Bloodborne: Night Of The Hunt

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WARNING: This article contains spoilers up to the first boss battle of From Software’s Bloodborne. Read at your own peril.

It is worth mentioning that I played Demon’s Souls for the Playstation 3 and did not beat it. That was an incredibly difficult and, at times, frustrating video game. I had been out of the loop as far as Dark Souls and Dark Souls II, and safely out of From Software’s clutches since. The release of Bloodborne caused much commotion at the Toilet Ov Hell community and I decided to see for myself what all of the fuss was about.

Bloodborne opened with a short cutscene of a creepy fellow calling me Paleblood and speaking of unraveling the mystery of Yharnam. Character creation followed. I named my character “Breegrodamus” (obviously), picked my appearance (stylish spiky hair and stubbly beard), age (young), and picked my origin, which is like a character class. I selected Violent Past because it had the highest strength of all available choices, and I felt like Violent Past would increase my much needed street cred. I didn’t know what all of the stats were used for, and honestly I’m still not sure what the hell Arcane is used for.

bloodborne-intro-image

With very little in the way of introduction, Bloodborne dropped me into a hostile and terrifying world. There was no tutorial of any kind. I awoke in a hospital or clinic alone and unarmed. I got up from the operating table and began to wander through the clinic. The only thing I discovered were “specters” of other dead players and notes that other players had left for me, like in previous From Software titles. Oh, there was also a werewolf. A huge, hideous werewolf, blocking what seemed to be the only exit from the clinic. Without a way to sneak past the beast, I had to engage him without any weapons. He was faster than he looked. I threw some childish punches at him, was delighted to find I could hurt him (at about 3 damage per pop), but I mostly tried running around an operating table in circles until he caught me and destroyed me. YOU DIED. This is a phrase I would become increasingly, painfully familiar with.

bloodborne-youdiedlol2

It turns out I was supposed to die the first time. I was taken to the Hunter’s Dream. The Hunter’s Dream is a safe and central location, like my home base away from the nightmarish game world. After some searching (even the safe dream realm was initially difficult) I was given my choice of a trick weapon (the primary weapon) and a sidearm/firearm. I learned my trick weapon had two functions, and would later learn each trick weapon had two modes as well. Armed with weapons, I ventured back to the clinic to seek revenge on the werewolf that had brutally laid me to rest only moments earlier. He was much easier to kill, which was my first great triumph in Bloodborne – a feeling as powerful as much of my frustration with the earliest leg of the game.

I ventured forth from the clinic into Central Yharnam. I received a minimal amount of information regarding the city or the circumstances surrounding it. Much of what I learned came from brief encounters with off screen villagers locked inside of their homes. Knocking on the doors of villagers led to mockery, as if someone would be so stupid to open their door on the “night of the hunt”. I also learned from observing my surroundings. This night of the hunt appeared to be the monstrous subhuman inhabitants of the village hunting werewolves, as many werewolves were found burning in the streets. I was the Hunter, but I spent most of the initial part of Bloodborne in abject horror that I was being hunted by the mobs in the village.

Central Yharnam's Hunter Mobs

Each combat encounter with the townsfolk of Central Yharnam was mortifying. Initially every enemy I faced had the power to kill me with a hit or two. I relied on my agility, ability to dodge or sidestep enemy attacks, and reaction time. Central Yharnam required me to play it perfectly, which took me dozens of attempts. The very first leg of the game took me three days to complete. I later read something on Forbes Magazine (who have covered this game extensively) online which said the first level of Bloodborne was designed to break the player. One false move and that same old tune played:

YOU DIED. YOU DIED. YOU DIED. YOU DIED. YOU DIED. YOU DIED. YOU DIED. YOU DIED. YOU DIED. YOU DIED. YOU DIED. YOU DIED. YOU DIED. YOU DIED. YOU DIED. YOU DIED. YOU DIED. YOU DIED. YOU DIED. YOU DIED. YOU DIED. YOU DIED. YOU DIED. YOU DIED. YOU DIED. YOU DIED. YOU DIED. YOU DIED. YOU DIED. YOU DIED. YOU DIED. YOU DIED. YOU DIED. YOU DIED. YOU DIED.

