of magic, miracles, pyromancy, archery, heavy, medium, and light options discourages experimentation." He also criticized the game for always forcing players to upgrade and stock weapons only in certain sections of the game.
Destructoid's Chris Carter gave the game a 9/10. While calling the game "the most stable Souls game to date", he praised the game's emphasis on melee combat and raw skill, as well as the game's interesting NPCs, sidequests and interactions. He criticized the game's less-inspiring setting and environment design, limited competitive multiplayer, low replay value, as well as the occasional blocked area in the game, which he stated "feel less sprawling and less replayable" than previous FromSoftware games. He summarized the review by saying that "Bloodborne is an interesting mix of everything FromSoftware has learned throughout its storied developmental career. FromSoftware is still one of the only developers left that makes you work for your satisfaction, and Bloodborne is damn satisfying."
IGN's Brandin Tyrrel gave the game a 9.1 out of 10 in saying: "Bloodborne is an amazing, exacting, and exhausting pilgrimage through a gorgeous land that imposes the feeling of approaching the bottom of a descent into madness. Though extended load times and minor frame-rate hitches have an effect on the pacing, it's otherwise an intensely challenging and rewarding game. There's an incredible power to unlocking its mysteries, and in succeeding, despite its demand for a pound of your flesh."
Game Revolution's Nick Tan gave the game an 8/10, criticizing the restrictive builds and the unreliable firearms. He also noted that the game suffered from lock-on and camera issues. He summarized the review by saying that "Though not as refined and freeform as some of its predecessors, it continues in the longstanding Souls tradition of lending credence to challenging games and making the seemingly Sisphyean task of conquering ruthless, malformed monstrosities possible and downright commendable."
Michael McWhertor of Polygon scored the game a 9 out of 10. He thought that the story was "intriguing", said the guns were "unlike any other video game gun", in that the Visceral attacks give the player "one of the best feelings in any game", praised the game's difficulty for providing satisfying encounters, and thought the cryptic mysteries did a good job at encouraging the player to progress through the game. He also praised the game's environments, enemies, and weapons, as he thought they were well designed and offered the player freedom and variety. McWhertor's main criticisms were concerning the load times and technical issues. He found that the game performed noticeably worse when playing with another player, saying that the frame rate "takes a hit". He also found some mechanics and items confusing, and disliked the fact that there are lots of loading screens in quick succession.
The game was positively reviewed outside of the traditional gaming media. New York Daily News gave it a full five-star rating, stating that it is "the perfect marriage, blending mechanics that seem easy to learn with gameplay and challenge that demands mastery and ingenuity." The Guardian also gave it a full five-star rating, stating that "elegance, precision, humour, and challenge make Bloodborne irresistible." The Telegraph also awarded it a full five-star rating, concluding that "it's the digital edition of a round-the-world trip to foreign continents, each turning of a corner providing equal helpings of excitement and trepidation."
After receiving criticism for long load times, FromSoftware announced that it was working on a patch to improve the issue. Two patches addressing various issues, including reducing the loading times, were released in April 2015.
The game sold 152,567 physical retail copies within the first week of release in Japan, ranking first place within the Japanese software sales charts for that particular week. Bloodborne debuted at number two in the UK software retail chart, behind Battlefield Hardline by 22,500 units. In North America, Bloodborne was the second best selling software in March, despite being released at the end of the month. By April 2015, the game had sold over one million copies, and by September 2015, the game had over two million copies sold. Soon after release, Sony stated that the game's sales exceeded their expectations.
Bloodborne was awarded the 2015 Game of the Year by several video game review sites, including GameTrailers, Eurogamer, Destructoid, and Edge, along with being awarded the "2015 Playstation 4 Game of the Year" by IGN. Bloodborne was nominated for eight Golden Joystick Awards, including Game of the Year, PlayStation Game of the Year, Best Original Game, Best Multiplayer Game, Best Storytelling, Best Visual Design, Best Audio, and Best Gaming Moment.
|List of awards and nominations|
|Golden Joystick Awards 2015||Best Original Game||Won|
|Best Visual Design||Nominated|
|Best Multiplayer Game||Nominated|
|Best Gaming Moment||Nominated|
|Game of the Year||Nominated|
|PlayStation Game of the Year||Won|
|The Game Awards 2015||Game of the Year||Nominated|
|Best Role Playing Game||Nominated|
|Best Art Direction||Nominated|
|Game Developers Choice Awards 2016||Game of the Year||Nominated|
|Best Visual Art||Nominated|
|12th British Academy Games Awards||Game Design||Won|