Bloodborne

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pjbogart
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Bloodborne

Postby pjbogart » Thu Mar 19, 2015 8:35 am

Well, the next installment of the Dark Souls series is upon us and is slated for release next Tuesday, March 24th. While not technically a Dark Souls title, the game is being produced by the makers of Dark Souls, the director of Demon's Souls and Dark Souls and has strikingly similar mechanics to previous titles, with one major exception... instead of a shield you wield a firearm in your left hand (which seems like more of a tool than a weapon).


Dark Beast

Bloodborne will be a Playstation exclusive and I just bought a PS4 and 60-inch television upgrade (Sony Bravia, 1080p, 120mhz refresh rate) in anticipation of the game. I didn't really intend to buy a new TV, but my brother finally got himself some digs to call his own and I'm going to give him my old 47-inch TV and my blu-ray player as house warming gifts.

Many of the reviewers who got advanced copies are commenting that the game is very, very difficult, more similar to the original Demon's Souls than Dark Souls or Dark Souls II. The video I've seen makes it look pretty similar, with the obvious subtraction of a shield. Still, it's a little bit disconcerting to think that the hardest game franchise currently available may get even a bit harder. Hopefully I won't break my new TV hurling controllers and other nearby objects at the screen in fits of rage.

Should you buy Bloodborne? Well, on April 7th From Software will be re-releasing Dark Souls II for the PS4 and Xbox One, so if you're looking to dip your toe into next-gen waters, perhaps starting with a known commodity would be wiser and see what people are saying about Bloodborne in a month or two. I know from personal experience that Dark Souls II can keep you mostly occupied for the better part of a year (if you like it).


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Re: Bloodborne

Postby pjbogart » Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:02 pm

I ended up in Menasha today, despite my full intentions of standing outside the West Towne Mall Best Buy in eager effort to fire up Bloodborne before noon. Life got in the way and I was not able to veg out on Bloodborne, but I was able to kill the first boss and reach the second, who I almost killed but fell in the final 20% of his health.

Impressions? Really great. Definitely a Dark Souls title. It teases you, messes with your timing. Kills you and doesn't apologize. Leaves you wondering which path you should take, even after you've tried all three of them. Hard but fair.

Happy dying.

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Re: Bloodborne

Postby donges » Wed Mar 25, 2015 12:33 pm

I sometimes wonder if I should take up gaming at this latter stage of my life.
And then I read your reviews, pj, and experience (albeit second hand) your frustration and irritation at the games you are playing and I realize I am totally happy where I am.
So thanks for helping me retain my sanity. :)

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Re: Bloodborne

Postby rabble » Wed Mar 25, 2015 2:16 pm

donges wrote:I sometimes wonder if I should take up gaming at this latter stage of my life.
And then I read your reviews, pj, and experience (albeit second hand) your frustration and irritation at the games you are playing and I realize I am totally happy where I am.
So thanks for helping me retain my sanity. :)

In case you ever consider an opinion other than PJ's, you should know there's an organization known as The Old Timer's Guild created for the purpose of giving elders who game a venue where the frustration is lessened a bit.

They have a presence in most of the major multi-player games. Bloodborne isn't on the list presumably because it's a single player game.

You still have to enjoy online gaming in general, so there's that.

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Re: Bloodborne

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Mar 25, 2015 2:35 pm

donges wrote:I sometimes wonder if I should take up gaming at this latter stage of my life.
And then I read your reviews, pj, and experience (albeit second hand) your frustration and irritation at the games you are playing and I realize I am totally happy where I am.
So thanks for helping me retain my sanity. :)

As someone who has always enjoyed video games but is too old and slow-witted to understand a lot of the modern mechanics, I hear ya. The allure of MMORPGs was strong for me and many years ago I finally took the plunge on World Of Warcraft. What I discovered was that it was designed in such a way that dumbshits like me could play it basically solo, at our own pace, and simply ignore the highest-end content geared towards people who actually know what they're doing. Instead, I focused on a single character, doing as well as I could with solo content and using the in-game achievement system to keep me interested. I occasionally ventured into multiplayer content only when my lack of skill would not be the deciding factor. I just set my own goals and played at my own pace. I eventually tired of WoW, but now I'm rockin' Marvel Heroes 2015. They haven't yet implemented an achievement system (although they claim it's coming soon), but again, I was still able to mostly just solo stuff and play when and how I chose, without ever feeling like I was missing out on too much, and I'm now at a point where I have dozens of max-level heroes. That means I can concentrate on any one particular character at a time and when I get bored, I can switch to a different one with completely different gameplay. Admittedly, the actual content is somewhat repetitive, but that lends itself well to late nights and playing while inebriated. My drunk Iron Man, in particular, is a force to be reckoned with. (I like to get into character, y'know?) I think if I was actually good at games like this, I'd be frustrated with how dumbed-down everything is for the lowest common denominator. But since I am the lowest common denominator, it works out great.

