Casual Reviews – Bloodborne

Settle in with some hot cocoa, a blanket, your significant other (if applicable), and hang with me for a bit. This one got long quick…I apologize.

As a casual gamer, there are games I am…apprehensive to partake in. Games so deep in the underbelly of the gaming world that only the hardcore/elite can digest them without developing gaping ulcers in their pride. I had heard of FromSoftware…I planned to tell my casual gaming children bedtime stories about FromSoftware some day, to keep them from misbehaving.

My first experience was when I crashed with a few guys and gals I didn’t know (it’s a long story). One couple, dressed in all black, tattered clothes, with metal skulls, dragon pendants, and crosses adorning different parts of their bodies, was cuddled in the living room playing a video game. Common ground, right? Wrong…so wrong. The girl offered me the controller. I took it from her black nail polished hands. I smiled confidently. I had just made a friend.

I proceeded to die more times than I knew possible in a video game.

The game was Dark Souls. The mere mention of Dark Souls causes me to retreat as I mutter, “I am not worthy…I am not worthy.”

Enter my wife.

Fallout 4 left me burned out. I honestly wasn’t going to attempt another review for a while. My wife, however, pushed me to snap out of it and get another game. The Critics’ Choice Sale was live on PSN and after a lengthy discussion, she honed in on Metal Gear Solid V. However, having just had my gaming soul crushed by Fallout 4’s meaningless, behemoth quest flabs, I was more than hesitant. I was…resistant. “It’s too big,” I kept saying. “I won’t finish it because I don’t think there’s much understandable story…it’s too tedious.”

When that didn’t convince her, I had no other option. Ladies and gentlemen, I went nuclear. “It has a character who has to wear nothing but a thong/bikini to breathe, and she can’t speak…her name is literally…Quiet. Do you want to support that?”

While it wasn’t quite the nuclear warhead I had hoped (her quick response being, “then include that in the review”), we did agree to wait for the price to drop again. The next words out of her mouth made the room grow so silent you could have heard a pin drop on our carpet floor.

“What about Bloodborne?”

Environment

So story…well let’s see, you’re a hunter and you kill beasts. That’s about it. There really isn’t a story. Which spells death for RPGs unless they have an addictive loot system. There are some cutscenes in  Bloodborne, though. They make less sense than my grandfather with Alzheimer’s Disease, but they’re there.

The world though…the world. It doesn’t quite make sense. There aren’t a lot of people to talk to, and when you do, it’s never obvious what you’re supposed to do for/with them. But people, this game has character. Simply finding new areas was so exciting/terrifying. What strange and unexplainable thing was waiting around the corner? Why is there a giant in a wheelchair pointing at a cliff? Why am I killing every single thing that moves? No clue. But it sure is a fun ride.

The character designs, while not as terrifying as other reviews proclaimed, were freaky as…fiddlesticks. My general reaction to seeing any creature I had not encountered before can be seen below:

Bloodborne has such a good atmosphere. If there had been a compelling story with interesting characters, this review might not have happened. My brain would have exploded.

Gameplay

Simultaneously Bloodborne’s best and worst category.  At the start of the game you die. And then you repeat that step multiple times. While you are still low level, the game simply obliterates you…yet you improve slightly each time around. And that is how Bloodborne slowly sunk its deceptively addictive claws into me. Unlike The Last of Us, I could improve my stats until I dominated those fools.

Combat…holy ovary/scrotum sacks! It sounds and feels like nothing I’ve experienced in a game before. The Witcher? Methodical but good…Batman combat? Satisfying…Diablo III? Quite pleasurable…Bloodborne? Heroin.

Beating the first boss had to be one of the most satisfying moments in my gaming career. Let’s remember, I was afraid of this game. I had just been killed countless times. I was beginning to think I had made another huge mistake and wasted more money on a game I would not finish. And then this happened:

I was hooked. It was over. There was no going back. I wanted more.

My wife, who had white knuckles the entire battle, jumped off the couch to give me a high five. I had finally defeated a boss. I had confidence. Maybe I could rise above my lowly place in the gaming world and, for a few brief moments, walk among the stars.

Maybe I could beat a FromSoftware game.

But Bloodborne wasn’t a perfect experience. The game is so uninformative about how to do things and where to go, I felt like I was a kid helping my dad work on cars all over again. I had no clue what to do with certain items I received. It was infuriating. However, my wife (a Legend of Zelda veteran) loved this. With her help, I was able to figure out most of the item uses and random things to do that I would have never found on my own.

