So I Played Bloodborne...

So I played Bloodborne.

This is no big deal. Plenty of people have played Bloodborne. If you went to the EB Expo you might have played Bloodborne. If you were part of the game's recent Alpha test you would have also played Bloodborne.

My point being: many people have played Bloodborne.

I played Bloodborne next to a person who worked for Sony. Someone who had played almost all of Bloodborne. That's a slightly bigger deal. The most interesting part:

"Bloodborne is my first RPG. I never played Dark Souls or Dark Souls II."

I didn't know people like that still existed. This guy was a special case.

It was interesting playing Bloodborne next to a person who had, a) played a lot of Bloodborne and b) had never played Dark Souls before. Very interesting. In a weird way it felt like a case study, like a weird anthropological experiment. Like a lost tribe deep in the Amazon rainforest. They treat the technology we take for granted like a weird type of magic. An iPhone might as well be a magic wand. The From Software pace, combat world building, the lore -- all of it. That magic we all know and sort of take for granted; to him it was fantastically new.

His enthusiasm -- dear God this is going to sound patronising -- was almost charming.

"Man, this game is really good. I don't know why but it's really addictive."

Yeah, no shit. As anyone who has played a From Software game before, these games are ridiculously compelling.

"It's so hard. You keep dying, but you keep wanting to give it another go. It's so weird."

As I played Bloodborne, slipping into those familiar shoes, the Sony employee would drop these little gems. As I re-familiarised myself with the pacing, with the difficulty, with the tweaks to the core we all know and love, I was being peppered by the words of someone who was completely unaware he was repeating the words we all giddily shared years ago. Expressing the feelings we all communally understood.

Yes, From Software games are hard. Yes, From Software games are rewarding. Yes, From Software games are compelling.

It's strange. In any other setting this sort of thing might have felt a little irritating, but in this context it was comforting.

It told me that Bloodborne may be different; its universe may be new and its combat may have re-invented itself, but some things never change. This guy, he'd never played Dark Souls or Demons Souls. This was his first RPG ever, and here he was parroting the same old jibberish we've been jabbering since we first discovered these crushingly rewarding video games. It was reassuring. Perhaps even more reassuring than my own, completely biased opinion of what I had just played. Of course I was going to love Bloodborne. I'd love Bloodborne if it was nothing more than a Victorian reskin of Dark Souls. I'd have been happy with that. I'd have been ecstatic with that. I'd probably love Bloodborne even if it was a bit rubbish.

So I played Bloodborne.

But what is my opinion worth really?

I enjoyed it. Of course I did. That's about as predictable as rain in Melbourne. The changes to the combat? They were interesting. The lack of a shield changes things. It forces you to play a little more aggressively, but more importantly it subverts the rhythm of the combat in an interesting way. It's good. The universe? It appears as well-developed and well thought out as any game Miyazaki's ever touched, but how can anyone be sure at this stage…

Maybe the only person who really knows what Bloodborne is really worth is this naive person sitting next to me, with his running commentary.

"So you reckon I should play Dark Souls then?"

Yes. I reckon you should.

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Comments

    Have the animations improved since the 18 minute gameplay video came out? In that clip the character just doesn't look right and doesn't look like he connects on attacks or is climbing ladders properly.

    “Bloodborne is my first RPG. I never played Dark Souls or Dark Souls II.”

    I didn’t know people like that still existed. This guy was a special case.

    I haven't played the Dark/Demons Souls games, and I don't plan to, to be honest. I AM thinking of picking up Bloodborne, although possibly not for a couple of months at least as I have a backlog of games to get through as it is.

    However, it would most definitely not be my first RPG. That title belongs to Mystic Quest on the SNES.

      ^ this is also me

        Also me, although I did get the platinum in Demon's Souls. I've got Dark Souls in my pile of shame at the moment.

      +1 for mystic quest, the game with the, in my book, most underrated soundtrack in gaming history. Also my first RPG too.

        It had a great soundtrack, yeah.

        And I admit, the game itself wasn't that good, more like a RPG/Final Fantasy for dummies. As my first video game RPG though, it was probably an ideal introduction to the genre, and opened the path for me to eventually play the real Final Fantasy games, Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger...there were not many SNES-era RPG's I didn't end up playing.

