We may be waiting until next March for the actual release, but PS4 owners have the opportunity to get a taster of the death to come. This morning Namco Bandai announced that they will be running Network Tests for Dark Souls III next month. Anyone can sign up for a chance to take part, with participants to be chosen via a lottery system, so there's no rush to sign-up, but you won't be able to put your name down until tomorrow afternoon.Click here to read more...
A brand new copy of Bloodborne can be found for just under £30 these days, but if you're looking to save a little more - and don't mind that it's a pre-owned copy - this listing is a good shout. It works out at just over £22 with delivery, beating the next cheapest deals by a fair few quid. Taking the difficulty curve of the Souls' series and infusing it with a faster, more responsive combat system, Bloodborne has manage to make believers of former From Software naysayers (to the point some have even gone on to like Dark Souls.) Thanks to mrmcdermot @ HUKD!
Be sure to check out our Bloodborne review for more details.
A brand new copy of Bloodborne can be found for just under £30 these days, but if you're looking to save a little more - and don't mind that it's a pre-owned copy - this listing from Amazon's marketplace is a good shout. It works out at £24 with delivery, beating the next cheapest deals by a fair few quid. Taking the difficulty curve of the Souls' series and infusing it with a faster, more responsive combat system, Bloodborne has manage to make believers of former From Software naysayers (to the point some have even gone on to like Dark Souls.) Thanks to thomasrykala @ HUKD!
Be sure to check out our Bloodborne review for more details.
In startling news, it would appear From Software and Bandai Namco like money. That's right, despite Dark Souls III still being in development, the game's creator and From Software President, Hidetaka Miyazaki, has said that it won't be the last game in the series.Click here to read more...
If this is a leaked promotional image for Dark Souls 3, which IGN seems to think it is, it basically tells you everything you need to know.
This ties in with rumours last week, which suggested that a third Dark Souls game was in development with series creator Hidetaka Miyazaki back at the helm. If true, this suggests that the third game in the series might undo some of the more newcomer-friendly formula tweaks made in Dark Souls 2: Scholar Of The First Sin.
We assume that Bandai Namco will announce it at E3, but when? It will either break cover via press release or piggyback on Sony or Microsoft's press conference. Check out the full E3 2015 timetable here!
Prepare to die. Again. Again.
If a sensational new report is on the money, Dark Souls will be back for a third instalment and break cover at E3 later this month.Click here to read more...
Hunter's gather! Bloodborne is now even better thanks to today's 1.03 patch. Despite it being all sunny outside, I was tasked with stapling the curtains shut and checking out the new patch's performance. A surprisingly large 2.75GB download later and I was able to do just that. What I found not only improved the game, but made failure that little bit easier to bear.
The new loading times are indeed much improved, with most now twice as fast. Before the patch, I'd typically expect a wait of around 40 seconds after death or nipping back to the Hunter's Dream for fast travel or to spend some Blood Echoes. Today, respawning after death was a brisk 17 seconds and multiple trips back and forth from the hub world were also about 17 seconds. The only time it was any longer was when choosing to fast-travel to a location far away from my last one.
For example, a trip from Hunter's Dream to the game's opening area in Yharnam after previously being in Hemwick Charnel Lane took around 34 seconds. But that's not a journey I'm likely to actually need to do. 17 seconds for most required loads seems to be the new normal and that's not all that's drastically improved.Click here to read more...
Sony have just confirmed that as of April 5th, Bloodborne has sold over one million copies. This is the number sold worldwide and marks a huge success for the Sony/From Software partnership as fans of the Dark Souls series, and probably a fair few new fans, have flocked to the game since its release just a few short weeks ago.
Shuhei Yoshida, President of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios said: "Bloodborne was a new challenge for us, and our goal was to create a title that took full advantage of the power of PS4." And also: "I am thrilled that so many users have been enjoying the extremely rich and detailed world, beautiful melancholic atmosphere and palpable tension of Bloodborne. [Sony] will continue to bring exciting software titles that offer entertainment experiences only possible on PS4."Click here to read more...
Weeks after my first night in Yharnam, it's time for a verdict on my adventures in Bloodborne. Well, a number for the experience so far at least. Fresh tales about From Software's new title are appearing online every day. This is a game that nobody can really claim to have mastered yet. Secrets are still being unearthed, much of the lore has yet to be agreed and rumours whisper through the net about everything from werewolf modes to hidden boss fights.
One thing's for sure though, Sony has done very well for themselves by nailing Bloodborne down as a PS4 exclusive. As enjoyable as Infamous, DriveClub (eventually) and Killzone were, they never rode such a continuous wave of hype after release. Bloodborne's appeal won't be a surprise to fans of From Software's Demon's Souls or the Dark Souls series, but what is surprising, is that it's pulling in people who aren't fans of the Souls games. People like me.
