De­vel­oper FromSoft­ware Pub­lisher SCE For­mat PS4


“Based Miyazaki,” wrote Souls- game YouTu­ber Michael ‘VaatiVidya’ Sa­muels in the com­ments sec­tion be­neath Blood­borne’s an­nounce­ment trailer in June 2014. “My chan­nel sur­vives for an­other year.” It’s a telling line, and not just for its com­men­tary on the pre­car­i­ous na­ture of fame and suc­cess on the world’s big­gest video-shar­ing site. Sa­muels’ work is ded­i­cated to Blood­borne and the

Souls se­ries, and his deeply re­searched lore videos couldn’t be done for other games. From’s ap­proach to story is spe­cial, and Blood­borne is its best work yet.

It has the stu­dio’s best com­bat sys­tem, too, tak­ing the meaty weight of a con­nect­ing blow in a Souls game and wrap­ping it all up in a dra­mat­i­cally faster pace. Flighty dashes re­place pon­der­ous dodge-rolls and are used as much for get­ting into the ac­tion as es­cap­ing from it. Dual-form trick weapons open up combo pos­si­bil­i­ties un­prece­dented in a From game. And the Re­gain sys­tem, which lets you claw back lost health by quickly re­tal­i­at­ing, en­cour­ages and re­wards a front-footed ap­proach. It’s a trans­form­ing scythe to the face to those who saw in Blood­borne a sim­ple ex­ten­sion of the Souls for­mula, and a stu­dio set­tling a lit­tle too com­fort­ably into a rhythm.

And, heav­ens above, the world. Yhar­nam is a re­mark­able cre­ation, an­other show­case of Miyazaki’s peer­less abil­ity to stitch dis­parate ar­eas into a world us­ing de­vi­ous paths and shortcuts. This is his finest spot of needle­work to date, var­ied but be­liev­able, the urge to see what lies around the next cor­ner undimmed by the knowl­edge that it’s prob­a­bly go­ing to be some­thing quite trau­matic. The re­sults, com­bined, are ex­quis­ite, ce­ment­ing From as one of the finest stu­dios in the in­dus­try to­day, and Miyazaki as one of its great­est de­sign­ers. We may not quite de­pend on From’s work for our liveli­hoods but, like Sa­muels, we can’t bear to con­tem­plate life with­out it.

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