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What Are You Currently Playing? Bloodborne Edition

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#4381 Ocelot


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Posted 20 June 2019 - 04:56 AM

Oh, hey guys. Didn't see you there. Hm? Me? Oh, nothing, just finished a little game by the name of... Bloodborne!


Remember when I said I got it earlier? Well, I now know that I didn't get it back then, but now? I get it. I didn't just finish Bloodborne, I explored every optional area, beat every optional boss, learnt how to use all the save data utilities on my PS4 so I could back up an endgame save to a USB drive and see all three endings, and now I'm thinking really hard about going for the Platinum Trophy.


I had some problems with Bloodborne's Blood Vial system at the start, where healing items are a limited consumable item that do not replenish when you spawn back at the bonfire. It reminded me of the Nintendo platformers that insist on giving you a limited pool of Lives, and then every time you die your Life counter comes up and ticks down by one, with the implication being that you'd better start getting better at the game real quick because if you run out of these things, who knows what will happen. I hate it. I honestly think that's the reason I just can't play those games; I just find that Life counter ticking down to be so stressful. But Bloodborne's system kind of sorted itself out over time, and around the middle of the game I realised that by playing a little conservatively I'd built up such a stock of spare Blood Vials that I never once had to actually farm for them. In fact, I kind of over-corrected on the game's entire difficulty curve, and eventually it became clear that I had over-leveled my character and was smoking endgame bosses in just a couple of attempts. Oh well, something to keep in mind for the next playthrough :P


The Sekiroulsborne series gets so much effusive praise that I suppose it's easy to just tune it out, and all the gatekeeping, "git gud, an Easy mode would ruin everything" rubbish is so obnoxious that you want to tune it out, but they really are some pretty special games. I really liked Sekiro, I really liked Bloodborne, and now it's become clear that I'm going to have to play every single one of these bad boys so I'm going to go back and restart Dark Souls 1 when I can tear myself away from BB. I don't think they're going to be all-time favourites for me, since they still do a lot of stuff I'm not really crazy about. I like my games to have a story, and the Souls approach of having snippets of lore strewn about at random that might piece together into something semi-coherent (if you gather it all into a wiki and make some guesses) doesn't do it for me at all. I like quests you can follow without having to use a guide to even find them, and I like a little more of a driving impetus than "Well, I explored the whole level and found a boss, and if it's there I suppose I should probably kill it...?". I honestly have absolutely no idea why I did any of the things I did in Bloodborne. I'm pretty sure I went and hunted down all the safeguards that protect the world from an evil beast that lives inside the moon. y tho?


Anyway, I'll look up some story explanation videos down the line, but I'm really in it for the gameplay. From Software's approach to level design is second to none, and their combat ain't half bad neither, and exploring all these meaty levels and killing all the horrible beasts that live in them is more than enough to keep me interested. I'm going to start delving into Bloodborne's Chalice Dungeons now, and I still haven't touched the DLC yet, and then once I can tear myself away from this bad boy I have three entire Dark Souls games to play. And then Elden Ring!


I leave you with this live performance of some Bloodborne music, which is still one of the chill-down-my-spine-iest things I've ever seen:


#4382 Nightstalker


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Posted 21 June 2019 - 03:10 AM

While I usually don't find myself posting here ever, I'll just say enjoy the Dark Souls series! Truth be told, they aren't as hard as anyone makes them out to be.

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#4383 Ocelot


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Posted Yesterday, 03:39 AM

While I usually don't find myself posting here ever, I'll just say enjoy the Dark Souls series! Truth be told, they aren't as hard as anyone makes them out to be.


Oh, I don't know about that. I tend to think they're pretty much exactly as hard as people make them out to be. I'm playing through the Bloodborne DLC right now with my character that was comfortably overlevelled by the end of the main game, and the last few DLC bosses are absolutely stomping me flat. The last few regular enemies, too, for that matter. There's this big bipedal sharky boi who lives in the eldritch fishing hamlet full of Lovecraft fish people who is just an absolute nightmare, and to unlock one of the last weapons I need I have to fight two of them at once.


But, for the most part, it's a kind of difficulty you can learn how to deal with, and once you go through the absolutely brutal crucible that is getting used to how these games work, they aren't quite so intimidating any more. You learn to spot the obvious traps (like when a little scuttling loot demon runs through a doorway begging you to chase it into a suspiciously empty room, you just know it's bad news in there), and you really internalise the lesson that everything in the game can kill you if you let your guard down, and eventually you realise that you're no longer dying dying dying every five minutes like you were at the start of the game and you're actually having a pretty good time.




Some of it still feels a little too punishing, though, particularly that handsome woman up there^. She's called a Winter Lantern, and she slowly wanders around the nightmare castle that serves as the main game's final level. When she hears or sees you she snaps to attention, starts glowing a warm orange, and inflicts you with a status called Frenzy which, to put it simply... kills you. Unlike your standard status afflictions like Poison, which merely makes your health drop slowly, Frenzy just instantly wipes out about 90% of your health bar, and if you don't do something about it immediately you just die. But, even then, you can do something about it. You can sneak up behind Winter Lanterns and kill them before they spot you, and there is an item that can counteract the effects of Frenzy if you pop it quickly enough, and if all else fails you can just top your health up to maximum before Frenzy hits, kill the Winter Lantern without taking any damage, let Frenzy get you and wipe out 90% of your health and then just heal back up again. It's an agonizing waste of resources and really brutal enemy design, but, y'know, that's Souls for you.


So, I'm still thinking I might go for this Platinum Trophy in Bloodborne. I just have to finish the DLC, go into New Game + to pick up the last weapon I'm missing (from a quest that didn't trigger properly in my first playthrough), and then I'll have nothing left but... the most difficult and time-consuming Trophy of all, which requires you to blow through like seven dungeons full of stronger versions of all the main game's bosses. Oh and one of those dungeons curses you with half your normal health bar. And it's all balanced for endgame character builds, so my big boi overlevelling won't help me. Oh well, I'm still not sick of the game yet, so I'm at least going to try it.


EDIT - OK, kiddoes, I think we're doing this. I think it might be happening. I beat the Bloodborne DLC today, which I really enjoyed. Three really nicely-designed levels full of horrible monsters to explore, five great bosses to bang my head against, and probably a story in there somewhere for the people who like to go looking for that kind of thing (it's all Greek to me, though :P). Now I just have one more Trophy, and I'm already making progress towards it. The Chalice Dungeons in these games are three to four semi-randomly-generated floors where you first have to look for a lever that opens a door, and then go through that door to fight a boss and unlock the elevator to the next floor down. If you're playing properly you'll be diligently exploring every last nook and cranny to kill every monster and find all the loot, but you don't have to. You can just blaze through all the levels at a hundred miles an hour, taking turns at random until you find the big purple lever that unlocks the boss gate, and basically turn the dungeon into a boss rush with some light racing in between.


This strategy is serving me well now that I'm in the Defiled Chalice Dungeon, where my health is cut in half and which I have to beat to unlock the final dungeon where Queen Yarnham awaits. Unfortunately, there's no way to cheese the bossfights themselves, which are pretty brutal with half a health bar. I've beaten the first of three (a fire boi) in this hellhole and now I'm steadily working out the second (a fire doggo). He's reasonably predictable, but he has at least three attacks that are tricky to dodge and can basically one-shot me, so it might take a while. But once he's done there's only one more half-health bossfight, and then three more bosses in the final dungeon (but I'll be back to full health for those), and then we're done with Bloodborne, boyeee!

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