Live Forever or Die (and Die and Die) Trying

With Bloodborne, the blood, sweat, and tears are sold separately.

It is, literally, pandemonium in the sleepy town of Yharnam where a fountain of youth waits for a hero to harness its healing powers. Whether or not you’re that hero lies solely on your patience and skills because Bloodbornedoesn’t give out participation ribbons; you either tame the unchecked difficulty of the adventure within or you die (and die and die) trying.

Bloodborne is a Playstation 4 exclusive from studio From Software, the makers of Dark Souls and Demon’s Souls, two of the most difficult games ever created. While Bloodborne is slightly more friendly than its predecessors, it’s still a gut-kick of a game. Decked out in next-gen graphics and boasting an expansive world to explore, it really does earn the title of spiritual successor to the Souls games, tying you to your character through leveling, beefing him up with magical abilities and heavy weaponry, and then setting out on trials that make you earn every single reward. It’s an approach that keeps people coming back to From Software’s games despite their unparalleled level of difficulty.

While the gameplay is heavily reminiscent of the Souls games – power-ups are scattered everywhere, weapons are mighty and upgradeable, and bosses can kill you with just a glance – Bloodborne makes huge leaps forward in the way you can play it with friends…or enemies. Once you progress far enough in the game, you’ll notice that you can have a friend join your struggle (though the progress only counts for you, not for both) or you can start receiving messages left by other Bloodborne players with strategy tips or warnings of upcoming ambushes. Those player insights will save you some sore thumbs and probably a fit of uncontrollable crying. As much as other players can help though, they can also hurt because Bloodborne will actually let malevolent players enter into your world to hunt and kill you. These windows are small and specific – stars really need to align for the opportunity to arise – but they do happen and will undermine the rare feelings of safety you’ll have when exploring Yharnam and the dungeons below. Still, if you want the most rewarding video game experience you can have this spring, there’s nothing like triumphing over a very difficult game and real life nemeses. Bloodborne affords you both opportunities in one evil package.