Does Bloodborne Set New Benchmarks For Graphics And Performance On PS4?

Despite some visually impressive hooks, From Software’s PS4 exclusive seems trapped in the transition from previous to current gen hardware.

Posted By | On 03rd, Apr. 2015 Under Article, Graphics Analysis

You can’t find a more storied contemporary franchise that remains so niche while still being so popular among consumers like From Software’s Souls series. This includes Demon’s Souls, a break-out hit on the PlayStation 3, Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2 (which recently received an update in the form of Scholar of the First Sin, bringing the title to PS4 and Xbox One). While Bloodborne is an entirely new game set in a new universe with new fighting mechanics, it still very much adheres to the Souls series in its gameplay, pacing and atmosphere.

It’s definitely an odd fact that From Software used Sony’s internal PhyreEngine to develop Dark Souls on both the PS3 and Xbox 360 after using it for Demon’s Souls. This is particularly interesting when you consider that, at the time, both versions showcased nary a difference in frame rate and resolution with the game rendered at 1024×720 resolution. The step down from a 1280×720 resolution seen in Demon’s Souls was tantamount because it allowed Dark Souls to use MSAA 2x for its anti-aliasing.

Bloodborne Graphics Overview. Please select 1080p and 60fps for best possible video quality.

Bloodborne’s long loading times are no doubt frustrating.

Dark Souls 2 returned to the 1280×720 resolution, relying on a post-process edge filter this time around, but cracks began to appear in the overall visuals. An uncapped 30 FPS frame rate resulted in severe drops and screen-tearing on the Xbox 360 version of the game while level of detail scaling was dramatically increased leading to unnatural pop-in of enemies, shadows and objects.

And so we come to Bloodborne, From Software’s first PS4 exclusive. It’s only fitting that it continued the blunders of past games on more powerful hardware (which was still easier to develop for than the PS3) but we’ll get to that. Several different members of the GamingBolt team experienced Bloodborne, leading to an overall better impression of the game and more information. Here’s what we found.

Bloodborne runs at a native 1920×1080 resolution on the PS4 with an unlocked frame rate. Notice the lack of a number? That’s because not only is Bloodborne not running at 60 frames per second but its frame rate also isn’t locked at 30 frames per second. The lack of a 60 FPS option would be understandable if Bloodborne was an open world game but it’s not. To see the frame rate to drop as low as 24 frames per second in some instances is disappointing.

Along with drops in the frame rate, judders and stutters have also been seen which drag the experience down. We often witnessed drops while running through corners which resulted in sudden camera switches. This was troubling especially during boss battles and drags down what’s otherwise an immensely enjoyable game.

The material rendering of weapons in Bloodborne are top notch.



Physical based rendering per material such as the leather jacket below results into excellent per object light variations. Even the position of blood stains vary according to the angle of strike.



Global Illumination is present in some cases but its implementation is inconsistent.




By now, most players would have witnessed the horrific loading times in Bloodborne which can go more than 30 seconds when trying to re-enter the game. From Software has already confirmed a patch for the loading times and while there are no loading times between different sections in an area, it’s important to consider that this is a game where players will die. A lot. Taking so long to respawn into the fray only increases the aggravation.

Also, remember that MSAA 2x seen in the first Dark Souls? Despite a sequel and an upgrade in console technology, From Software hasn’t implemented any anti-aliasing into Bloodborne. Considering that Killzone: Shadow Fall, a PS4 launch title, managed a custom FXAA + TMAA solution, it’s amazing that From Software couldn’t even add FXAA. Even Dark Souls 2 had a post-process edge filter yet Bloodborne on the PS4 has no AA whatsoever. There’s a fair bit of chromatic aberration which gets affected by the number of jaggies owing to lack of AA which drags the visuals down by a bit.

The overall texture assets for character selection and customization screens come across poorly as well, especially when looking at the in-game models. The level of detail in Bloodborne is also problematic with many details being lost out upon viewing over a distance. The lack of AA only further degrades this.

