Bloodborne PS4 PlayStation 4 1

I beat Bloodborne last night. I'm tempted to talk up my gaming prowess in this opening paragraph, but I'd be undermining the entire point of this editorial if I did – there's way too much e-peen measuring going on elsewhere around the web with regards to From Software's latest. The thing is: I was just like you – I was terrified of the PlayStation 4 exclusive, expecting it to rip me to shreds and push my patience to its extreme limits. It turns out that I just really, really enjoyed the game.

I'm not going to lie to you: it's hard. You have to play it with the right mentality, as approaching this gothic outing as though it's a spiritual successor to Devil May Cry will get you killed. But if you play cautiously – watching your corners, taking on one enemy at a time, and learning the patterns of your foes – you will triumph without too many problems. I'd estimate that I died about 50 times in my 40 or so hours with the adventure, and at least 20 of those came courtesy of Father Gascoigne.

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And that's because the game really isn't as impenetrably difficult as some people will lead you to believe – it just requires you to re-learn everything that you know about games. Checkpoints? They're few and far between. Progress? You'll lose it if you're impatient. Bosses? Yeah, they're tough. Well, apart from the Celestial Emissary – he's a bit of a joke. None of these things ever feel especially unfair, though, and if you can overcome the initial hump, you will progress.

There's way too much e-peen measuring going on around the web with regards to From Software's latest

There's one tip that I'd share: if you're a beginner, read every piece of material that you can get your hands on. I tend to avoid spoilers like the plague, but with this game, I just decided to absorb every guide that I could find – and it served me well. I knew exactly which class to pick, where to level up, and some general strategies for all of the bosses before I got to them. Some may argue that I ruined the element of surprise, but I also felt prepared – and it helped me to appreciate the game.

I know dozens of people that would enjoy this title, but they've all spun me the same line: it's too tough. But, with the right attitude, it's not as hard as you think – in fact, I think it's expertly designed. Every single encounter has been tuned to a point where it's challenging, but never overwhelming. And while you may die, you'll learn something along the way; be it a shortcut or the placement of an enemy, you'll get better and better and better with every minute that you invest. That's satisfying.

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I will criticise one area: the Chalice Dungeons suck. I like the idea here, but replacing all of the abovementioned hand tuning for an algorithm doesn't work, and you end up in scenarios that are unbalanced and unfair – especially when the game strips you of half of your health for fun. But these are, by and large, optional extras – and they only serve to highlight just how brilliantly designed the rest of the release is. Ignore them, and you'll never even consider tossing a controller.

At this point, I actually think that the Souls series' fearsome reputation is working against it. I should stress: my experience with the franchise outside of Bloodborne rests with an hour or so with Demon's Souls – a game which launched at a time when I couldn't commit to it properly. Beyond that, I was put off the brand due to the promise of frustration. Maybe this latest instalment is easier than its predecessors; all I know is that you shouldn't ignore it just because you're scared that it's too hard.

How have you got on with Bloodborne so far? Are you a beginner or a veteran? Do you feel that it's impenetrably hard or is Sammy on the mark? Try not to die in the comments section below.