After playing Demon's Souls, I stayed clear. Unresponsive combat and the relentlessly hardcore attitude to death just rubbed me all sorts of wrong. But ever since playing the Alpha and Beta versions of Bloodborne, I started to think that maybe it was time to have another crack at From Software's games, which had become much more than a cult game -something that hit home when I saw the diverse and incredibly long line of gamers waiting to play Dark Souls II at an Expo.
Bloodborne is still maddeningly difficult, but the most notable improvement for me is the aggressive combat. Heavy weapons and charged attacks aside, swings of your cleaver (if you choose to start with one) are quick and can be relied upon to attack your opponents when you want, rather than the sluggish eventual sword swinging that drove me insane in Demon's Souls. There are inconsistencies in how attacks interrupt enemy strikes though, which can be very frustrating when they take damage but continue to attack straight through your play.Click here to read more...
Dark Souls II: Scholar Of The First Sin is so much more than a remaster. Not only have From Software brought a masterpiece to current-gen consoles with a huge amount of content, significantly improved visuals and a delightful performance bump, but they've also radically rebalanced it to challenge veterans while giving newcomers a smooth new way into the fearsome franchise.
Be in no doubt: Dark Souls II is still a masterpiece, or more accurately Drangleic is.
Like all of From Software's recent wares, gameplay revolves around exploring and making sense of a truly astonishing three-dimensional space; an initially confusing yet delightfully interlinked series of corridors, zones and shortcuts. Unravelling this complex geometry is the core of the game, ferreting out its secrets and hidden passages while surviving its deadly inhabitants. Dark Souls II channels 8-bit game design by refusing to hold your hand, respecting your ability to experiment, learn from mistakes and collaborate with others, just like the brutally tough games we used to discuss at length in the playground.
What makes Drangleic so memorable, however, is its mournful and sombre tone. Our character is drawn to its ruins like a moth to a flame, a cursed undead thrall seeking solace in a dying civilization. In stark contrast to so many games out there, it's quiet and even serene at times, evoking complex emotions as you wonder how so much gothic beauty could have been brought so low. Which is where Scholar Of The First Sin reveals the first of many major improvements: the visuals.Click here to read more...
Playing Bloodborne pisses me off. A lot. It makes me want a cigarette despite giving them up over a decade ago. So why has it pulled me in more than any game has in a long time and I'm still playing it every chance I get? Bloodborne feels like strange new territory to me. Sure I played the original Demon's Souls and while appreciating what it was trying to do, I just never jelled with it, so I never bothered with Dark Souls either. So what the hell is going on here? Let's see why on earth I'm doing this to myself.
Bloodborne insists on the most twisted of relationships between a game and the player. No matter how good you get, you will always give more than the game will give back. The time commitment alone for such a pathetic pace of progression seems like a nightmare throughout. I'll frequently hit walls where I can't even grind as the cost to level up each time rises considerably and is rarely matched with 'inflation' or the amount of Blood Echoes I can squeeze from a current area's enemies.
But there are moments in Bloodborne that seem rewarding. Discovering a new route hidden behind some crates for example can open up huge sections of Yharnam and provide me with an alternative to getting ripped apart from the same group of enemies that I'm too weak to take on at my level. Better yet, once shortcuts start opening up, the deaths become much less frustrating as I can make my way to my Bloodstain again with less hassle each time.
The 'rewarding' element in Bloodborne can't be compared to other games (Souls aside maybe). This is because you'll have to work incredibly hard for every level or stat you upgrade. Blood shards to upgrade weapons become very rare after your first upgrade, making every extra one I found before reaching Old Yharnam an absolute treasure. And now the game wants a new type of item to keep upgrading the weapon - now that I have a bag full of now-useless shards.
Bloodborne's world and in particularly the 'level' layouts are incredible and form one of the core pillars to sticking with the game. I've become fully immersed into the game's world. With no-onscreen map to help me, I must attempt to orientate myself and rely on a real sense of direction as to where I am in relation to other areas. I have to understand where I am in the world, as if it was a real place to explore. No other game demands this to such an intense degree.Click here to read more...
Dark Souls II: Scholar Of The First Sin releases today on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. This is not a review. It's a call to arms from a sleep-deprived, brutalised yet deliriously happy gamer.
To be clear, there's no way I can review Scholar yet. The online servers were only activated a matter of hours ago, loosing a horde of despicable invading murderers into my game at the most inopportune moment, but more to the point it's bloody enormous. Containing all the DLC released thus far, plus the new NPC Aldia and remixed enemy placement, it's a marathon undertaking that I've been playing until the frankly stupid hours of the morning over these last few days.
