Video Games

Bloodborne game review

I finally earned the the Platinum Trophy for Bloodborne. It took me 144 hours and I ended up at level 198. I think it’s the hardest Platinum I’ve earned to date. It didn’t take the longest, and it wasn’t the most complex or grindiest. But in terms of gameplay difficulty, man, the path to the last trophy is beyond merciless. Thank you FromSoftware. Thank you for doing what most companies are unwilling to do; thank you for pushing your players to their limits.

Bloodborne is very much a Souls game, but it’s presented in a much more refined and focused package. It’s more holistic is the best way I can describe it. The lore, aesthetic, and gameplay mechanics all complement each other wonderfully. It’s Victorian England meets H.P. Lovecraft, with a sprinkle of steampunk.

This consistency of style is one of the things that sets it apart from the more sprawling and diverse Souls games. Another major difference is the lack of shields and encumbrance, which promotes a much faster and more aggressive style of gameplay. There is no turtling behind a heavy shield and steel plate. You dodge your enemies’ attacks, you stagger them with your firearm, or you die. It’s beautiful, and I’ll try to take what I learned and apply it to Dark Souls 3 when I ever get around to playing it.

Every weapon and every piece of armor in Bloodborne is stylish and usable. Each weapon also has a unique and extensive moveset. There may not be a ton of weapons to choose from, but each has a distinct personality and will serve well any hunter who decides to master its intricacies. The same cannot be said for Souls games, which have more equipment to choose from, but less equipment you’d want to choose.

The gameplay is very solid. A few of the larger bosses have issues with the camera clipping into their bodies, but in general, playing the game is a very satisfying experience. The controls feel tight and responsive; framerates are steady; and I found hit registration to be very consistent. Graphically the game is amazing, and it’s complimented by an excellent, though understated soundtrack.

The story, as with Souls games, lacks a traditional narrative arc and is more about uncovering the lore. In that regard, I found Bloodborne slightly less cryptic and more enjoyable than other FromSoftware titles. There are several NPCs you meet along the way who breathe some life into the world and provide a sense of consequence for your actions. The voice acting and writing are by no means stellar, but certainly more than adequate.

If there is one thing Souls games are known for, it is the challenge, and Bloodborne does not disappoint. During the main campaign you will be tested, but rarely, if ever, stymied for a prolonged period. Should you want an extra challenge however, the Chalice Dungeons await. There is a predefined path through the Chalice Dungeons that leads to Yharnam, The Pthumerian Queen—final, final, final boss of Bloodborne. You will encounter challenges along this path that far exceed anything in the game proper. In addition to this predefined path, you can use Root chalices to create procedurally generated, unique dungeons to explore. The harder the dungeon, the better will be the loot—just as the gods of old decreed.

If you like Souls games, you will like Bloodborne; of that, I have little doubt. It doesn’t have quite the variety or grandeur, but it offers a different playstyle in a setting that is a fully realized stylistic masterpiece.

Video Games

Bloodborne: Watchdog of the Old Lords (Defiled Pthumeru)

I’ve cleared all of the depth 4 Chalice Dungeons with my sanity intact—barely. The Watchdog of the Old Lords, boss of Defiled Pthumeru layer 2, is quite possibly the most difficult boss battle I have ever encountered. It’s right there with Ornstein and Smough from Dark Souls and Maneater from Demon’s Souls.

It’s always worth it though. The feeling of satisfaction after defeating an insanely hard boss always outweighs the frustration of dying again and again and again.

Here’s the video of my battle with Watchdog. It’s quite boring, especially towards the end, and it doesn’t really convey how hard the fight is. Basically, your one slight mistake away from death the entire time.

All I have left to do now are the depth 5 Chalice Dungeons. May the Good Blood guide my way.

Video Games

Bloodborne: Best progress route

There is no best route, but that’s what people are likely to type into a search engine, so that’s the title. This is just the path I personally prefer to take through the game.

  1. Central Yharnam
  2. Cathedral Ward
  3. Hemwick Charnel Lane*
  4. Old Yharnam
  5. Healing Church Workshop
  6. Abandoned Old Workshop
  7. Forbidden Woods
  8. Byrgenwerth
  9. Iosefka’s Clinic
  10. Yahar’gul, Unseen Village (to Upper Cathedral Key)
  11. Upper Cathedral Ward*
  12. Yahar’gul, Unseen Village
  13. Lecture Building
  14. Forsaken Castle Cainhurst
  15. Nightmare Frontier
  16. Nightmare of Mensis

*Hemwick Charnel Lane and Upper Cathedral Ward are both fantastic farming areas, which is why I prioritize opening them up. Just remember to spend down your Insight before heading to the latter.

Video Games

Bloodborne: Minimalist spoiler-free trophy guide

Sometimes when I start playing a game, I know right away that it’s trophy worthy—the video game equivalent of sponge worthy for those of us who remember Seinfeld. In such cases, I invariably end up on www.playstationtrophies.org. That site has been a huge help over the years, but it’s both a blessing and a curse. Spoilers abound, and in general, I prefer to explore and discover things for myself. All I really want to know is how not to completely fuck things up. So here’s my first attempt at a minimalist trophy guide. Continue reading