Bloodborne reeks of brutal brilliance. From Software's violent eviscerate-'em-up pegs you as a personality-less predator, as you stomp the Gothic cobbles of Yharnam in search of monstrous prey to mutilate. A spiritual successor to the Souls series, Hidetaka Miyazaki's vulgar PlayStation 4 exclusive adopts a more aggressive angle than its predecessors, relying on dodge rolls and risk taking rather than methodical melee. But it's this minor twist that makes the Japanese developer's latest a masterpiece – and a deserved winner of our 2015 Game of the Year award.
The not-so blunt reality is that Bloodborne's combat is borderline perfect: each slash of the Saw Cleaver or Holy Sword is a work of art. The game forces you to practice if you hope to progress, but it's through repetition that it teaches you the intricacies of its system: the time it takes to evade an attack, the number of strikes that you can submerge into your prey before you need to get out of the way, the tell-tale signs that broadcast what a beast is about to do. But even then there's a spontaneity to the manner in which skirmishes advance, with rash impulsiveness rewarded – or penalised.
"Bloodborne fires a quicksilver bullet at convention, gnawing away at the fat that diseases most blockbusters these days"
And it's in the eventual showers of slaughtered celebration that the game wedges an irremovable stake into your battered and bruised chest. Whether it's the Cleric Beast or Ebrietas, few games make you feel a sense of elation quite like From Software's latest, as you pound the air like it's made of matted fur and sodden skin. This rapturous response abounds again and again and again over the course of the role-playing game's 60 or so hour campaign, and each victory rewards with a rush more fulfilling than the last, leaving you blood-drunk.
There's more to Bloodborne than the thrill of the chase, of course: the game is utterly gorgeous – a mix of Victorian architecture and Lovecraftian horror. Environments overlap and intertwine, feeding into each other like the bowels of a giant space beetle. And while there's very much a narrative here to be extracted and understood, you don't necessarily need to analyse the game to feast on its frightened fiction. This is a nightmare for you to project yourself into and compose your own prose inside – and it's all the more memorable for that reason alone.
It's a daring, dismal, and deceitful game, then – the anti-AAA in many ways. Bloodborne fires a quicksilver bullet at convention, carefully gnawing away at the fat that diseases most blockbusters these days. What it leaves behind is a carcass so unspoiled that it will be etched into the annals of gaming history for generations to come – a gratuitous, ghastly experience that's glorious in every single way.
Do you agree that Bloodborne is slick, or does it make you feel violently sick? Hack away at our Game of the Year in the comments section below.
Finally the best game gets recognised
100% agree. Totally my GOTY 2015.
Don't get me wrong, Witcher is fantastic but it was prone to glitches/bugs, combat needed work and the last parts of the game lost abit of steam (eredins fight was a joke) whereas bloodborne was damn near faultless!
Bloodborne topped my own personal game of the year list as well. A worthy winner from a great year of gaming.
I was so apprehensive when I started this game but I fell head over heels with it. Phenomenal level design, sublime combat, and a dense atmosphere make Bloodborne one of the best games in years.
Couldn't agree more. Bloodborne is astonishing in how well every aspect is considered and crafted. There have been few games that give you such a sense of skill and progression as a player in how you start to tune in with enemy attacks and battle tactics. And of course, there have been few games with such a sense of darkened dread. It's a splendourous nightmare indeed.
Not my number one but I can get on board with this. Tough combat, great atmosphere, graphics and sound, old school sense of exploration without waypoints and mini maps, subtle story telling. Great game!
Approved! One of only two games I've plat'ed and well worth it.
Not my number 1 (that easily goes to The Witcher 3, which I personally feel will be remembered as the more defining title). Bloodborne had a great, if not oppressive and unique atmosphere. But I've never been able to get into the Souls titles, I tried with this for about 6-7 hours, but ultimately felt like I could be playing something that I personally enjoyed more.
Was my GOTY until I played Batman a few weeks ago which I think just pipped it for me...
I have always avoided this game, as i believe it will be too hard for me. But for what i see it does look amazing. I stick with witcher 3 and steins;gate as my favourite games for 2015
Great game. And to think I was going to stop at the very beginning because I had no idea what I was doing. Glad I persisted because I loved every minute of it afterward. I hope they make a sequel!