What I can do, however, is tell you that it looks to be the definitive Dark Souls II experience... and that after years of trying, Scholar Of The First Sin has finally turned a series I deeply respect yet found impossible to like into a gameplay experience I genuinely love.
First things first, though, allow me to sate those graphics-obsessed gamers right off the bat by saying that Dark Souls II has never looked or felt so good. Running at 60fps on PS4 (our review platform - we'll endeavour to test the other versions when possible), Scholar Of The First Sin feels pleasingly smooth whether attacking, lining up a jump or sprinting headlong pursued by a human-controlled invader with griefing on their mind. Lighting has been significantly improved, bringing new warmth and vitality to Majula, making it feel like home, while textures are all newly detailed and significantly improved in resolution terms.Click here to read more...
Chances are, you're either a big fan of the Dark Souls series or you just can't be doing with their brand of no-nonsense difficulty and downright unresponsive controls.
Me? I'm not a fan and haven't been since I played the original Demon's Souls. So why am I the one talking to you about Bloodborne, a game by the same devs and seen as a potential killer exclusive on the PS4 for fans of From Software’s series? Well, after trying out the recent Alpha, I'm thinking maybe Bloodborne will be worth a look after all and those of you that aren't fans of the Souls games probably shouldn't dismiss it so soon.
Is it still hard? Of course, and the checkpoints (or lack of them in the Alpha) will certainly make your eyes water a little and I'm sure there will be plenty of difficulty settings to nail that feel of trapping your junk in your zip, or stubbing your toe for hours on end or what other kink that makes you keep playing these bastards.
So, let's dive into the Alpha demo. First of all you're given the option of four different characters with four varying weapon loadouts. The first is the one you may have seen in past footage with a blunderbuss gun and a saw cleaver, this was the first one I tried. The second was armed with a pistol and a sword that could split into two blades at the touch of a button.Click here to read more...
"Prepare to die." Dark Souls issued the challenge and gamers responded. Then promptly died, over and over again, becoming more skilled and experienced with each crushing setback.
In Bloodborne, however, that mentality won't get you anywhere. If you mean to unravel the secrets behind Yharnam's mournful bloodsoaked streets, you need to be prepared to KILL.
Don't panic: Bloodborne is still unmistakably From Software fare. It's a third-person action-RPG, tough as nails, as dark and soulful as you'd expect. You'll stalk through intricate and evocative environments, feeling truly isolated and alone one moment before all hell breaks loose the next. Punishing and deeply pretty even in its early Gamescom build, sharing many of the same buttons as its spiritual predecessors, Bloodborne will feel second nature to fans of Miyazaki's work.Click here to read more...
Project Beast is dead. Long live Bloodborne.
Though you probably won't live all that long by the looks of things, seeing as From Software are working on another twisted Gothic world full of horrendous beasties out for blood.Click here to read more...
Dark Souls II is set to punish you (and your wallet) all over again with three new episodic DLC packs, forming the 'Lost Crowns Trilogy.'Click here to read more...
'Project Beast' is one of the most exciting phrases in Sony circles right now, seeing as the PS4-exclusive title is strongly rumoured to be a successor to Demon's Souls and Dark Souls developed by From Software themselves. Some avid fans have stiched together 'leaked' footage to produce a single contiguous clip, which definitely looks set to be dark, soulful and demonic in familiar ways - so long as the footage is actually on the up and up.
We're expecting a full E3 reveal, but frankly wouldn't hate for a little Armoured Core mech action to bleed into the mix too.Click here to read more...
Dark Souls II may have returned to £30+ at Zavvi last week, but their corporate overlords at The Hut have matched this tasty price for the PC version. You'll either love or hate this sadistic sequel thanks to its harsh yet nuanced mechanics and intense challenge curve (that isn't so much a curve as a ramp straight up the side of a skyscraper) - to the extent where Carl loves it, Matt hates it and I quietly mumble something about "coherent art direction" before admitting to preferring Dragon's Dogma. Anyway, it's genuinely great and Carl's review explains why - even if you don't personally like it.
Thanks to Jas10 @ HUKD!
The Old Dragonslayer may have been more troublesome than expected, but Carl has a plan - a scheme so brilliant it couldn't possibly fail - an 80's style action montage to get more souls and level up. Does the musical interlude work? Does Carl manage to take down the Old Dragonslayer? Should Carl be allowed near a microphone again? All these questions and more are answered in the conclusion of our Dark Souls II series.
If you want to learn more about Carl's feelings on Dark Souls II, you can read his review here.