Bloodborne: Better the devil you know

It Feels Like we’ve been waiting forever, but the most exciting exclusive to hit PS4 so far is very much on the horizon. A few lucky buggers (us included) were able to spend a fair bit of time with the Alpha a few months back, but our proper introduction to the grim worlds, terrifying monsters and plain bloody difficult gameplay on PS4 can’t come soon enough at this point. We’ve already booked time off work.

But despite our collective salivating over the prospect of a brand new exclusive From Software RPG hitting PS4, not much has yet been said about Bloodborne’s multiplayer component, which, if Dark Souls is anything to go by, will prove to be an extremely important facet of the game. After all, despite its decidedly laggy disposition, a lot of the hardcore still play Dark Souls purely so they can fight each other online. According to recent reports, Bloodborne will feature a co-op mode that sounds pretty much the same as summoning in the Souls games, wherein you can leave behind a bell (as seen in gameplay trailers since the game’s announcement) that can be used by others to summon you for help in clearing out an area of their game world, and for help in fighting bosses. We’d complain here about how nothing new seems to be on offer, but From Software’s pioneering summon/invade/troll mechanics are more interesting than most other multiplayer experiences out there when at their best, so we can’t be too critical.

So far, so Souls, yet an interesting development in the ongoing Bloodborne mystery is the inclusion of the Chalice Dungeons. As if it didn't look hard enough, Bloodborne will feature randomly generated dungeons for you to scrap it out in, either alone or with other players in jolly cooperation. From footage that has emerged of the dungeons, it appears that they’ll feature a swathe of different enemies, traps, and possibly boss fights, and with the promise that the dungeons will be different every time comes the promise of a nicely elongated playing experience. Not that we need an excuse to put 100 hours into it when it hits the shelves…

Visiting a Chalice Dungeon requires the use of some sort of consumable item, and at present it’s unclear how many of these will be available in-game. In an ideal world they’d be plentiful enough that you could visit whenever you want (or just a reusable item like the Dark sign from Dark Souls), but we can potentially see there being some sort of cap unless you’re looking to be summoned by another player.

What it will offer for sure is a legitimately harder experience as time wears on. After three or four playthroughs of Dark Souls, we found ourselves running at least half the game without dying, even on NG+, due to our now almost telepathic knowledge of every enemy and area in the game. Although we still love playing it, it hasn’t done the difficulty many favours, and that’s where randomly-generated dungeons will potentially make Bloodborne the superior experience as you settle in to a comfortable routine of OneBro runs and NG+7 boss fights. Maybe.

It’s not like this is the first game with randomly generated stuff this year let alone this week if you’re on point with your obscure PC indie games but it’s the fact that no-one could have called it and yet how much of a perfect fit it is for a game like Bloodborne to have this sort of component that has made us even more excited than we already were. In addition, being able to share your Chalice Dungeons and play through other peoples’ provides another added layer of longevity that should see us still playing Bloodborne come Christmas, which sounds perfect.

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