If you like stumbling around with no idea what to do (my wife calls this “puzzle solving”), this won’t be an issue for you. If you’re like me, this could honestly be a deal breaker.

Replay Value

Are you a crush/dating kind of person or a marriage person? Because once the game ends, the thrill of discovery is gone. The draw that sucked me in, finding those new places and discovering more about this bizarre and strange world, vanished. I know Bloodborne. There may be a few minor discoveries here and there, like any relationship, but new bosses? New areas? No such thrills remain.

All in all, replay value is tricky. I can see both sides of why you would or wouldn’t return to this game. Compared to RPGs like Mass Effect, Witcher III, or Persona 4, Bloodborne does not have much replay value. But compared to the campaigns of inFamous, any Call of Duty, or other non-RPG games, it is way above average in replay value.

Think of it as a more complex Tomb Raider, or The Last of Us. There is leveling, but not tons of choice like a full blown RPG. If that sounds good to you, then go slaughter some minions! Including the little yellow ones…I have no idea why people love them so much.

Online

Okay, what a strange game to have online, right? Bloodborne is at its best as a single player experience. You can leave messages for others and it shows tips and help. But I didn’t want that. You also can use a little bell to simultaneously call another player to your world and give an angel its wings. This part takes getting used to because someone else could ring a different bell which allows them to invade a player calling for help as an enemy and attack them. Presumably this bell also gives demons their wings…because what kind of a turd would ring that bell, anyway?

You can set a password so that only friends can join you. Some people may like this. You may like this. But this was my world and my boss to hunt. I didn’t want anyone else to come in and do anything for me. I wanted to do it. I had been killed so many times, it was personal.

So the online is there. It’s okay.

Conclusion

Before I conclude, I just have to say…the three hunters in Yahar’Gul Chapel…really, really, really hate them. If you get stuck there because of me recommending this game…here you go…and again, I apologize.

The universe wanted me to like Bloodborne. There is no other explanation. On paper, it had the makings of my first catastrophe rating. Plus I haven’t had a good track record with PlayStation exclusives. But the stars aligned. I had nothing left to lose after Fallout 4 broke my spirit, nothing else to play, a weekend with no other obligations, and a wife who enjoys…’puzzles.’

Should you buy this game? I believe it truly depends on your mental state. If you are prepared to die, enjoy finding things without any guidance, prepared to die, are okay with no story, prepared to die, love unique settings, and prepared to die, then I think you have a shot at enjoying Bloodborne.

I got it for $24 and, against all odds, had a ton of fun. It’s now back up to $40, and I’d recommend waiting. Also keep an eye on Amazon. $25 or less…I say get it. The nice thing about Bloodborne is that it’s best as a single player game. Play it today or next year and it will still be a similar experience. Plus the DLC might be included in that bundle.

If you’ll excuse me, I have to go paint my nails black…seriously…I actually have my eyes on Dark Souls III now…what is happening to me? Who am I?

Bloodborne

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69 thoughts on “Casual Reviews – Bloodborne

  1. Slow clap here for your endurance. I wouldn’t be able to handle Bloodborne or any of the Souls game at all. Also, I love that you and your wife play/watch games together. Reminded me of good times I spent coaching my husband through the Elder Scrolls games. I call him my personal let’s player, lol. Thanks for the great article!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hahaha! That’s awesome you took him through Elder Scrolls. That takes some endurance too. A personal lets play is a very good description of it. I think…can’t say for sure because I’ve never really played a Souls game (besides what I described)…but Bloodborne is a little newbie friendly which might be why I finished it.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I’m magical! Hahaha…but trust me…I am so grateful I could patter up behind them casually because they were destroying me…for days. But you’re right…I was walking with a bit of casual swag.

      Like

  2. That game looks intense! It’s always crazy when games that you didn’t think you would be interested in take you by surprise and swoop you in. That’s how I feel about The Division. I was kind of surprised I didn’t see a review of that game from you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha It takes me a long time to get reviews up…hence the casualness. The main issue is I’ve played a little but then packed my PS4 away cause I’m moving. Gonna have to make a post announcing that soon. Could be a bit till my next review. One of the most amazing games to catch me by surprise was Persona 4.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah I have frantically crammed as much experience into a few sittings but I have to be in the right mindset. And I have to really like the game. Haha. But yeah…I enjoy just taking it slow and casual.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It definitely makes for a better experience. My problem lies in my inherent need to complete things entirely. It makes collectibles a pain for me to deal with.

        Far Cry 4 and Grand Theft Auto V are great examples of how to not do collectibles. The Division I feel did it pretty well by giving you little breadcrumbs of interesting information to find.