I would learn to pass a small group of townsfolk only to reach a much larger group, like the massive group that occupies the central location of the city.  I’m embarrassed to say it took me over a day to realize I could lock onto enemies, to aim my pistol at them or use various other items I discovered, like pebbles and Molotov cocktails. Enemies leaped out from behind pillars to hack at me with butcher knives, pitchforks, and swords. Despite my frustration, Bloodborne benefited from its intense gameplay, suspense, and the incredible horror atmosphere. I became hooked on a game I had considered quitting entirely, since I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to beat the first level. It required repetition and learning new strategies for each encounter. Vicious attack dogs joined patrol parties. A giant armed with a brick brought a new level of fear to Central Yharnam. My first attempt to sneak past him led to him sneaking up on me, with disastrous results. I had to carefully manage my health, stamina, and resources, and tweak my gameplay with each new effort. I was stunned to find a pair of werewolves guarding the end of the first level, and they were not wussified like the initial werewolf I killed in the clinic. Even after I developed a strategy to beat them (kill them with fire) it took several extremely tense pitched battles. Those werewolves (and one more cluster of enemies) were the last thing remaining before Bloodborne’s first boss, the Cleric Beast.

bloodborne-clericbeast

Like the massive group of townsfolk in Central Yharnam, the brick wielding giant in the courtyard, and the pair of werewolves guarding the bridge, my first reaction to the giant, emaciated, wolf like Cleric Beast was “oh fuck”. The Cleric Beast was horrifying. I barely scratched him during our first battle, and spent most of it running from him like a little girl observing his movement. I made some headway during the next few battles, and managed to somewhat luckily defeat him on our fourth fight together. The fight I won was one of the most tense moments I have ever had playing a video game. Real stress filled my body and mind. This victory again showed me the absolute triumph of Bloodborne. Oh my good god I did it! A new place to save! Another level to explore! More weapons! The first boss turned out to be much easier than the first level, at least I was able to defeat him much more quickly. This opened up the world of Bloodborne.

The RPG aspect of the game allowed me to level up my stats considerably and fortify my weapons, which sped up the exploration of later levels. I defeated some bosses after my victory over the Cleric Beast with relative ease: I beat Father Gascoigne on our first fight, the Witches of Hemwick on the first fight, and the Shadows of Yharnam on our second fight. Others were still very tough. The Blood Starved Beast and Vicar Amelia both took about six or seven fights. The Toilet Ov Hell’s own Jack Bauer was impressed I had beaten each boss without the aid of other players [article-post-submission update: I got aid on Rom, The Vacuous Spider, which was amazing since my helper kicked his ass]. Each victory led to that sheer sense of joy and accomplishment, which is one of Bloodborne’s greatest strengths.

The creation of this article was assisted largely by the sweet sounds of Excruciating Terror.

I recently read an article (also on Forbes Magazine) citing Bloodborne’s overwhelming praise by video game journalists as a failure in that industry. I agree with some of the author’s points about the difficulty of Central Yharnam and acknowledge that I considered quitting a game I had just purchased for $60. However, I believe Bloodborne stands apart from many modern games with their ability to save at any point and their ease of completion even on the hardest difficulty levels. This game has become highly addictive, and still holds a great amount of tension during boss fights and other encounters when I have upwards of 70,000 Blood Echoes (the game’s form of currency) on the line. There are some aspects which need improvement. The game’s multi-player mode leaves much to be desired, as I have only played online with one other person despite numerous attempts to do so. I haven’t beaten Bloodborne, but I think I am getting near the end. Will it stand aside other top tier video games? Will it enter the pantheon of greats held by titles like the original Bioshock or Batman: Arkham City? Only time will tell. At the time of this writing I am still somewhere in the Nightmare Frontier…

Photos via & via & via & via & via & via

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  • May the good blood guide your way

    • D. Lee

      Trot along will ya!

  • Dagon

    Damn, I need to get back into gaming. I plan on catching up with at least 15 or 20 titles after graduation/residency approval.