Thankfully, Bloodborne has its positive points. Physical based rendering is in effect, allowing for various lighting effects on different materials like wood, metal and statues. Global illumination is present in some places but the lighting engine delivers softer shadows without much issue. The overall cloth simulation is excellent thanks to the texture modelling and PBR. This ensures that you see every little detail from blood stains to interwoven stiches in crisp detail.

Bloodborne employs an excellent anisotropic filtering solution resulting into detailed textures.


Screenspace Reflections, Dynamic Lighting, Enhanced Volumetric Effects, Parallax Occlusion are the highlights of Bloodborne.






Level of detail deterioration is observed and the draw distances are mediocre at best.




Overall destructibility has enhanced with even more objects to smash than before, though this is only limited to wooden objects. Draw distance is great and it’s a shame that the LOD scaling and lack of AA result in distant objects having very little detail. Volumetric effects like fire, fog, wind and dust are rendered amazingly well and From Software uses adaptive tessellation and parallax occlusion to give each environment its fair share of bumps. There’s an extensive use of screen space reflection, a heavy amount of fur and skin shaders, and some pretty impressive reflections and surface textures. If that wasn’t enough, Bloodborne can be credited for having the best anisotropic filtering seen in a PS4 title till date (yes, even better than The Order: 1886).

There are still a fair amount of glitches though such as the rag doll physics causing enemies to be dragged along as the player moves. Without question, it looks weird and not something you’d expect from a game implementing Havok physics.

At least Yebis 3 – used for various depth of field, camera and lighting effects – delivers excellent post-processing effects. You’ll notice it best when using weapons and fighting enemies and bosses. The per object motion blur and depth of field are applied unevenly, the former heavily utilized while the latter sparingly so. Oddly enough, the HDR system – exemplified best in Final Fantasy 15 – of Yebis 3 isn’t used in Bloodborne.

Bosses have complex fur simulation and animations.


The game has no AA. Chromatic Aberration is used but the lack of AA deteriorates its effect.





At the end of the day, it’s amazing to consider the technology backing From Software’s Bloodborne. Yebis 3, Havok, FMOD Sound System, separable subsurface scattering (which is used to render realistic skin), Simplygon (a 3D optimization middleware which creates simplified LOD models at a distance) and Shader X5/X6 (which are two advanced rendering technique manuals by former RAGE Engine lead graphics programmer Wolfgang Engel) are several of the technologies in use here…and yet, the sum feels somewhat underwhelming. We loved the gothic aesthetics of Yharnam and while Bloodborne is the reason to own a PS4 right now, it’s not a showcase for the console’s graphical power.

Actually, it feels like Bloodborne was trapped in the transition from previous to current gen hardware. That still doesn’t explain the horribly long loading times and hopefully, the upcoming patch will address them (look forward to a future article comparing the differences in loading times post-patch).

From Software doesn’t have to prove anything in terms of gameplay and while the studio has never been about premium visuals, it’s a different generation. You can deliver fantastic levels and aesthetics, great animations and post-processing effects along with stellar anisotropic filtering. However, if the end performance suffers – as seen with the lack of AA, frame rate stutters and drops, and long loading times – then it only taints what the good work that the studio has put forth. And that’s disappointing when you consider how much better the visual experience could be with a few optimizations and additions.

GamingBolt’s Bill Smith did the primary analysis of this game. Additional assets were provided by Rashid Sayed and Senior Editor Ravi Sinha came up with additional pointers.

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  • JoinTheRest

    I noticed while playing the framerate drops and it is really disappointing you would think that after the order and driveclub sony will focus on fps before graphics but all their games have the same problem and hitting 20 fps for a game in this day and age is not unacceptable. Maybe if most of their fans just got over 1080p maybe sony will have a half decent game worth playing.

    • jacksjus

      BloodBorne def has framerate issues but Inhavent experienced any in The Order or Driveclub whatsoever.

