GBHorror2017: Why Bloodborne Is A Masterpiece Horror-Themed Game

bloodborne

Welcome to another Halloween post! We are right at the halting end of the Halloween year, and now I get to write about something that I’ve been waiting to do for a long time. This is a game that was created by the company “From Software”, famously known for the Dark Souls series, and is an exclusive on the Playstation 4. Bloodborne is one of my all time favorite games, easily top ten, and there are many reasons why I love this game so much. Fortunately a lot of my love can be neatly explained in this Halloween related post! So let me explain a number of reasons why I think this game, while not an exact horror game, is an excellent horror-themed game…

To just simply sum up my experience with this company and their games, I have definitely played all of the Souls and Souls-like games they’ve made. I have played and beaten Dark Souls, Dark Souls 3 and Bloodborne, and I have played hours of both Dark Souls 2 and Demon’s Souls. The overall opinion of these games is that I like them Tremendously, obviously by this post I love BloodBorne the most but generally all them are fun and top tier for me. The weakest would have to be Dark Souls 2, but that only if you compare it to the other entries here since it is still a better game than many out there. So there’s just a quick tidbit for those wondering.

 

THE GAMEPLAY EMOTES WORRY AND CAUTION, WHICH ELUDES TO FEAR…

 

Being as the game is made by the company that made Dark Souls, it’s no surprise that the game plays very much the same. You design your own character in a world with classes, statistics and leveling while nearly every enemy in the game will attack you in aggro rage from just seeing you. The game also has a variety of weapons and clothing for you to decide upon, and the weapons also have a leveling system. All of this is what relates it to the Dark Souls franchise, but there are some key differences. While the game may play and stylize itself after the Souls games, it is actually considered a “Dark Souls-inspired” game and not actually a connected or spin-off based game of the Souls series (so basically, it is not a Souls game and it’s considered a non-Souls entry by the creators). Alluding back to the gameplay mechanics, all the current games in the series have this sense of fear and fragility to your main protagonist character. Enemies are tough and death is almost certain at least ten times per area, there is a fear of losing your progress and collectibles. One of the main and important aspects of this game is grinding for points, which in Bloodborne is known as blood echoes, which requires you to persue these harsh enemies to earn said points. While you eventually get to a point where these early game enemies become a simple walk in the park for grinding, you will still have to deal with hours of frustration to get to that moment with a weaker character. So to get back to my main objective, it is a fear of losing your points and progression that will drive you crazy, but I think it becomes much more difficult in Bloodborne over Dark Souls. In Dark Souls you use what are known as estus flasks, which heal you upon taking great deals of damage. You have only a few but they are always refilled upon death or reaching a save point known as a bonfire. This has been a mechanic in all three of the Souls games, but it is much more difficult in Bloodborne. In Bloodborne there is no estus flasks of any sort, instead you use vials to heal your character. The difficult and worrisome part of this is that you either have to purchase or find these healing items within the world, meaning you have no refill option. Sure you can stack up your collected vials and have the sense of refilling after death, but that’s only if you really succeed in grinding a number of points to gain more healing opportunities. Also, you can only carry twenty of these vials at a time (or more depending on perks within the game) which goes to show how difficult this game can be compared to Dark Souls, which can be handled with only three or four healing flasks (while you do eventually get more you can still manage to get through a majority of the games without a whole lot with only Dark Souls 3 being kind of an exception). So not only do I think the games emotes fear from the challenges within the gameplay, but I think it’s more of a challenge in Bloodborne due to those simple changes.

 

THE HORROR ELEMENTS ARE ON FULL DISPLAY, AND REMINDS US OF LOVECRAFTIAN WORLDS…

 

The game visually is also incredibly different from the Dark Souls world with its environments, enemies and theme. This game is basically taking the concept of Halloween town and throwing it front and center, fully and incredibly realized. There is a lot of death and death related objects everywhere in this game including tombstones, twisted European buildings, and even simpler things such as twisted leafless trees and old sage brush growing where it shouldn’t. Many of the characters wear clothing such as suits and dresses which remind us of Victorian times, but they also embrace grotesque and distorted features which makes them reminiscent of monsters from classic horror, such as the Mister Hyde alter ego of Dr. Jekyll. And there is the very blatantly obvious elements such as ghosts and werewolves which are varied enemies throughout the world. And while blood and bloody moments are known through out all the Souls and Souls-like game, even Demon’s Souls, never has it been such an important story focus as it is in this game. Blood is used to heal, blood is used a collectible, blood can mutate and turn civilians and leaders to the point of entire shifts in mood, and blood can even be seen more drastically in this game by your slashes and final kills.