    • Only 15 to 20? You should set your goals a little higher! lol

      • Dagon

        Hahaha I won’t have the time to play everything, but at least the essential.

    • RepostedAvengedSevenfoldFan

      Listen m8 u better go outside and play or youll end up like me, a shit who sits on his ass all day playing video games n shit wasting my life

      -Lachlan Harvey, 2 months ago

  • Tyree

    None of this really interested me until I got down to the the glorious sight of Excruciating Terror’s cover art that is Divided We Fall, because really good grind band is grindy good.

    • Edward/Breegrodamus™

      Tyree I appreciate you taking the time to browse the article and discover the music near the end. That was not on purpose, but serves that purpose well lol

      • Tyree

        Listening now. Thanks for posting it.

        • Edward/Breegrodamus™

          I’m gonna put on either Hic Iacet or Ad Naseum, haven’t decided which and need to wash my ass before I finish either.

          • Tyree

            Have you listened to Hic Iacet yet?

          • Edward/Breegrodamus™

            I did, I thought it was pretty sweet!

  • Maybe I am a total poser – but – I never had patience for games where you kept having to die over and over and over and over again.

  • Ahmed Johnson The Reef Eater

    Speaking of video games Mortal Kombat X is out today. I’m going to buy it for PS4.

    • Edward/Breegrodamus™

      Fuck I want to buy that too. Know what? I’m gonna.

      • Ahmed Johnson The Reef Eater

        I am too.

  • Dagon

    The Dark Souls series remind me of the feeling I had when I played Ninja Gaiden as a kid. Masochism starts early.

    • The Beargod

      Ha! LAWL! I just compared the two games!

  • My one complaint is how hard it is to coop with friends

  • RepostedAvengedSevenfoldFan

    My gamertag is Gothic Nixon

    -wookiepagan, 2 years ago

  • Tyree
  • IT GOATS IT GOATS IT GOATS

    I’m not going to play BloodBorne because ps4exlusivelol, but I dig Dark Souls. Still stuck at Smough and Ornstein, not in the mood right now to keep trying.

    http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s–tMIvWcWq–/c_fit,fl_progressive,q_80,w_636/18nmdnr6vwhxqgif.gif

  • TheRedman(formerly God ov All)

    The Burial Blade is fucking sweet. (do not google if you want to remain spoiler free) And boy oh boy when you finally reach the Chalice dungeon level 5’s, you will become more familiar with the phrase “YOU DIED” than you are now.

    • Edward/Breegrodamus™

      I almost died twice in Forsaken Cainhurst Castle but both times narrowly escaped with my life and like 50,000 Blood Echoes. I haven’t beat the boss there yet, it’s actually the next thing I’m gonna do when I sit down to play (whenever that will be)

      • TheRedman(formerly God ov All)

        He is one of my favorites. try to solo him if you can. soooooo satisfying.

        • Edward/Breegrodamus™

          I will. I’m gonna kick his ass.

    • Edward/Breegrodamus™

      Another small complaint I have is that it is hard, later in the game, to get all of my weapons fortified to a usable strength. Like I got that Tonitrus way later in the game, and it’s pretty rad, but it’s hard to find those good later materials.

      • TheRedman(formerly God ov All)

        I agree. it pretty much forces you to keep using your starting weapons because thats when you get all the upgrade materials. There are some good farming areas for blood shards/twin shards/chunks in the later game areas. youll just need a quick google search to find them. The Tonitrus is OP against the kin if you give it some good blood gem infusions.

        • Edward/Breegrodamus™

          The Kirkhammer is my jam. I got that sucker up to like +8 just smashing fools. Plus it’s strong enough that the sword part of it rivals the Saw Cleaver, my other primary weapon throughout the game.

          • TheRedman(formerly God ov All)

            Nice. The weapons that carried me throughout the game were Ludwigs Holy Blade, The Tonitrus, and The Logarius Wheel.

          • Edward/Breegrodamus™

            I found Ludwig’s Holy Blade, and wanted to use it, but I just haven’t been able to get it up the same levels as my two primary weapons so it isn’t practical in any of the current levels I am exploring. It seems badass though.