    • Starman

      Everyone else has …. there is always that small group (including you) that feel the need to defend PS4 flaws… but, any negative news(rumors) about XB1 is always accurate….you guys are SAD , no hope for you’ll …”STILL WAITING ON GREATNESS”

    • Matthew Bryant

      Digital Foundry didn’t find any. In fact, they praised the game for its visuals while maintaining an almost perfect 30 fps. If you want to be a fanboy, that’s on you. Just don’t make up lies to make your beliefs seem more relevant. That’s just pathetic.

      I think you’re fighting the world on this one buddy. Last time I checked you were very much in the minority with your Sony hate kiddo. The Xbox One isn’t selling very well. The PS4 is selling extremely well. Make up any excuses you want, but reality exists. At some point you might want to admit that.

    • jackfaktor

      Waiting on Greatness? You realize Bloodborne was a AAA exclusive and is front runner for GOTY? How many AAA exclusives has the XB1 had this entire gen? That’s right. Zero.

    • Matthew Bryant

      The Order didn’t really have any framerate drops. Bloodborne’s framerate drops definitely don’t affect gameplay at all. They’re noticeable, but they’re pretty mild. I smell a fanboy.

    • JoinTheRest

      They’re bad when playing online with friends which is so important and when running around they did into the 20s you wouldn’t expect that from a exclusive game two years into the consoles life cycle

  • Starman

    I like how you gave it a save with “it’s trapped in transition from previous souls titles ….. There is no excuse for the most powerful system in the world …. LOL (sarcasm)

    • Matthew Bryant

      Clearly, the fact that its considered the best game of this generation so far isn’t enough. I’ll agree the graphics aren’t amazing, but Bloodborne is an amazing game regardless. Haters gotta hate I guess.

    • mudduck9000

      I don’t know. I personally think the graphics are great. Maybe from a technical standpoint they aren’t groundbreaking, but from an artistic standpoint they are outstanding imo.

  • jacksjus

    Not even close IMO. This game is about he gameplay challenges. The environment and creature design is of note, but overall I’d say that DriveClub and The Order has already set the bench for the PS4.

    • Starman

      LOL ‘DC’ and ‘The Order’ …LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLL !!! really ???

    • DarthDiggler


      No one has diminished The Order or Drive Club for the graphics. You been living under a rock?

    • Matthew Bryant

      The Order is by far the best looking console game to date. You’re either in denial or on crack.

    • Dave C

      Or I don’t like low res 800 lines vertical and huge black bars they use to cheat.

    • Leeboyopm

      Halo 5 goes as low as 800 vertical lines and thats without black bars, and i bet no one complains about that.

    • CC-Tron

      Dem black bars tho………….

  • Psionicinversion

    no its graphics arent spectacular, there decent but not spectacular and performance… with frame rate drops… think this site is still on April 1st!!!

  • Ricoh123

    10 days after bloodborne release and it’s nearly forgotten about already.

    Games like this never have much longevity.

    Another Sony hype train wreck.

    • Matthew Bryant

      It’s so forgotten about that it’s the best selling game on Amazon still, 10 days later. Such a train wreck. Sometimes your fantasy doesn’t match reality fanboy…

    • I’m Flat Out Right

      Damn, over kill. Nice!

    • You Are Flat Out Wrong

      Still outsold by Cities Skylines :^)

    • You Are Flat Out Wrong

      And outsold by Cities Skylines :^)

  • Ricoh123

    Disquss comments are a wreck.

    Any time I open my replies up, it logs me on to a random persons account.

  • Ñosss!!!
  • I’m Flat Out Right

    Bloodborne beats the visuals of any 3rd party game on consoles.

    AA is not the only thing that eliminates jaggies. You can nit pick AA all you want but this game doesn’t have noticeable jaggies that are worse than games that even use AA. They definitely used other techniques to eliminate jaggies. Bloodborne is all in game with a focus on close combat, not draw distance.

    • Mark

      I completely agree. From what I’ve seen, there’s no obvious shimmering on objects imo……the edges look great. But this is the issue we’re having this gen, people r clamoring to certain specs and programming words, to fall in luv with the visuals. Where we can see for ourselves, no need for a massive explanation. Anyway, the animations and particles in BloodBorne is top notch, and the art is second to no-one.

