Bloodborne vs. Dark Souls – Death Becomes You

We compare From Software's two challenging titles to see how they're similar and vastly different.

Bandai Namco and From Software changed the way we look at difficult games with the Dark Souls series. All three games (including Demon’s Souls) are arguably the toughest of the previous console generation. As the PlayStation 4 celebrates its one-year anniversary, we draw closer to the spiritual successor of From Software’s infamous series. While we may see Dark Souls 3 at some point in the future, on February 3, 2015, the developer and SCE Japan Studio will release Bloodborne on the PlayStation 4.

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While Bloodborne and Dark Souls have quite a few things in common, there are also a number of differences between the two. On that note, let’s take a look at what fans of the Dark Souls series have to look forward to when Bloodborne debuts.

Combat Speed

In Dark Souls, speed is not a commonly used term. If you try to finish off a group of enemies too quickly, they’ll almost certainly end up taking you down with one or two attacks. You need to approach each enemy encounter with patience, and sometimes run away to separate the enemies and make it easier to combat them. Slow and steady wins the race in Dark Souls, as even fights against basic foes can take awhile because you’re constantly dodging or trying to move around to their back side to score critical blows.

That’s not the case when it comes to Bloodborne. Combat is much faster, and while you’ll still need a heavy dose of strategy to get through most of the battles, you can’t take your time and expect to win. Your character moves faster, enemies move faster and your dodging ability and general movement speed are also a bit quicker. If you don’t take down enemies quickly, you’ll be overrun.

Offense vs. Defense

When it comes to Dark Souls, defense wins battles. Whether you’re a light-weight warrior who swings quickly and dodges even faster, or a heavy-weight combatant who uses a shield and giant axe, you’re almost always playing defensively. It’s not long before you have a shield that absorbs 100 percent physical damage, or you’ve learned how to dodge attacks with relative ease to the point where you don’t even need a shield. No matter the case, defense comes first. You dodge or block, then you attack. It’s rare to see players take the initiative in Dark Souls.

Bloodborne is an entirely different matter. The new Regain System completely changes the logic on offensive vs. defensive play. If you take a hit in Dark Souls, you need to use a healing item to replenish that lost health. However, the Regain System in Bloodborne allows players to regain lost health by performing a spot-on counterattack. The more precise you are with counterattacking, the easier it will be to regain that lost health. However, if you’re not precise and attempt to wildly counterattack with no rhyme or reason, you won’t regain your lost health and will instead take additional hits during fast-paced battles.

Weapon Variety

There are a large number of weapons in Dark Souls. They all have different strengths and weakness, and you can upgrade them to improve the weapons or add magic abilities. However, despite the large array of weaponry, players rarely switch weapons unless they want to completely change their play style. Rarely are there situations in which it’s better to use a two-handed great axe over a one-handed broadsword. You find a weapon you like and then you stick to that weapon type for the majority of the game.

In Bloodborne, weapons have multiple forms. This helps to keep things fresh, and forces players to learn how to use their weaponry. For example, changing the form of some weapons will alter the reach and speed of the item. In the short form, the weapon attacks much faster but inflicts far less damage compared to the slower but longer reaching form. You can also change weapon form mid-combo, which counts as an attack and helps to keep your offense moving quickly. Knowing how and when to change weapon forms is one of the big keys to a successful offense in Bloodborne.

With the February release, expect more Bloodborne coverage throughout 2015, including a complete walkthrough.


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Author
Bryan Dawson
Bryan Dawson has an extensive background in the gaming industry, having worked as a journalist for various publications for nearly 20 years and participating in a multitude of competitive fighting game events. He has authored over a dozen strategy guides for Prima Games, worked as a consultant on numerous gaming-related TV and web shows and was the Operations Manager for the fighting game division of the IGN Pro League.