          • TheRedman(formerly God ov All)

            I have a feeling they are gonna nerf it. It has ridiculous stagger capabillities.

          • Ludwig’s is >>>>
            It’s what I’ve been using 90% of the time, I use Tonitrus the other 10% against bosses and enemies in water.

          • Sir Tapir the Based

            Ludwig and Tonitrus really tickle my nipples.

          • TheRedman(formerly God ov All)

            😉

  • Tyree
  • I have no idea what this MLG thing is but I am dying atm.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vr9O0uR4-Kw

  • TheRedman(formerly God ov All)
  • Formerly Known As Oli Sykes

    No PC version = no buy from me #PCGamingMasterRace
    In all seriousness, a game like Bloodborne would get me to buy a PS4, if I had money, and a decent TV.

  • Dear Friends,

    If you recall, I am on a quest to alienate a co-worker of mine that ignores saying hello to me. Alienation is being achieved by not limiting the volume or frequency of my farts (while we are both in our co located cubicles. I am here to report on two things… the first being that my quest to totally alienate my co-worker is working – he avoids me at all cost. What is the second? Well, I saw him driving into work today in his little tiny car and on the back were Metallica and Iron Maiden stickers. I am now conflicted. Should I continue to make this man feel awkward now that I know he is not a total poser (dont get me wrong, he is STILL a poser)? Or should I continue to chastise him for being a turd? Also, lol.

    Plz advse

    GL

  • nbm02ss

    Anyone else buy GTA V for PC? I have it downloading while I’m at work.

    • I heard it was great on PC!

    • Dr. Dubz

      I think Mssr. bauer has been playing it.

  • Spear

    I want this game so bad, but I’m not willing to drop $400 on a Bloodborne-box. Here’s hoping they give us a PC release sometime soon.

    • nbm02ss

      At least there is Arkham Knight and Witcher 3 on the horizon.

      • Edward/Breegrodamus™

        Batman: Arkham Knight is gonna be crazy good.

      • The Beargod

        Witcher 3 is going to kill me. Until September, when MGSV is going to kill me.

  • The Beargod

    I still stand by: DS II is not a hard game, Ninja Gaiden (the originals) is hard. You have to master every secret and tactic in the game to prevail. DS II merely tells you to try, dying was part of the game’s concept.

    • Edward/Breegrodamus™

      I wanna play the reissue on PS4 of Dark Souls II because I never played it before. I might cop it on the cheap (if it is cheap, I dunno) after I beat up Bloodborne.

    • Dr. Dubz

      Ninja Gaiden on the NES or the Xbox.

      • The Beargod

        Been so long I played either, I can’t be sure, but I’d wager Xbox.

    • agreed, DS2 isn’t too difficult. every enemy’s tactics can be memorized, which IMHO makes it more of a puzzle game. it doesn’t rely so much on typical video game skill like most FPSs.

    • BLOODBEARDE

      the key to DkS2 is PvP and FashionSouls. I dont get why everyone is so hung up on the PvE

  • Tyree

    I can’t remember what it was, but a friend of mine years back had some game where you are killing nazi zombies during WW2 or some shit. That was really fun! Just drank beer and shot nazi zombies

    • Dr. Dubz

      I think that was an expansion of a Call of Duty game.

      • Edward/Breegrodamus™

        One of the Black Ops games? I loved Nazi Zombies, used to coop the shit out of that.

        • nbm02ss

          Speaking of mindlessly killing zombies, Killing Floor 2 comes out on Steam on the 21st.

          • Dr. Dubz

            I might have to get that this summer during a steam sale. KF 1 was awesome.

      • Maik Beninton

        World at War. The last CoD that was on WW2.

    • Ricky

      The only thing worse than Nazi Zombies is Suicide Bombing Nazi Zombie Cows.

      https://youtu.be/7wf7PuU2Zno

  • The Beargod

    Also that Forbes article… the later… not sure what to think of it. On the other hand he has got a point. On the other he doesn’t seem to have a clue.