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Among those horror themes mentioned, there is also the obvious inspirations. H.P. Lovecraft horror themes are strongly present here, and this game is easily the number one contender for it with only a few games getting close (the only other closest possible game has to be “the Call of Cthulhu”, which is basically the video game version of one of Lovecraft’s most notable stories). Some examples of inspirations involves moments of the story where characters embrace the “fear of the unknown”, which is the core horror idea that Lovecraft presents in pretty much all his writing. There is also characters who wish to gain what is known as “insight”, which allows you to see the unseen. This is done in the game by both a visual and game mechanic perspective. As a mechanic, you can use this to purchase items and even enter other people’s worlds, or invite them into yours, by way of their awesome online play feature. The visual side is much more cryptic, as characters in the world will occasionally have many eyes, or many eyes collected in jars, which explains that many of these characters to the idea of improving insight in a much more literal sense. And even in the gameplay features, if you have a certain number of insight you will eventually start to see new enemy types and materialized places which might have been more difficult to spot out with little to no insight. And all this was without mentioning the creatures in the game that heavily take inspiration from the Lovecraft monsters, such as Cthulhu himself. You could also argue that there are a few other inspirations in the game such as the black and white horror classics or the elements and themes from the stories and poems of Edgar Allen Poe, but Lovecraft is certainly the  most prominent.

 

WHILE NOT A HORROR GAME ENTIRELY, IT STILL HAS SCARY MOMENTS…

 

The game is only horror themed, which means that it doesn’t always go out of its way to jump scare you, or trap you in a situation with no hope (well, that’s only kind of true in a different sense), but the game still has its moments of really catching you off guard and terrifying you. There are moments where enemies seemingly come out of nowhere and attack you while you’re just walking about and exploring, and this both makes you worried of death as well as the loss of your progression. There are enemies that may look too weird and frightening to you, either by physical appearance or your knowledge of their strength, and therefore you fear a situation where they attack you or block your progression. And while the game is somewhat linear, mainly in the sense that you know where to proceed and head in any given open world area, you still have potential of running straight into an area that you shouldn’t be yet, and completely getting owned by some unlikely hidden beast. It is also important to note that ambience has its presence known in this game, which helps amplify the setting as much as the setting amplifies the mood and feeling. So there will also be this strange sense of dread and fear in a world that greatly presents itself as a hopeless living nightmare.

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A PERFECT VAGUE PERCEPTION OF NIGHTMARES VERSUS REALITY…

 

A part of the many core moments of the game is the idea that you are an individual trapped within a nightmare reality, and a sense that you need to “awake” from this reality. There is even a HUB world that is, in and of itself, a dream world outside of the nightmare world. There is a good chance that this aspect of the story line is off from what I’m saying, but the main interest here is the game’s perception of reality against the nightmare realm. This works exceptionally well for this kind of game because it does not pinpoint an exact truth of what can actually be considered real or fake. The elements in the game itself, as mention prior, involve characters gaining insight to peer even further beyond our perception of reality. On the opposite side of that, which was purposely not mention until this point, there are many character in the game that are seen with bandages and wraps around there eyes to block their vision. These are characters who have either seen beyond their perception and no longer wish to foresee said nightmares, or these are characters who have higher standards and do not wish to torture themselves with situations not fully understood. Could these characters be considered, in a sense, awake? Or are they just trapped souls hopping to awake and therefore go to many means of achieving this goal? This game is truly thought provoking and interesting because of these moments.

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So in conclusion, these are the reasons, at least the Halloween related reasons, for why I love the Bloodborne game and it’s world. There are some other reasons such as clothing styles and the limited number of weapons ( which others have the opposite opinion, but I prefer focusing on only a few weapon types), but again these are the bigger reasons for me enjoyment. It is certainly a favorite to the company as well, to the point that even Dark Souls 3 took a number of cues and design choices from the success of Bloodborne’s fandom appraise. And I hope that this write up is either agreed upon by you who reads it, or that it at least gives you a newfound interest in checking out this game for yourself.

Check back again tomorrow for the second to last post post at 1 pm…

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About Tomwezt

An artist and a definite gamer. One of the original GeekBeerz members

Posted on October 29, 2017, in GBHorror, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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