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Re: Bloodborne

Postby pjbogart » Wed Mar 25, 2015 10:51 pm

rabble wrote:Bloodborne isn't on the list presumably because it's a single player game.


The Dark Souls series, including Bloodborne are all VERY multi-player. I just spent the entire evening slogging through two boss areas with my nephew, killing them first with my character, then with his. My impression after two days is that there's little chance Bloodborne won't win the Game of the Year award. That seemed true of Dark Souls II also, though, and Dragon Age: Inquisition came out late in the year and knocked it off its perch. Bloodborne is something special, though, if you have a taste for challenge.

First off, the atmosphere is gorgeous, in a really blighted, Victorian England slum sort of way. The previews made it sound like Bloodborne was even more difficult than its predecessors, but I think it seems much easier. You're still going to die, and if you've never played a Souls game you're going to die a lot, but I've only died three times to bosses so far (I've killed four) and maybe a dozen or so times on the path to the boss. That may seem like a lot, but by Souls standards, it's pretty low for a first run. For starters healing is very fast and healing potions are pretty plentiful. There are a lot of shortcuts to unlock to make the journey to the boss much faster, but you have to survive to open the shortcuts, of course. Lastly, foes do a lot less damage so you can make mistakes and you won't be so severely punished as in previous titles. Even the bosses seem far more forgiving. But I'm kind of a veteran to the series, so you might not think so.

As for multi-player, it's vastly improved, which is probably why a lot of Souls fans are griping about it. Multi-player basically comes in two colors: PvP and co-op. The rules have changed slightly with each game, but essentially when you're on-line, you're risking the chance that you get invaded by another player who basically just wants to make an incredibly hard game even harder. They tried to cut out the griefers in Dark Souls II, somewhat successfully, but they hit a home run in Bloodborne (in my opinion, but the griefers hate it). Now you're only subject to invasions when you summon a helper. Summons can be NPC's on occasion, random nice folks that want to help, or friends who use a password to restrict who can be summoned, which is how my nephew and I were able to play together for several hours tonight. It's like plundering Skyrim dungeons with a friend, only much, much more difficult.

I understand that Dark Souls games aren't for everyone. I avoided the original game for over a year because I was told that despite it being a really great game, it was incredibly difficult and frustrating. Why would I want to subject myself to stress on my free time? But with challenge comes great satisfaction and an (arguably) false sense of accomplishment. You did it! You didn't think you'd ever be able to beat that boss, but you finally slayed the foul beast and can move on to the next area!

Bloodborne reviews have been universally glowing. Currently at a 93 on metacritic (a compilation of all reviews), it's basically the best game on the market. But only if you like to be challenged, frustrated and occasionally downright angry. I play my first run mostly with my nephew, but if anyone wants some assistance after that, or thinks they'd enjoy the game with a few hours of tutorial from a veteran, we can share up PSN info and I'll help you appreciate this beast of a game.

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Re: Bloodborne

Postby pjbogart » Wed Mar 25, 2015 11:02 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:I think if I was actually good at games like this, I'd be frustrated with how dumbed-down everything is for the lowest common denominator.


Dark Souls doesn't pander to the lowest common denominator. The developers know they could make more money by making the games easier, but they'd lose their niche status so they don't. Something tells me that you'd make an excellent Sunbro, professor. Those are the people who spend much of their time helping others beat difficult bosses. Basically, you lay down a summon sign, get sucked into another person's world and help them complete a task they've been struggling with.

Here's a short video on what it's like to play as a "Sunbro".


