PlayStation Plus freebie is the only horror game you need this Halloween
| Last updated
Featured Image Credit: Sony
It's the spookiest month of the year, and there's no better way to kick back and enjoy it than with some horror games, courtesy of PlayStation Plus.
Luckily, PlayStation's subscription service has plenty of spooky titles, like Alien Isolation, Outlast 2 and The Callisto Project, but none of them caught my eye. After scrolling through the selection, I finally found my October game, and I'd recommend it to everyone.
Now, I'll be the first to admit I'm not very good at horror games, and not because I scare easily, it's because I don't. Jumpscares, chases, ghouls and ghosts don't tend to phase me, but no game has got my heart pumping like FromSoftware's take on eldritch terror, Bloodborne.
Despite being an enormous fan of Dark Souls and Elden Ring, I only got a PS5 this year with Bloodborne being near the top of my list of exclusives I wanted to try. Unfortunately, I got dreadfully sidetracked with the latest releases but decided this October it was finally time to see why so many would call this their favourite Soulsborne title.
It starts off like your average FromSoftware game, a lore drop, a customisable character, and a facing off with an enemy that immediately outmatches you, in this case, a werewolf. All normal so far, though I could feel the drastic change in tone and atmosphere compared to the Dark Souls games.
The story and lore are some of the most disturbed fiction I’ve ever laid eyes upon as well, and while I won’t go too far into the details, it’s worth noting that the main objective of the game revolves around infanticide, and there are several moments that make you question whether you’re a hero or a monster.
After acquiring my gear, becoming acquainted with The Hunters Dream and its two inhabitants, and teleporting back to the main game, I set out on my quest and had a jolly good time slashing up what can only be described as angry Yorkshire people.
Everything played as you’d expect, with the odd death here and there as I got used to parrying, which, unlike other FromSoftware games, is an essential skill that you should learn to make life much easier.
After some exploration, I encountered the “first” boss, the Cleric Beast, who’s optional but worth fighting early if you can. This is where the “horror” of Bloodborne really shines through, as I’d argue it has some of the most aggressive bosses in any soulsborne title, which really caught me off guard. Dark Souls taught me that bosses could hit like a truck, but had very obvious tells when it came to attacks and openings, and I could usually tactically retreat to the other side of their arena for a bit of respite.
Bloodborne doesn't play like that though, bosses hit like trucks and often move like F1 cars and they’ll always try to close the gap between you if you stray too far away from them. Combine that with whatever gimmick they’re rocking and it is a deadly, close-quarters dance with very few chances to catch your breath. When damaged, there’s a brief moment where hitting the enemy back will restore a bit of your health, but get too greedy and you’ll leave yourself wide open, losing far more than you gain back.
These are some of the most horrific abominations FromSoftware has ever cooked up too, so while your best strategy is almost always getting up close and personal their monstrous designs and aggressive temperaments make you want to run in the opposite direction. Plus their often blood-curdling screams can be very distracting when you’re trying to carefully read their next move.
The scariest part of all though, was the healing items. Dark Souls taught me that if you run out of healing items during a fight it’s all good because you can just replenish them at the next bonfire or they’ll come back automatically when you die. Bloodborne obviously took one look at this and said: “You’re giving them healing items? For free? Too generous…” When you run out of healing items, also called Blood Vials, you’ll need to either buy more with Blood Echoes (souls), or farm enemies who occasionally drop them. This put the fear of God into me more than the eldritch terrors I was fighting, because as soon as I saw my vials were gone towards the end of a boss, I knew that if I died it wouldn’t just be another loss, it’d be another 20 minutes of farming…terrifying.
But in the end, every challenge was overcome and most of the mid to late-game bosses were a complete breeze once I knew what I was doing, with most of them going down on my first try. I even dared to venture into the DLC, which is infamous for having some of the most gruelling bosses in the series, like Ludwig, who's now one of my favourite soulsborne fights for its perfect blend of challenge, and incredible second phase, and one of the best boss fight songs ever composed.
I’ll confidently say that Bloodborne is my favourite FromSoftware title now, and you better believe I’ll replay it to the death, especially when next year’s spooky month rolls back around.
If you haven’t played Bloodborne before, play it, it’s phenomenal, and a great game to play in the build-up to Halloween. While it won’t hit you with any jump scares (most of the time), it will hit you with immense intensity, as you slowly chip away a boss’ health knowing that one wrong step, or one missed swipe could be the difference between victory or defeat. I’m not exaggerating when I say some fights will have you on the edge of your seat, test every ounce of your patience and willpower and have your heart racing just like mine was when that Prey Slaughtered victory screen popped up.
Bloodborne can be played as part of your PlayStation Plus membership, provided you’re subscribed to the Extra or Premium tier.