By Matt Peckham
October 2, 2014

I care too much about coming to From Software’s Bloodborne fresh to play it in alpha. Or beta. Or anything short of gold.

But if you want to watch some dude in a cape and tricorn run around clobbering things in the employ of a game engine that looks really, really slick, the series of just released Bloodborne alpha-play videos above–four in all–are a treat.

Yes, there’s a Bloodborne alpha. It’s transpiring as I type this, and no, you can’t play it, since the signing-up period’s past. But this is arguably better, since it’s not really spoiling anything. What makes a game a game is playing it, after all, and this is just peering over someone’s shoulder.

If you’ve played Demon’s Souls or Dark Souls or Dark Souls II but paid little attention to Bloodborne, you’ll notice the DNA in these videos immediately. The interfaces are all but identical, as is the ebb and flow of combat. Even the way enemies die feels the same, though the animations and detail level are an order of magnitude greater.

Check out that creepy obese monstrosity just after 15:20. Notice how eerily lifelike it is when it moves. The Souls games are notorious for being some of the most difficult in recent memory, but at this level of fidelity, Bloodborne‘s adding “downright terrifying” to the mix.

Each video runs about 15 minutes: The initial one is of this fellow playing as Bloodborne‘s “standard” class. That’s followed by a video playing as the Kirkhammer class (Dark Souls meets Thor), a third involves crows and a freaky mini-boss, and the fourth is a full-on boss battle (with the dreaded “cleric beast”) that’s rather impressive.

Bloodborne arrives for PlayStation 4 (it’s exclusive) on February 6 next year.

Write to Matt Peckham at matt.peckham@time.com.

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