    • Edward/Breegrodamus™

      I understand both sides of it. I really thought I had wasted $60 on an impossible video game, but once I got the knack of things it really has been an awesome / fun / addicting experience.

    • EsusMoose

      I haven’t read it, but I assume it’s someone who isn’t in the demographic that the game sells to. So I shall act angry and bark words like 2deep4u and gitgud till he runs away.

  • I love From’s games. Demon Souls and Dark Souls were fucking amazing. I really disliked Dark Souls 2. I love Bloodbourne. I died so much in Demon Souls in Dark Souls but Bloodbourne is my style of gameplay (I’m overly aggressive in video games) so I didn’t really die a whole lot. For the first time in a FromSoft game, I felt like I was kicking ass and taking names. It was then that I ran into Vicar Amelia. That was when my wise smiling ass became a fervent cloud of salty cursing.

    • JamesGrimm

      Its the same game. over and over again.

      • The mechanics are such that nearly every boss feels satisfying to beat. Additionally, the dark oppressive atmosphere, coupled with the amazing level design creates in immensely compelling world. If you dig for lore, you can easily find it and many of the mysteries that are presented in the story can be figured out. ‘Tis not a game for those who aren’t prepare to be patient and do some serious thinking to figure out what exactly is happening.

        • JamesGrimm

          Ive played it before. similar mechanics, similar characters, similar plot.

          • TheRedman(formerly God ov All)

            >bloodborne
            >similar plot of other fromsoft games
            >wat

          • EsusMoose

            Demon’s souls had a “plot” that made you go kill things just because
            Dark souls had a plot and explained why you needed to kill things
            DaS2: said it had a plot but just wanted you to kill things
            BB: IDK my bff JG

          • True enough. I found plenty of similarities between the mechanics of the games and even similarities in the environments. For me, they’re still fun, compelling games.

    • Edward/Breegrodamus™

      Vicar Amelia was one of the toughest boss battles for me yet.

      Beating Shadows of Yharnam on the second try was when I really knew I was the man, lol

      • Dr. Dubz

        “Overwhelmed as one would be placed in my position. Such a heavy burden now to be the one.”

      • It was definitely the hardest for me. I got about half of the bosses on the first try. I beat Shadows of Yharnam on the second try as well.

    • as someone who’s addicted to DS2, i’m curious why you didn’t like it (i’m not saying it’s a perfect game by any means)

      • Edward/Breegrodamus™
      • For me, Dark Souls is all about the atmosphere and world design. I felt that the utter despair and hopelessness of Dark Souls was missing in Dark Souls 2 (although I really love The Gutter and The Black Gulch). Additionally, the game had bonfires like every ten feet. I never really experienced many of those cool moments that I did in Dark Souls 1 where you would open a door and find out that it was that door you saw hours ago but couldn’t open. I also felt that Dark Souls 2 had significantly more spots where cheap deaths could occur. The only place I ever fell to my death in Dark Souls 1 was in Blighttown and on the Bed of Chaos fight. I was falling hither and thither in Dark Souls 2. I didn’t like the parry mechanic in Dark Souls 2. On the PC version, at least for me, I could never end up doing it because of input lag from the controller. The bug that halves your weapon durability because of 60FPS also pissed me off.

        • BLOODBEARDE

          Dude, parry mechanics in DkS1 are easy as fuck. DkS2 mechanics for parry/backstabs are muuuuuuch improved. In fact, most of the gameplay mechanics are greatly improved with DkS2. Framerate? Improved. Connectability? Improved. The only the DkS1 has on DkS2, in my endless hours of experience, is atmosphere and plot.

          • My framerate in DkS1 was fine as I modded it. As for the parry, I literally was never able to successfully do it in DkS2. I tried over and over again. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think DkS2 is a bad game, I personally prefer DkS1.

