I am God. Or not--but I certainly feel godlike when I slay the gigantic, hairy, rotting wolf boss of the Bloodborne hands-on demo. From Software's upcoming PS4 exclusive delivers the same kind of giddy thrills as the Souls series, with a few new twists and a spooky Victorian-era setting. But the delight of playing still comes from the same places. The suspense before each fight; the intensity of the combat; the desperate clinging to hope when things look dire; the euphoric relief that comes with finally downing your enemy. It's all here, and it's incredible.
Like its predecessors, one mistake or moment of foolhardy cockiness will get you killed in Bloodborne. Death usually comes at the hands of creepy, diseased-looking townsfolk (known as the Forsaken Patients); other times its the mouth of a werewolf, the beak of a giant raven, or the blunt end of a deformed brute's giant cinderblock. But none of these enemies are quite as terrifying or hideous as the end boss: the same hulking, skull-headed beast seen in the Gamescom 2014 trailer (which I think is named the Celtic Beast--I'm honestly too scared and intimidated to properly do my job as I stare up at the monstrosity).
Squaring off against this behemoth is a rush, plain and simple. My plan: lob molotov cocktails from a safe distance, then charge in for a few quick hits. The reality: The wolf-creature instantly lunges at me and slams me to the ground as I squeal in survival-instinct terror. In an enthralled panic, I dodge his next combo and scurry to heal in a not-safe-for-long corner of the bridge we're fighting on. Time for plan B: blast the ugly ghoul's head with my blunderbuss just as he's about to connect with an attack, setting up a split-second counterattack opportunity. It works like a charm--but as I'm hacking away at the hairy abomination, it occurs to me that I'm out of bullets. Nothing left to do but whittle away the last of its health with a few well-timed dodges followed by slashes from my bitchin' axe and--yessssssssss. With a blood-curdling thud, the beast falls to the ground. But my heart rate doesn't; the sense of adrenaline-fueled excitement and hard-earned accomplishment is intoxicating. If every Bloodborne boss fight is this intense, Souls fans--and action RPG gamers in general--are going to be in heaven.
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