I’m so tired of the phrase “spiritual successor.” But in the instance of Bloodborne, I get that it’s really hard to take it as its own unique thing that references something before it. And calling it a spiritual successor opens up the door to all sorts of shitty “soul” puns, so I really wish I could describe the game without such a hacky term. But it’s unfortunately so fitting.
Instead perhaps I will refer to it as an iteration.
You get the feeling that the creators of Bloodborne didn’t like the way that so many people played some of their earlier games, as they’ve done what they could to make playing “sword and board” impossible. It was already possible to play differently in previous games (especially Dark Souls II) but many players still stuck to their crutch. This game, like a Charles Dickens villain, kicks that crutch out from under players and forces them to play a different style. And some people certainly are crying like the orphans in one of those Dickens’ novel about the change. Overall, though, I enjoy the shift in combat, as well as crying orphans.
I think playing Dark Souls II first as my first “third person precision adventure game” might have sort have broken me for the entire series. Because I really miss being able to clear out the world, and miss the way the infusion system worked in that game, and it these things being changed in this game feels sort of like a step backwards to me, even though I realize this is normal to everyone else.
Besides quibbles like that, though, I have really enjoyed Bloodborne. It looks really, really nice. And adding Victorian Horror (something legitimately frightening to me) to the persistent unease that soul games have causes it to be one of the scariest games I’ve ever played.
Apart from the game, I continue to find the Soul Series Fan Cult to be silly. The games are not THAT hard. They are tense at times, but the difficulty feels manageable, especially in this game, with so many aspects rewarding aggressive play that didn’t used to previously be worth the risk (you know, other than the fact it was more fun to play like that). Don’t let the talk around these games being hard keep you away. If you played games in the 90s, or can put up with some bullshit and figuring stuff out, you’ll hang.
I think it’s something that should be played.