          • BLOODBEARDE

            I’m not great at parrying, by any means, but the parry window in DkS1 is much like that of Bloodborne. Its huge. In DkS2 its a lot more about timing it when an attack is going to hit you (assuming it doesn’t poise break or is uninterruptible). Gun parry in Bloodborne is a joke, I feel like I can parry anything. Bloodborne is a brilliant game but it doesn’t have any of the Souls meta-game stuff. Recently exploring the PvP system and the covenants has been cool, though. I like the password system for co-op. Bloodborne’s turned out to be a mixed bag for me, really. I will be getting SotFS soon, I just feel like I have little to prove when it comes to DkS2. Maybe this weekend I’ll get it. I’d like to finish my 100% on bloodborne first.

          • Stomp some ass and take names.

      • EsusMoose

        I’ll add to Xan’s comment: Boss design felt like cheap remakes of past bosses, terribly linear maps (other than a couple areas that had adventure-able places that quickly turned back to linear paths), so many things were just not explained even in items where I expected them to be, story progress was stupid, pvp was broken (soul levels are stupid), pyromancy was withheld for far too long. The Vendrick boss fight for instance symbolizes the nature of the game, wait for things to hit you hard then hit back, ad infinitum. The covenants weren’t as good as DaS, only one that was kinda cool was the darkness conenant.

        • Good points as well. One thing I didn’t like about DS2 was that most of the bosses were just humanoids and not hideous, gigantic, terrifying monsters.

          • EsusMoose

            They did improve the characters attributes and I’d disagree the parry was better implemented in ds2 as it relied on agility or something instead of being an ability everyone can use. I do need to go back and look through the bosses, I think some of the problems with bosses is that it’s also the 3rd game so many people have already seen some variation of all bosses. I’d have to look through the bosses again but yeah way too humanoid

    • Vicar was the only boss I’ve beaten on my first try so far, weird.

      • Edward/Breegrodamus™

        She wasn’t so bad when I figured out I could just stand behind her and hack away.

        • You just have to dodge to her unused hand, and stay close to her so she doesn’t do that damn shockwave thing.

          • Edward/Breegrodamus™

            I beat the Reborn One on my second try, but died as I was killing him from those spellcasters. Got the trophy. I then stupidly died at the very beginning of the level on my way back and lost like 45,000 Blood Echoes.

          • Haven’t gotten there yet. Rom keeps spanking me. Been trying to beat him and doing some chalice dungeons for fun.

          • Edward/Breegrodamus™

            I could not figure out how to beat that fucker. The guy who helped me with him just annihilated him as I stood off the to the side and killed like three little spiders, lol

  • JamesGrimm

    The comfort food of video gaming. A really fancy, cool looking potato chip.

  • This game is just >>>>>
    I’m stuck on that bastard Rom right now but I refuse to ask for help. I’m gonna solo this whole friggin game.

    • BLOODBEARDE

      If you’re within level range I’ll be glad to help, Beautiful Ann

  • excellent write-up, @disqus_4E0xQtrX2p:disqus! the feeling of dread when facing a boss is palpable. after dying during a boss fight, i can feel/hear my heart beating over 100bpm. (DS2 though, haven’t touched this game yet)

    • Edward/Breegrodamus™

      The boss fights in Bloodborne so far caused me to have legitimate stress, lol

  • Herr Schmitty

    I’m def. interested in Bloodborne, but I think I’m going to wait on price drops to grab it.

    Did NOT wait on price drops to grab Mortal Kombat X though. Played it for like an hour after it came out last night and had a fucking great time being reminded that I’m awful at fighting games. My buddy Reptile and I got positively slaughtered by some dude using one of the brand new characters (never been in a previous MK!) online immediately after the game came out.

    How do you know all the moves and fatalities the minute the game is released?

  • EsusMoose

    Read the first paragraph and came here to say you’re a noob Edward gitgud. Only nerds quit. I can’t think of any other way to make fun of you but nice review and I wish I had a ps4.

  • J.R.

    Since I fully and entirely immersed myself in Mass Effect, the only games I have been able to play are League of Legends and play-and-drop shooters (Battlefield 3, Medal of Honor). Though this year I am excited for Star Wars Battlefront 3 and The Division.

  • BLOODBEARDE

    I didn’t even get a shout out here? C’mon, Ed.

  • OldMetalHead

    Great review! I love the atmosphere in this game, and it’s gorgeous as well.