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Viewing blog entries in category: Reviews
So somewhere in the middle of this year I finally got my hands on ps4 (for excellent price + Witcher 3, God of War and Bloodborne) and since then used it pretty much everyday.
I will be honest, when I first started Bloodborne I was legitimately nervous. It was my first contact with FromSoft's game and what I heard about them didn't really lighten up my mood. I heard their games are hard and unforgiving, downright frustrating. I'm not really a type of person to seek challenge (b4 I got ps4 I've played like 4 games in the past few years) and I never find fun there (not that I think game should be too easy, but you get my point). I'm just a noob who wants to have a good time.
If it wasn't in the package I probably wouldn't even consider buying it.
But I finally decided to play it and...damn, it was far better than I expected.
Let's start with good things.
First of all, the environment. Good lord is it beautiful. This Victorian-like-era plagued by horrific and nightmarish monsters and lit up by a moonlight where occasional sound of the bell reverberates through the everlasting night is just so climatic that at the end I was just teleporting from one place to another to suck the world through my senses. Yharnam, Hunter's Dream, Castle Cainhurst, Research Hall and and Fishing Hamlet are my favorite.
On the other hand, there are some that I don't really like and just clearing them was like "thank God, it's over" for me. Nightmare Frontier (I mean, this location itself wants to kill you), Nightmare of Mensis, Unseen Village and Forbidden Woods are some of them. Mostly because there's just abudance of really annoying monsters, no good items and no interesting lore elements.
You can add here world design. Whoever was responsible for the locations in this game should be given some kind of reward. This's without a doubt my favorite part about Bloodborne. Seeing how these locations connect with each other, looking for alternate routes and opening doors was never so fun in any other game I have played and a true feast for someone who loves exploration.
Second is combat. This one is just so fluid that it felt like tracing your hand on a smarthphone rather than pushing buttons. At first I was like a coward who was running away from monsters and shooting them up with silver bullets. But after a few fights you know when to roll, when to parry, when to attack and when to heal. I like that the game is basically teaching you through combat/practice and not some kind of tutorial.
Not that I was doing everything flawlessly (I died A LOT), but I was clearly getting better and better just by playing.
Speaking of which, we can't forget about the sound. Not just a music, which is great ofc, but sound in general. Footsteps of your characters, roars of your enemies, even destruction of the location elements, such as boxes. All of this makes everything seem alive and almost like environment is another character.
Under that you can also add voice acting. At first I was going to play with Japanese voice acting, which isn't really bad per se, but I feel like English fits more here and each actor was clearly giving it all.
Another thing worth mentioning is variety of enemies/bosses. I'm not really alone on that, as there are tons of youtubers talking about their favorite encounters. I have those as well.
I quickly noticed that I have more fun with smaller and faster bosses such as Father Gascoigne, Lady Maria or Gehrman than giants like Lawrence, Amelia or Undead Reborn. Mostly because strategy for the giants boils down to "wait for an attack-->dodge-->attack-->repeat", meanwhile human-sized characters attack almost relentlessly so they always force you to keep moving. I still remember my heartbeat during my fight with Gascogine, especially in his 3rd phase, that was intense, but also exciting.
Not that giants monsters can't be a challenge. In fact, my hardest encounters were against them.
Let's see...Rom is probably the boss I hate the most. Not that it was the hardest fight, but definitely most frustrating and boring. The fact it had TON of HP didn't help. When I finally beat this thing I was just glad it was over and didn't had great time at all.
If we're talking about bosses alone. Orphan of Kos or Ebrietas were the ones who destroyed me the most. It took me about 7 to 8 attempts (possibly more, I wasn't counting) to kill them and it wasn't easy.
Ironically though, the 2 hardest fights for me in the game weren't against bosses at all. It was against those two shark giants in the well guarding Rakuyo. I actually had to check up how to defeat them and Shaman Bone Blade's strategy came up. When I decided to do that I just accidentally defeated them without it.
The second was against this Hunter at the end of Eileen's quest. That gun was just unfair.
You can't battle these horrors with empty hands, fortunately Bloodborne delivers when it comes to weapons. It's always easy to pick Ludwig's Holy Blade, because it's just great for most situations and while I too used it the most, I also took time to level some other weapons and play with them. Tonitrus was extremely helpful against Rom, while Hunter Axe against Paarl.