        I need to pace myself better. I plan on doing a review of Quantum Break but since I have no review copy, I have to wait until the game comes out to play it. I don’t want to rush through what I’m sure is going to be a great experience in order to get a review out asap. I also don’t want to be so far behind that my review is pointless. Decisions…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Good on you for putting the effort in and actually enjoying this game. I don’t think I could do it. I see the appeal but I hate dying over and over in a game. The souls games just seem too mean.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They are very mean spirited…I think under most circumstances I wouldn’t have done it, but it was the perfect time in the universe and I became hopelessly addicted. But I agree…it’s a game you can’t force so if it’s not the time…it’s not the time.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your wife sounds awesome! I was thinking of picking this up myself, but like you, I couldn’t bring myself to delve into such a deep and punishing game and before I knew it the time had passed me by. With Dark Souls 3 just around the corner it seems silly to invest in this game now but I have a feeling I’m going to give Bloodborne a go regardless. The passion of the kill is a part of a gamer’s DNA, it seems.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gotta admit, she’s pretty awesome! And man, I would say why not get Bloodborne for cheaper right now and then once you’ve played that to death, get DS3 once it has dropped in price as well! Of course, that’s just how I, as a casual gamer operates. haha

      Liked by 1 person

      • Absolutely the best way to buy games! I’m trying (trying being the keyword here) to get up to date and remain so with gaming but I must admit, I envy your style. Great review as always SF. I look forward to the next one.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m a huge fan of Dark Souls, and it’s spirit breaking difficulty and vagueness. and I’m also insanely curious by nature. The lack of direction is what kept me going through the game.

    “Who’s that?…What’s this?…What do they want?…Where am I!?”

    This game seems to have just as much mystery and lack of (verbal) direction. The world it’s set it is very chilling and hopeless, which FromSoft is pretty brilliant at creating.

    I’m pretty confident this will get a PC release eventually, when it does, I’m grabbing this one!

    Great read as always!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love the idea of the Souls series, but for one reason or another, I could never get into it as much as I wanted. I think I’d really be into it for the experience of a game that truly doesn’t fuck around.

    Then again, I have more important things on my mind. Like masterbation, and… more masterbation. :l

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Check Out SevenFlorins’ Casual Review – Bloodborne – Falcon Reviews

  8. I have never played Bloodborne but I’m a huge fan of the Dark Souls games, and those are a pain in the butt. Glad you got through Bloodborne, I hear it’s pretty good. I love the idea of the Souls games, I had to slog my way through Dark Souls 1 and Dark Souls II, excellent games both.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s exactly how I felt with The Last of Us. I understand completely not being able to get into it. Like I said, the stars aligned for me. I don’t think I would have enjoyed it so much at other points in my gaming life.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Monday Morning Procrastination Pack #8 – QTX

  10. Really liked your review! I’ve watched Boyfriend play it (it’s tooootally his type of game) but it’s really not my thing. I like puzzles, but not of the soul-crushing type. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    • Usually they aren’t my thing either. RPGs and the like are usually for me. But this was the perfect storm that made me enjoy it. Puzzle games are good sometimes but I usually get stuck and have no idea what I’m doing.

      Like

  11. Hey, nice write up, great to see other peoples take on Bloodborne. Personally I think its a real high point of From’s games and here’s a couple of my thoughts for you;
    They’re always obscure, they know wikis and chat are available and they expect you to use them like a game manual. I view them as at their best as a semi-online game. If you only play them offline without getting invaded and co-oping you miss out on a huge amount. Its online where the personal stories start, like user created tournaments and just being part of helping others out while they’re knee deep in it, or getting some help when you get invaded, it’s those memories that stand out when looking back at playing these games, I recommend always being online, dropping a sign or summoning other players as often as possible, or invading if thats your bag…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m curious now…Everything I’ve ever read about these games tells me I wouldn’t enjoy them – mostly because I “suck” at gaming, but maybe it’s worth a shot…I do always enjoy being totally surprised by a game!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Glad you sunk your teeth (and time) into Bloodborne. Probably still the best exclusive for the PS4. I will disagree with you wholeheartedly about the lack of story however. It’s there, you just have to dig for it and when you do it’s just as satisfying to uncover as it is to triumph over any of it’s difficult bosses.

    Liked by 1 person

    • True, I feel like my wife was actually following along better than I was cause she was like…oh he’s still a little human! When I played the music box against one boss. Hahaha then she had to explain.

      Like

  14. Pingback: Casual Reviews – Dark Souls III | SevenFlorins

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