Friday, May 8, 2015

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

I'm a big fan of the dark fantasy action RPGs collectively known as the Souls series.  So much so I even went so far as to earn the platinum trophy for Dark Souls (no easy feat, I assure you).  As you can imagine, when Dark Souls 2 came out I was very interested in playing it.  However, I knew the game had DLC in the works, so I withheld my enthusiasm.  You see...I made a mistake with Dark Souls.  I played it so much that by the time the DLC for that game finally became available, I didn't have the heart to go back again for yet another playthrough.  Hence, for Dark Souls 2, I've only recently started playing it.

Scholar of the First Sin, as this definitive version of the game is called, has a lot to see and do.  Then again, for someone who already played the original PS3/Xbox360/Dx9 release and DLC as it came out, I doubt this new PS4/Xbone/Dx11 version is worth the price tag (unless you happen to be a truly obsessed with the series).  For someone like me though, who has yet to go adventuring in the world of Drangleic, it's a blast.  The only problem is I'm not sure that I'll be able to really enjoy Bloodborne after I'm done with Scholar of the First Sin.

That might sound like a strange thing to say considering that Bloodborne is very much an evolution of the Souls formula, and thus generally superior to previous entries in the series.  The thing is though, despite being a "next gen" title the loading sections are ten to twenty times longer and the frame rate is cut in half.  this sounds like nitpicking, I know, but Bloodborne is a faster paced game than Dark Souls 2, with a great deal of emphasis on dodging (something I find a lot easier to pull off at 60fps than 30).  Not to mention the inevitably frequent deaths associated with From Software games means exacerbated aggravation brought on by spending an excessive amount of time staring at loading screens.  Forget the character, I'm the one who's about to max out their frenzy bar!  Jokes aside, there is one other fundamental issue I have with Bloodborne in it's current state it has a certain lack of content.  Don't get me wrong, what there is in the game is of the highest quality, but everything (from art assets to NPC storylines) feels a bit slim either in terms of breath or depth.  Granted, From Software is a relatively small developer  with limited resources to draw upon.  Then again, for pretty much the same reason, I think there will be DLC down the road.

I have two swords.
One for each of you.
What I'm really hoping for though is an eventual PC port.  I don't think it would be particularly hard to pull off given the similarities between the PS4 and PC architecture.  Plus, having to buy a PS4 and PSN subscription to fully enjoy Bloodborne feels a bit scummy...yes, I know both are a good deal, but not everyone has that kind of money to throw around.  In my case too, a PS4 is a bit redundant given I have a mid-range PC more or less equivalent to the PS4 in terms of processing power.  The online play is free to boot (which is good for me because I often go months at a time without playing games multiplayer).

A lot of folks on the internet keep saying that Bloodborne is going to stay a PS4 exclusive, but I think there's a decent chance that it will find it's way to other platforms eventually.  After all, in Yharnam they say blood is more intoxicating than alcohol, but in the game industry I think money trumps them both.    

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