          It was exactly how it was marketed. Squaresoft wanted to bring Final Fantasy to the west but they thought the game would be too complicated, have poor sales and whatnot. Final Fantasy Mystic Quest was released as Mystic Quest Legend or Final Fantasy US depending on who you asked as a toe in the water to a market they had not yet cracked. It was a bit hit and miss but it opened the door to the rest of the series

            Faxanadu on the bed would've been my first Rpg

            Faxanadu on the nes would've been my first Rpg... Sorry for posting twice, damn spell check

      Why don't you want to try out the earlier titles, if I may ask?

        Mostly due to the timesink I know they will be. I'm also not that much of a sucker for punishment. I have however recently purchased a PS4 (mostly for Mortal Kombat X next month) so I'm looking at Bloodborne mostly due to the fact that there's not much else good that's available for it right now.

          Actually, I'd say that difficulty of this series is way overstated. A year or two ago, there's not one game I'd play with no cheats on, and I felt like I was becoming more and more like a really bad gamer that shouldn't play games at all because short of infinite HP, I'd use a cheat code for a game all the way through. So I played Dark Souls, and I died. 400+ times to be exact(though that's not exact), but still, I didn't find it difficult, just challenging. The game rewards you for persevering and powering through seemingly insurmountable odds, though it is not unfair. In fact, I'd say that only one section of the game is ridiculous(let's just say dogs are involved) that when I finished the game, it was one of the best gaming experiences I've ever had as I really felt like I've gone through a different place, faced almost impossible challenges, and in the end, I was able to beat it. This cheating bastard, has once again, loved video games.

          I guess that was incoherent, bottom line is if you finish and enjoy Bloodborne, please, do yourself a favor and play the first three titles. Three of the finest games I've ever had the pleasure of playing in my life. As for them being huge timesinks, it wouldn't matter anyway because every moment with these games is worth it.

            I didn't mind the dogs in Lower Undead Burg (the dogs in Blightown were worse) but the archers in Anor Londo - woo boy thank goodness for poison arrows and the ring of fog is all I can say

              Those archers were an effing B every time man. Beat that game atleast 5 times And those damn archerd got me every time. Never thought to use the ring of fog lol.

              I meant the boss battle with the two dogs. You know that one. Enter fog gate, boss is already halfway through the air with its weapon in collision course to your head, with it shouting "Surprise motherbuzzer!"

      Think my first RPG was Secret of Mana

        Mine was Pool of Radiance (1988) or possibly The Bard's Tale (1985) although I didn't really get to play that much of it due to it belonging to a friend's older brother. My favourite early RPG was Eye of the Beholder (1991).

      Yep never played dark/demon souls either, lived in melbourne couple months now, has rained maybe twice that i remember.

        haha, yeah I love it when Sydneysiders claim that Melbourne is the c ity with all the rain

      in a few month the community will just crush you you willl literally have to play offline just to be able to play with these games you have to really be there day one otherwise you will be crushed by vets like me XD

    I've preordered Bloodborne weeks ago, and now that we're on the last week this game has disrupted my life. I've called my local retailer a couple of times asking if the game has already arrived, even though they kept telling me to wait for the 24th. I've registered to a number of forums and joined into discussions about the game. I'm buying a PS4 for this thing, and I'm really poor. Please, don't be a disappointment.

      I think another way to look at the article, is that Mark focused the article on someone playing the game for the first time and not really focusing on Bloodborne too much at all.

      The assumption then is that Bloodborne, whilst different... isn't a huge departure from Demon/Dark Souls games, so then if you have enjoyed a Demon/Dark Souls game, then you are going to enjoy this game too.

      Obviously, Mark possibly only had a few hours with the game, but I'm sure if he found something that he didn't really like or found disappointing, he would have mentioned it in the article.

        Oh, I had no problem with Mark's article, in fact I think it's quite awesome that his impressions are good. I just went off into a tangent on how this game, with all the hype surrounding it, with all the great non-spoilery impressions of the lucky few that are already playing it, that Edge article, that with all these great impressions, this game should in no form be a disappointment. Doubly so because I'm spending all the money I've saved for it and the PS4.

      The most important question is have you played/liked Demon's Souls or Dark Souls? If not, be aware that there are people for whom these games just didn't click. Those who love the games tend to really *love* them (evidenced by Mark) and they are understandably hyped by Bloodborne, which promises a certain level of similarity in gameplay. I hope you like the game :-) I'll be picking it up at some stage too.

