From Software's action RPG Bloodborne launched in North America today. Based on the early reviews, PS4 owners are going to be pleased with their exclusive.

Bloodborne drew a lot of comparisons to previous From Software RPGs like Dark Souls before launch. Combat is still as punishing as ever, and any misstep could get you killed and cause you to drop all your Echoes, the game's currency. However, the combat of Bloodborne has some significant differences as well. You can now equip a gun in your off-hand to soften up opponents for a melee strike. While you can swap out the gun for a shield, the game encourages speed and aggression. You can now regain health by hitting enemies shortly after they hurt you.

Reviewers note that Bloodborne has fewer weapons than, say, Dark Souls 2. The flipside, though, is that each weapon is more meaningful. Players will actually feel the difference when switching from one to another.

As in the Souls games, Bloodborne players can invade each other's games to either fight or help. Bloodborne adds a new multiplayer option, though: Chalice Dungeons. These randomized dungeons can be explored alone or with friends and give players a fresh way to get experience and loot.

Some of the more common problems cited by reviewers,included long loading times and a hard-to-understand story. The standard warning - if you don't like Dark Souls, you probably won't like this game - applies here, too. These problems weren't enough to dampen critics' enthusiasm, though. The game is currently sitting at a Metacritic average of 93. If that average holds, Bloodborne would be the highest-rated original game released on PS4. Only the remakes of Last of Us and Grand Theft Auto V have higher averages at the moment.

Here are a few excerpts from reviews throughout the web. I've tried to include a range of positive and negative reviews but there really isn't much negativity out there:

"I’ve died probably close to 100 times or more playing through the mystery of this game, and not one time have I felt that the game was being cheap in handing me my death. Each time I’ve died (again, it’s been many times) I know it’s because I got greedy, wasn’t focused, or just plain didn’t do the right thing. Bloodborne is certainly hard, but in a way that challenges you as the player, and urges your skills to improve." - MMORPG.com

"Bloodborne also has some technical issues that drag it down. Chief among them are the load times. In a game where you are constantly dying and restarting, this is the exact opposite of what you want. It got to the point where I was checking Twitter on my phone in-between deaths. The issues with the loads also trickle into another element of the game: traversing to already-explored zones. Instead of pulling up a menu at checkpoints to go to the places you’ve unlocked, you have to go to the game’s hub-world first, and then to your destination – which means sitting through two loading screens. I’m a little perplexed by this issue, as it’s one that they solved back in Dark Souls. It’s clunky." - NZGamer

"It’s safe to assume that not everybody is going to enjoy Bloodborne. It’s such a harsh and unforgiving game that newcomers might be turned off by some of the vagueness in the story and the soul crushing losses that will inevitably occur over its course. Those that are up for the challenge of Bloodborne are going to find a game that plays better, looks better, and has more to keep you occupied than any of the Souls games had." - Attack of the Fanboy

"Bloodborne is easily From Software's best-looking game. The art design is phenomenal, and almost every aspect looks top-notch. The character models are uncomfortably creepy, and some of the bosses are breathtaking. However, the title suffers from the usualSouls frame rate issues. It generally hangs around 30 fps, but there are times when it drops, especially in areas with a lot of fire or other particle effects. The loading times are also rather long, although you only see them after death or when teleporting to your home base." - WorthPlaying

"Learning how to pick off the most dangerous members of a group without expending so much energy that you're without the required stamina to continue the fight against the rest becomes second nature after a few hours of experimentation. Only those that actually do harness the fruits of that experimentation will make any sort of genuine headway, though." - Telegraph

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