As the great Taylor Swift once sang, we don't know how it gets bigger than this. Or was that "better than this" – we forget. The point is that Bloodborne is out imminently, and the press have been testing their collective patience against From Software's latest foray. We're still getting a feel for the release's many repugnant enemies, so we're not quite ready to bring you our Tales from Yharnam just yet – but other parts of the media are. With expectations sky high ahead of a series of first-party letdowns, can the spiritual successor to Demon's Souls turn things around on the exclusives front?
Digital Spy - 5/5
Bloodborne may not be a Souls game and it doesn't fall into the horror genre, but it captures everything that makes the series so satisfying, so terrifying and so magical. I want to keep playing, I want to discover its secrets, I want to fight every monster, try every weapon, discuss theories and explore as many of the community dungeons as possible. To put it bluntly, I want to bleed the game dry.
The Jimquisition - 10/10
Bloodborne is as glorious as it is grotesque, a harsh and unyielding exercise in getting battered mercilessly while feeling encouraged the whole painful way. While very much a Souls game through and through, the switch from methodical and slow progression to a faster, ultimately more savage environment provides just enough of a twist to give it a wholly unique feel, a more empowering journey, for both the player and the opposition. Bloodborne is something truly special – a barbaric horror RPG that will giveth and taketh away in perfect measure, wrapped up in a perverse world that will refuse to let you go.
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.
EGM - 9.5/10
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.
Destructoid - 9/10
Bloodborne is an interesting mix of everything From Software has learned throughout its storied developmental career. Not everything will gel with fans old and new, but for the most part, the shift towards a combat-oriented game is a net positive. From Software is still one of the only developers left that makes you work for your satisfaction, and Bloodborne is damn satisfying.
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.
Gamesradar + - 9/10
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.
Will you be testing your masochistic mettle against Bloodborne this week, or has From Software's latest release got you running scared? Kill the Cleric Beast in the comments section below.