While it’s not a traditional horror game like Resident Evil or Silent Hill, Bloodborne is still one of the most terrifying games I have ever played.
Two things contribute to its seat on my pantheon of horror: the setting and the difficulty.
With the Lovecraftian horror and Victorian backdrops of the land of Yharnam, the players are kept in a constant state of unease.
Once you move past the starting area and descend farther into Yahar’Gul and the Nightmare of Mensis, the game’s eldritch horrors begin to show their faces.
Bloodborne eases you in with duels of mounting terror.
From fighting plague-stricken men and beasts to tussling with haunting and terrifying creatures, like the winter lanterns.
The bosses follow this transition as well, starting with the Cleric Beast and Father Gascoigne, and culminating in creatures like Ebrietas, Daughter of the Cosmos, and the Moon Presence.
View this post on Instagram
The game feels like it borrows its horror from some of the best works that have ever been put to paper. The claustrophobic streets of Central Yharnam and the Cathedral Ward feel like something out of a Gothic novel.
I can easily picture someone like Dr. Jekyll or Jack the Ripper wandering these streets.
Bloodborne takes the player to many different places, all distinct but working together in perfect harmony to make the experience as uneasy as possible.
The hidden Castle Cainhurst, an old and dilapidated yet beautiful castle coated in the whitest snow, holds its own host of horrors.
The Nightmare Frontier, in contrast, seems like something a small child would describe as a sleep-shattering nightmare when regaling their parents with tales of scrawny many-eyed creatures with multiple arms.
Even though mind flayer-esque men wearing tattered hoods and tentacles where their faces should be are traumatizing, Bloodborne’s difficulty is incapacitating.
Like every FromSoftware game, Bloodborne is hard as nails.
While the combat encourages the player to be aggressive, it’s impossible to rush into battle without the dread and anticipation of something else waiting for you around the corner.
Bloodborne makes you work for any feeling of satisfaction, and the enemies are not afraid to show you how lethal they are.
There’s always the same thought when you encounter a new enemy — “how bad is this thing going to kick my ass?”
Usually, it’s pretty bad.
You have to constantly be on your toes to survive in Bloodborne because if you’re not, that one misstep will cost you your life.
The continuous threat of death, and the things that are going to cause that death elevates Bloodborne higher on the fear scale than FromSoftware’s other titles.
View this post on Instagram
Getting killed by a dragon is scary, but being killed by a woman who stabbed herself and solidified her blood to stab YOU, is a whole different kind of messed up. Not to mention, the bone-chilling cries of her evil Godchild that loops the entire fight.
I love Bloodborne.
I’ve played it enough to get a platinum trophy in it, and every single playthrough was just as terrifying as the last.
Even having seen all the content multiple times, it never stops being scary or from taking me slowly into madness, just like the residents of Yharnam.