@brendon987 give it a shot, if I can do it anyone can do it. Use guides if you need to - I did! I even got my first platinum. I found the game quite addicting. Sammy is right, the combat is amazing.
Love BB. Great article @get2sammyb
Awesome game,i love listening to Lovecraftian dark ambient music while i play (Lustmord,Cryo Chamber ect) The only thing for me is,i'm not sure if i got the dlc working -had a hassle on the psn store with it..anyhow,at least i got past the blood starved beast now,need to take another look at it.
This game made me buy a PS4!
nice! i love this :x
seriously this gonna be the best ps4 game even in 2017!
but its not my GOTY
my GOTY is MGS! i dont know why but i think its better to call MGS GOTY as say blood born GOTY!
Fantastic choice! I've been playing Bloodborne recently - I just love it. The atmosphere is perfect, the combat virtually perfect, and the minimalistic narrative amazing. The game makes you the hunter perfectly. The gestures and interactions with other players characterizes your hunter. It's just prefect. I'm not sure if I'd say it's GOTY, but it's very close if I don't.
@get2sammyb I'd was the same way when I got the game.
Bloodborne is by everything I judge a game by...a masterpiece. I've spent goodness knows how long thinking about the game's rabbit hole of lore. It's honestly mindboggling how much there is. There's a really good written piece online by a man named Redgrave called The Paleblood Hunt, it's a fantastic read up on his interpretation of Bloodborne's lore. Now if we can have Sony announce Demon's Souls remastered and Bloodborne 2 please.
My personal GOTY, in my mind Miyazaki simply makes masterpieces (although I've only played Dark Souls and Bloodborne). I think this has become my new favourite game of all time
I've never got into playing bloodbourne,definitly gonna give it a chance after all this praise it gets. First place for me would have been either Witcher 3 or Fallout 4. 3. place Nathan Drake collection 4. place Journey remastered.Keep in mind i haven't played the last two games before as ps4 is my first console and i know they originaly older games but they do came out to the ps4 this year. 5. place Battlefront 3 for me. I haven't played any Bf games before so i had nothing to compare to,later i looked into it and yes, a lot of modes, and content is missing and all it seems is a graphical upgrade, but still deserves the place on my list as it blew my mind as a first impression.
Had a feeling it'd be numero uno. There were some good contenders, but it's nearly impossible to beat a Miyazaki game.
Bought it but just couldn't get to grips with it, felt no desire to persevere and so back to the shop I went to shamefully trade it in. All these words of praise and endless accolades tempt me to try again but have a nagging feeling it's just not for me.
Good choice, Bloodborne is awesome, excellent game.
This game had it all a great choice for GOTY.
I still have yet to finish the game....
dont hate me but i cant stand it personally. i want to like it, i REALLY do! but i just dont have the patients to repeat the same parts over and over and over and over until i get it just right. that is not the least bit of fun to me. and no im not one of those adhd COD meat heads who need splosions and gun fire every 2 seconds. i love a lot of quiet slow games and am usually pretty darn good at games. but me and the souls series just do not gel. its a totally nich game and i dont agree that it should be #1/goty. not that im bent out of shape about it, its fine lol. doesnt affect my life. just my 2 cents. i probably would have gone with life is strange (also totally nich proving that im just full of crap lol ) or fallout4. my favorite "game" to date would have to be the PT demo though.
Gotta admit, I'm quite disappointed. How Until Dawn and Tearaway got no love from one of my favourite sites is beyond me. I mean, not even top 10?
@stevejcrow i feel ya. i bought it and a few days later put it up for sale. still waiting for someone to buy it so i can put my money to better use. not into paying for frustration and time lost lol
@naruball I'm with you on Until Dawn, that would possibly squeeze into my top 5.
My personal GOTY is Fallout 4, I've enjoyed every second of my 100 hours or so with the game and I'm still nowhere near the end of the story. I may have to give this Bloodborne a try, I've been in the fence as to whether to buy it for sometime but after seeing all the praise it's getting (and Uncharted being delayed) now seems like a good time. I can't really argue for or against this being GOTY, however after reading many of my fellow gamers comments here it sounds well deserved.