However, there are some weapons that are directly connected to your abuse of specific stats. Weapons such as Chikage, Bloodletter and most firearms which use Bloodtinge I didn't use so much. Ofc firearms are a bit different because I needed them for parrying, but I saw some people with Bloodtinge build and they were defeating bosses with 2-3 shots. That's pretty awesome.
That's enough sugar, now for things that I didn't liked.
Chalice Dungeons. In fact this's the only reason which keeps me from completing Bloodborne at 100%. There's just so many of them and they're so repetitive that not only I'm bored, but also get lost because I forget whether I finished them or not. THEY JUST LOOK THE SAME! I think I did around half of them, but then stopped playing. Who knows, maybe I will return to Bloodborne and finish them...some day.
Story. In the first place, without reading item descriptions there's no story. Fortunately I do and...have to say it isn't for me. Bloodborne (and from what I know, Dark Souls too) play like mythology, story is always in the background, in hundreds or even thousands of years ago. I prefer when story is personal and you can relate to characters, such as in The Last of Us or The Witcher 3. Not that I think Bloodborne's story is bad or anything, it's just not my cup of tea.
Most of the characters are already dead or insane. It's like the world is decadent and already reaching its end so there's no influence on the story.
Excessive difficulty. Like I said, I don't mind gameplay per se as even though I died a lot it never felt impossible to beat and you just feel great after winning. However, there are some decisions from developers that feel really pointless.
For example, losing your Blood Echoes after death. Is that really necessary? I know you can regain them, but you only have 1 chance to do that and if you don't all spoils of your countless battles will be reduced to 0. I know what they were trying to do here: give us more reasons to try harder. However, what about situations where your skill doesn't matter? Like in bad TV connection and lags? And yeah, I actually had those and lost a ton of Blood Echoes. At the very least they should separate Exp and currency and make that character loses only 1 after death. But since Blood Echoes are both it can be very frustrating.
Another example is how you start DLC. I haven't read about it before finishing base game and I really regret it. Nevermind that process to start DLC is already complex enough (how the hell would someone guess to try that?), but if you start DLC AFTER finishing base game then you will be locked on NG+. I had like 60lvl back then, so pretty much any encounter with insane Hunter was like a mini-boss fight to me. And don't let me even start talking about my fight with Ludwig...
I had to start game anew and complete DLC before Mergo's Wet Nurse. It was definitely easier (although I won't dare to say easy).
Hunter Tools. I think aside from Fire/Bolt Papers, Bone Marrow Ash and some others I found them to be pretty much useless. And it's not like I had a bad rank in Arcane, it was pretty high iirc. I just think good old "roll and sword smack" is far more effective than any of these mysteries.
Nevermind they consume a lot of Silver Bullets and no Silver Bullets-->no parrying, so I wasn't using them too much.
Levelling up. On one had I really like it, because even if you have high level it doesn't guarantee your victory. You can have level 15 and lose against Paarl and you can have level 60 and lose against Paarl (although there's no doubt it's easier).
But the game practically begs to choose your specialization. What will it be? Strength? Arcane? Bloodtinge. During my first play I was trying to be this "all-rounder" and investing my Blood Echoes almost equally (with a slight leaning toward HP and strength) and it was bad idea. I had no clear advantage in anything so I couldn't focus on anything in particular.
It was better in my second play where I was investing points for my health and strength. Yeah, pretty boring, but also far more effective.
Same goes for my third play where I was doing my Arcane build. Not only it felt great with using various items now far more effective, but it also changed they way I've played. Being more careful and keeping more distance.
So yeah, I think you need a pretty good idea at the start to level up your character.
That's from what I remember.
In conclusion, I think Bloodborne is a very good game that certainly delivers in some ways, but is kind of hit and miss in another.
But playing this there's no surprise for me as to why it's so popular. I definitely had a lot fun most of the time (*cough*chalicedungeons*cough*). I love the fact it isn't such a linear game despite not being a true open world, that you actually have to think about which gear do you need as they all have their pros and cons and that fight after fight you don't feel boredom, but only rush of blood.
I'm definitely going to check upcoming Sekiro, but b4 that I hope to finish Dark Souls 3 which I'm playing right now.
PS: No mention about multiplayer, because I don't really like online gaming (looking at you EA), but I have to admit it looks pretty fun so I will probably check it soon.