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    Bloodborne: Spin us a new Yharnam

    Do you heart Souls? Then you’ll bleed Bloodborne. From Software’s new project featuressome radical combat shake-ups such as the absence of a shield and the Regainsystem,which lets you earn back lost health by striking the opponent who hurt you within a certain (reallynarrow) timeframe. The quasi-Victorian gloom of Yharnam has little in common with Drangleic or Lordran but shares the same promise that the next fight, big or small, could be your last. On the misty moors and lugubrious streets of this new world, PS4 finds one of its most exciting exclusives and one of the most outright handsome, too.

    Recently revealed is the striking locale of the Cainhurst Castle, once inhabited by a noble family before it succumbed to the freezing weather and thick fog, its spires stabbing through the gloom as it lies abandoned. There’ll be things that want to hurt you in it, we reckon. Likewise the massive underground network of multilevel ruins that extends beneath Yharnam itself. This is the really intriguing bit From Software claims this area will look different to each player. Depending on what? And how? Only the developer knows.

    If your own personal shade of ‘different’ turns out to be ‘insurmountably bloody difficult’, you can always summon in some friendly online faces to help out. That might be an idea when you come across the crusty hag who collects eyeballs in a shack in Hemwick Graveyard, too. As with the Souls games, setting up co-op isn’t as simple as pushing a button; you’ll need to activate the Bell Of Dream Summoning from within your inventory to indicate your desire for (up to three) comrades, who’ll in turn need to use their Small Bell Of Resonating to join.

    You’ve heard about Bloodborne’s transforming weapons before, and your ability to transform mid-attack to extend combos. You haven’t heard about the extending cane, though. That’s right: cane, as in improvised melee weapon of the 70+ scrapper. This geriatric’s favourite complements shotguns, twin blades, swords, axes, saw blades and more in a radically different arsenal than you’re used to in Souls games. Shotguns.

    We trust From to experiment with action-RPG systems and deliver something with peerless mechanical refinement, even with dramatic changes to combat such as the Regain system. But it’s Bloodborne’s grim atmosphere such a tangible sense of place that etches itself onto 2015’s calendar.

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