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Re: Bloodborne

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:53 pm

pjbogart wrote:Dark Souls doesn't pander to the lowest common denominator.
I never meant to suggest it did so I apologize if it came off that way. I was offering up the kind of MMORPGs I've played as an alternative to a game like this. My point was that I'm generally terrible at games that require as much skill as Dark Souls, but Marvel Heroes (my current time-waster) requires very little for all but the highest level content. Another plus: Marvel Heroes is completely free. You can choose to spend money on perks, quicker progress, or extra storage space, but there's no (non-decorative) content that can't be had in-game for nothing.

The Sunbro concept is great -- thanks for the vid.

rabble
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Re: Bloodborne

Postby rabble » Thu Mar 26, 2015 2:16 pm

pjbogart wrote:
rabble wrote:Bloodborne isn't on the list presumably because it's a single player game.


The Dark Souls series, including Bloodborne are all VERY multi-player.

Well then chances are good it will show up on the OTG list one of these days. :-)

Actually now that I've done a little harder search I see there's a thread on it in the "Console And FPS Based Games" section of the forums so maybe the online multi player version is still filtering through.

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Re: Bloodborne

Postby pjbogart » Thu Mar 26, 2015 10:07 pm

So I wanted to see how the PS4 makes videos so easy to make and decided to give it a go while I was practicing parrying, the art of shooting your enemy as it's about to attack, stunning it and allowing you to perform this massive counter on it. My nephew is really good at it, I mostly just overwhelm stuff with my trusty axe. It's fun and the animations are super bloody, but it seems to take some of the effort out of killing stuff so I suspect I'll use it sparingly and cheer my nephew on while he takes down foes with well-timed gunshots.

This is the first area of Bloodborne, the Central Yarnham lantern with the final shortcut (elevator) opened for the second boss, which I've already killed. The figure standing by the lantern (checkpoint) at the end is Eileen the Crow, an NPC I helped out a bit and who I've been warned not to attack because she's brutally fast and strong.

You'll notice two distinct play styles as I'm practicing: my ordinary play which is a large axe in both hands and the one I'm practicing, a smaller axe (same axe, different state) with a pistol in my left hand. Basically, in order to parry you need to shoot your enemy as its attack animation begins, staggering it and allowing you to counter. You need to time it right and I'm not that good at it, as you can see because not all of my parries are completely successful.

Anyway, here's pjbogart's first ever video game youtube video, complete with no commentary, audio or written (I might amend that).

It's me! Playing Bloodborne! (Go full screen!)

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Re: Bloodborne

Postby pjbogart » Thu Mar 26, 2015 10:36 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
pjbogart wrote:Dark Souls doesn't pander to the lowest common denominator.


I never meant to suggest it did so I apologize if it came off that way. I was offering up the kind of MMORPGs I've played as an alternative to a game like this. My point was that I'm generally terrible at games that require as much skill as Dark Souls, but Marvel Heroes (my current time-waster) requires very little for all but the highest level content. Another plus: Marvel Heroes is completely free. You can choose to spend money on perks, quicker progress, or extra storage space, but there's no (non-decorative) content that can't be had in-game for nothing.

The Sunbro concept is great -- thanks for the vid.


I didn't take it as a criticism, I was just repeating what critics, and CRITICS, have been saying for years. Why is there no "easy/medium/hard/bloodbath" settings? There aren't. There's just one setting: the game. And it's on bloodbath setting at all times. But you learn to love it. The problem is that most people get mad when they die, and a few people say, "what have I learned from that death? How can I succeed next time?" The former are the Skyrim players, the latter are the Dark Souls players. Don't get me wrong, I loved Skyrim, but after you'd leveled up a bit and managed to equip some decent armor and weapons, there was no real challenge left. Just the storyline to exhaust as quickly as you wanted to. Final boss? Meh.

Dark Souls games constantly challenge you. They're hard, but they're fair. The enemies are smarter, the mechanics are tighter and there are no "ultimate" weapons or armors. You have to fight smart all the way through. They're always immersive, inventive, and horrifying, and they boast a learning curve that most people simply aren't willing to tolerate. And that's ok. It's a niche game, but a niche game you'd be glad you bothered to conquer.

Obviously, I love Dark Souls games so I was bound to love Bloodborne. And I do. More and more each time I play it. I logged on after the Wisconsin game and pushed my way towards through a new area that was open to me. I died quite a ways in with 28k "blood echoes" (xp). If I die on my way back tomorrow morning or evening, I'll lose them forever (and 28k is about two levels of xp). But that's ok. I'm used to dying.