@naruball Until Dawn actually tied with Destiny: The Taken King in terms of points, but Destiny pushed it out since the latter got more first choice votes. It was about as close as it gets to being in the top 10.
Figured this would win. After Batman and MGS V disappointed to varying degrees, there really wasn't much competition. The Witcher 3 is a good but nothing more. Bloodborne may not be my kind of game but I can give credit where it's due for people who are into those kind of games it doesn't look like there's much better choice.
For me, Game of the Year is actually Yakuza 5 (2012 release I know but as we didn't get it in the West until this year I'm counting it), just edging Rise of the Tomb Raider.
I never got into these series, I even forced myself to play Dark Souls on PC with a trainer for the sake of exploration and even so I couldn't play more than half the game, but people praised BB way too much and I got curious, bought the GOTY on launch day and I was not in the mood to start playing it knowing what kind of game it is. That changed today, I started playing and I can't believe I wasn't frustrated at all after getting killed by the scouting groups at the start of the game for more than 1 hour I'm even more amazed that I loved every second of it even if it took me half a day to reach and beat Gascoigne.
Never at any point did a "Souls" game feel even remotely as good as BB, but this one is outstanding, great atmosphere, combat and level design, if I'd have to give it a thumbs down for something, it would be the sound at this point, the walking sound ruins the game when there's nothing going on to cover it up.
I don't like making a top of anything, but Bloodborne is definitely one of the best games I played this year, with games like Ori and the Witcher around it (not a Fallout fan and MGS V being a side quest simulator is also not relevant for me).
Bloodborne isn't in my top 5, but it is in my top ten. And that's with me only being able to beat 3 bosses before stopping because I just don't like this type of game. I gave it my best shot and liked it better than the souls series. However I CAN appreciate it for how good it is technically.
@brendon987 man, give it a bash. It took me a LOT of hours to make any progress in Demons' Souls but ultimately it was worth it. Yeah, this has a very steep learning curve and causes (me) a lot of frustration BUT it is Totally worth it when you start getting your head around the combat and dive into the lore. Maybe have a crack at it when the $ drops? 😀👍
For people like me who played it at launch, loved it, but didn't quite feel the urge to continue playing like in other Souls titles, I'd highly recommend giving it another go, especially with the new DLC out. The game runs smoother now and load times have vastly improved, but if you're anything like me you might have wanted it to be too much like DS, which ultimately it isn't.
I abandoned the game after completing it and I felt a bit "empty"; although I enjoyed every step of the way, it didn't feel like the instant classics Demon and Dark souls to me. After some months gone by I kept thinking bout the game and how much the setting intrigued me and I decided to give it a another go to prepare a bit for the DLC and I was hooked right away. I focussed too much on wanting to have a technically flawless, 60 fps Dark Souls clone, that I forgot to really appreciate what it did do. Now it's up there with Dark Souls for me and although I still have hopes for a Demon Souls 2 and that Dark Souls 3 will be the ultimate Souls experience, a Bloodborne 2 is now on top of my wishlist. Think about this gameplay with a feudal Japanese gone dark setting: because of the faster gameplay it could totally work imo.
I still need to properly play it. I got it at launch but found is so intimidating and psychologically demanding to play that I barely touched it.
@Gmork___ you know what? Some people just don't like souls games. It's understandable though. One of my best friends just couldn't see what I was raving about with it, and we tend to agree on most games. There's no shame in personal taste! Had one friend who played it for 8 hours or so, and really try to like it but it just wasn't for them.
Good game, not my GOTY by any stretch of the imagination but a decent game.
@naruball Both were pretty close to the top ten. Until Dawn was tied with Destiny, actually, but The Taken King got more higher-placed votes.
I initially played Bloodborne in April and rage quit after a month. Then decided to try it again in November and was finally able to finish the game and the dlc just before the new year. I love it soo much now and already more then halfway though NG+. It's rare for me to replay a game as soon as I finish it. and now only 3 trophies away from platinum
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