PS4 owners in search of another exclusive game following The Order: 1886 can mark March 24 on their calendars, the day Sony will release developer From Software’s newest creation, Bloodborne.  The long-awaited third person adventure sends gamers to the plague-ridden city of Yharnam, a former beacon of health that under mysterious circumstances becomes overrun with monsters.  Although it shares similarities with the Dark Souls titles that inspired it (creepy atmosphere, twisted enemies), it’s clear that Bloodborne is a somewhat different beast.  If you can’t decide whether to make room for this game between exciting rounds of Battlefield Hardline, keep these major selling points in mind. 

Gorgeous macabre setting 

Fans of Halloween and horror in general will find plenty to love about Yharnam, a place largely comprised of dark cobblestone streets, graveyards, underground tunnels and buildings in various states of disrepair.  One moment you’ll wander past a dead and decomposed horse still attached to its carriage, and the next, you’ll encounter crazed people burning what appears to be a werewolf. It’s a place no sane person would visit in real life, but since this is a video game, we’ll gladly accept the one-way ticket. 

Disturbing creature designs 

Bloodborne’s monsters don’t necessarily reach Necromorph (Dead Space trilogy) levels of scary, but that doesn’t mean they’re a cuddly bunch. The torch-carrying Hunter Mob and those aforementioned werewolves don’t make us flinch, but the same cannot be said of the Cleric Beast, which seems to be a mutated version of a deer, or the Protectors, obese and pale-skinned behemoths you encounter in the game’s Chalice Dungeons, which we’ll get to momentarily. Even the skinless ghouls known as Messengers make us uneasy, and From Software put them into Bloodborne to help us. 

For the most part, however, size is by far the most intimidating factor. While a creature looks scary, the fact that it towers over your character is the main reason you’ll do a figurative gulp upon seeing a particular foe for the first time. Case in point, the Darkbeast, pictured below. 

Intense blast-and-hack action 

Dark Souls 2 punishes more than it rewards. You go into it knowing that From Software designed it to be one of the most difficult in history, rivaling Ghosts ‘n Goblins from the NES days.  It’ll take several tries to beat one boss, and there’s a good chance you’ll crack long before the monster’s HP reaches zero. 

Bloodborne is a bit more forgiving. The developer put greater emphasis on offensive tactics. Instead of merely hacking a creature to pieces with a sword, you stun the intended target with a firearm and then finish it off with a razor-sharp weapon. In addition, you have a limited window of time to reclaim lost health with a counter-attack, and side-stepping is a great way to avoid damage in many situations.  It’s still a difficult game, but unlike Dark Souls you have more of a fighting chance.  Not only does it provide a better sense of progress, but also makes the game more accessible to players of different skill levels. 

Chalice Dungeons keep the experience fresh 

We don’t yet know how long it’ll take to finish Bloodborne’s story mode, but even if you finish the game in record time, Chalice Dungeons will keep the disc in your PS4 a bit longer. These procedurally generated areas change with each attempt, throwing you into oily swamps, great halls and other locations with unique enemies and opportunities for treasure. Not only can you invite other players for some co-op, but you’re able to upload and then share a particular dungeon with the Bloodborne community, and vice versa. This is in addition to playing the main game cooperatively, and From Software still needs to release details on the player-vs-player feature.

Now we’ll tell you all about those tricky Chalice Dungeons in Bloodborne.