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Re: Bloodborne

Postby pjbogart » Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:59 pm

Meh, I beat Bloodborne already. Awesome game but surprisingly short. I got to the final boss but I didn't kill it because I'd like to explore the levels and see what I might have missed, but I'm mostly done. Visually, it's the best of the series, game-play wise, not so much. Too short and too easy. I'm not sure if anyone else is playing, but I don't mean to sound like a braggart when I say that I died a GRAND TOTAL of four times to bosses in my entire playthrough. That's not Dark Souls. Granted, some Dark Souls bosses aren't all that challenging, but to complete an entire game with 20 or so deaths and only four to bosses is pretty ridiculous.

I guess that's good news for the casuals. You can enjoy this game and not suffer the endless frustration posed by previous installments. But to a veteran it's really disappointing. Where were the bosses that took an hour to get to and three days to conquer? Granted, I've got a lot of experience under my belt but FOUR DEATHS TO BOSSES IN THE ENTIRE GAME? Oh yeah, I still have to beat the final boss and the (optional) REAL final boss, but I'm less than worried. I might die once or twice. Maybe. But probably not.

If you've got a PS4 and want to say that you beat a Dark Souls game, this is your chance. If you want to really be challenged and have a game that takes you two or three months to beat, wait until April 7th and buy Dark Souls II for the PS4 and Xbone.

You won't be disappointed in Bloodborne. It's beautiful and challenging (and you'll die more than four times to bosses), but it's something less than Dark Souls. And that's a good thing or bad thing depending on your perspective.

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Re: Bloodborne

Postby pjbogart » Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:20 pm

I made a boss video... pjbogart fighting the Amygdala completely blind. I hadn't read any guides or watched any videos, I just charged in and slay the foul beast. If you watch its health bar and mine, you can see that it takes me a few minutes to get a strategy down. Stay under it, whack away at its legs and tail.

The fight ended up being way longer than it needed to be (largely because I had no idea what to expect heading in). Skip to the halfway point to see a more efficient pj. I suppose this supports my complaints about the relative easiness of Bloodborne compareed to previous Dark Souls titles. No way would I have survived this fight in an earlier installment.


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Re: Bloodborne

Postby pjbogart » Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:51 pm

So I stuck a knife in Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin tonight. All achievements, platinum trophy. Left Bloodborne to play more DS2, and I guess that says something.

If anyone is wondering which game to buy, I'd go with Dark Souls 2. Both great games and very much worth playing, but Bloodborne is mostly eye candy compared to Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2.

Unless you want something easier. In that case, go with Bloodborne.

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Re: Bloodborne

Postby pjbogart » Wed Nov 25, 2015 1:10 am

It's official. FROM Software has finally jumped the shark. To the average gamer, they jumped the shark years ago with Demon's Souls, but they've filled an important niche for masochistic gamers since then and have been tolerated, and even admired, as one of the few game companies still making difficult games for adults.

But the release today of Bloodborne's expansion, "The Old Hunters" has been met with familiar praise and resignation. "Great game, but there's no way I'd ever finish it". And I always thought that was an unfortunate attitude (though flattering to the niche gamers who crave difficult games). Until now. Now I understand it.

No matter how much you hear about the greatness of Bloodborne and its expansion, I can assure you that this expansion is only for the absolutely most hardcore gamers on the planet. Bloodborne received a bit of flack from the fanboys because it was too easy (compared to Dark Souls), a claim scoffed at by reviewers who praised the game but resigned themselves to never finishing due to its difficulty. The expansion is easily the most difficult gameplay of all four games and their DLCs combined. It's brutal. If you sat and ranked the entire series by areas, perhaps only the challenge areas of Dark Souls 2 would compare, and the challenge areas were relatively short and intended to be... challenging. Casual gamers weren't expected to finish them... they were intended for the veterans. The Old Hunters plays front to finish like those challenge areas.

Anyway, if you finished Bloodborne and found it difficult, you'll probably want to skip the DLC, "The Old Hunters". Because Bloodborne was easy. The Old Hunters is ridiculously hard. And intended to be so.

Here's a video from a pretty talented Dark Souls veteran, the boss fight starts at around 17 minutes, and doesn't go as planned.



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