    • I’m Flat Out Right

      It’s because Gamingbolt and Digital Foundry aren’t as knowleadge as they seem. They use terms like MSAA because those techniques are commonly used on PC games. But game creating isn’t bound by 1 or 2 techniques such as traditional AA. Sony’s first party devs are using techniques that Gamingbolt aren’t familiar with.

      Sites like Digital Foundry and Gamingbolt are good for frame rate analysis, pixel counting, and identifying differences between 2 versions of the same game. But when it comes to the PS4 first party exclusives, they’re in the dark.

    • Psionicinversion

      yeah whatever hahahah

    • You Are Flat Out Wrong

      And still can’t beat anything on PC, John Derp.

      Also lol Weak AA and Chromatic Aberration.

    • I’m Flat Out Right

      Bloodborne looks better than the vast majority of PC games. Bloodborne uses low level techniques that aren’t available on PC. PC is held back by it’s own nature of being fractured accross multiple variations of hardware manufacturers. PC fan boys hold back consoles and they don’t realize it. Specs aren’t the only part of enabling graphics.

      Spending $1000 on underutilized PC hardware is dumb.

      Bad use of AA can also look very ugly and unatural.

    • You Are Flat Out Wrong

      Low level techniques? LOL. Theres that MisterTiduxMedia sekrit sauce that doesn’t exist again.

      Almost everything in GNMX is available in OpenGL 4.5 and the entire featureset will be in Vulkan (Which I thought you were trying to shill because you hate DX12 so much. Guess what, Superior PC gamers will have a choice of what to use). Consoles hold back PC’s. You don’t know a single thing but then I bet you believe Sony’s VR is 1080P when it’s actually 720P

      2xMSAA and FXAA combined can produce excellent IQ but consoles are so weak they can’t even handle a simplistic AA like FXAA.

      John Derp you are still a pathetic loser :^)

  • Aaron Michael Schulte

    The writer of this article cleary does not truly understand that when you use a low quality version of AA like FXAA and MSAA 2x your not improving the look of the game. It will make the game looked washed out and blurry, i believe if they wanna use AA to soften the edges at least use 4x SSAA so it keeps the game looking crisp and at the same time softening the edges….. Dont even get me started on depth of field such a worthless graphical feature that blurs the game and makes it look worse. I want clarity and crisp graphics and thats what bloodborne gave us so im happy but the frame rates need to be improved.

  • justerthought

    It sounds like the reviewers here where pumped up expecting everything to be perfect. The PS4 is powerful but it has limits. Compromises still have to be made. It’s running far more tech than the PS3.

    The graphics look impressive enough for this type of game which is focussed on gameplay. Plenty of eye candy. Lack of AA is not as serious as it sounds when you’re 1080p on a HD TV sitting at the standard viewing distance where you cannot see the pixels. AA is nice but the pixels are so hard to see it’s not a deal breaker when missing. Pixel flickering is reduced dramatically just by going to 1080p.

    The only issue I would have is the low frame rate and stutter. They have obviously pushed the console as little too hard to run all the eye candy which is a mistake. That’s disappointing but thankfully they didn’t go crazy and allow screen tear. That would have been the game buster.

  • Dave C

    Dat Chromatic aberration, ugh…Look at how blurry the screen gets towards the edges (this is cropped from upper right quarter, full screen has CA on both sides). I wish we could shut that OFF.

    As it is now BB sets a new standard for overused CA on PS4..

  • Randy

    Well thx to darksouls 1 and 2 i cant play other games. Was a huge dragon age fan, still great game but dont want to play it anymore. Now i have a ps4……dun, dun..Duhn, I hate you Fromsoftware……..

    • Randy

      ps Where is Darksouls 3, Demonssouls 2 and Bloodborne dlc?

    • Randy

      Imma die billions of times and gid gud y`all


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