        I consider myself a Souls fan, beaten Dark Souls: Prepared to Die Edition, Dark Souls II and All the Kings, and Demon's Souls, in that order. That's why this is the most excited I've ever been for a new game, crazy enough about it to preorder the game even though I still don't have the console, crazy enough about it to buy the console the day I get the game.

          I bought ps4 a few months ago in anticipation of this game. I played dragon age and dying light on my ps4 a little bit but have gone right back to ds2. Its sooooo addicting and the whole series is a masterpiece. I havent enjoyed video games this much since ff7.

          That's not crazy, you're just excited (and understandably so!) I bought a second PS Vita just so I could create a US account and buy Monster Monpiece (not released in Australia) and not have to muck around with factory resets and swapping memory cards.

            Oh yeah, I heard swapping Vita accounts is a pain. I guess it's crazy even to me because this is the first time I saved up money and this is the most money I'll ever drop for something in one go.

      think demon souls but more hardcore demon souls was a differnt animal compared to dk 1 n 2 the community was the real boss you had to face ive invaded ppl and used soul sucker and completely taken them back to soul level 1 :P

      When it's released, you should pop into Talk Amongst Yourselves because guaranteed there will be copious amounts of Bloodborne talk as we all discover it together. Actually, pop into TAY before then...@shane does a countdown to Bloodborne every day, and links to all the articles he finds about it. :D

        Is TAY a daily thing, and when does it usually go up? Yeah I joined a ton of forums in anticipation of this game, wouldn't mind joining the discussion here too.

          Every morning at 8:30am Sydney time a link to the current TAY will be reposted on the main Kotaku page. Each TAY starts fresh on Monday, and lasts until the next Monday morning, where a new one will go up again. Best way to start joining in is to go straight to the last page of the current TAY because it can get pretty long. :D

            I did not know that it's the same thread reposted all through the week, thanks for the information!

    How does the fighting feel? Based on the videos I watched it seemed a bit like Devil May Cry.

    Devil May Cry?.....
    no, it feels like Dark Souls, only you hit for health; there is less shields and there's some tweaks to the regular controls for speedier combat in some cases.
    Also you parry with gunfire, there are guns etc.

    @markserrels I've never played a souls game either, although I do own the Demons Souls collectors edition...

    I devoured Dark Souls, relishing every moment over 130 hours.

    Bloodborne terrifies me for some reason though. Can't wait.

    I bought the US version of Demon's Souls before it made it to Australia, just based on forum comments and loved it to death despite the tricky learning curve.

    I've played through Dark Souls and Dark Souls II, but strangely haven't gotten into the DS2 DLC despite buying it.

    and I will be all over Bloodborne. I've only watched some footage but didn't want to spoil myself too much, and I got into the Alpha but forgot to play it... 1 Week to go!

    Last edited 18/03/15 2:47 pm

      Haha i did this too! had it months before any of my friends did :P im so hip :)

      The DLCs for Dark Souls II are some if not the best areas in the game. Except maybe for Ivory King, that was when they flew off the rails.

        The first pack I got part way through, then I tried the other ones but it was like my leveled up character was brand new and weak again versus the new baddies.

        I'll go back to it at some point but only after Bloodborne.

          You're preaching to the choir. I blitzed to the main game with my powerful magician that it felt so much like cheating, that when I booted Crown of the Sunken King, I was so surprised that every magic in the game was nerfed to the point that it's all but useless in the DLCs. In fact, my most used spell on all three DLCs, the spell that I love the most now is "Yearn", and I wished I had more copies of that. Cast that thing, see the enemies attack the air, and go sweep in and backstab them to death.

          If you're playing as a melee character though, I would have assumed the DLCs wouldn't be that hard for you especially if you invested in VIT. Since I invested all my points to INT and FAI, what was a glass cannon in the main game, was now just glass in the DLCs, but I powered through. You should get back to them, they're honestly great, I think that's a unanimous thought amongst those who played it. Except for Ivory King, that one's ridiculous.

          Last edited 19/03/15 12:45 pm

            I was relying pretty heavily on magic so that's my problem.

            I'll have to inch my way through but by bit.

              So we've played the main game the same way. I recommend getting the Moonlight Greatsword by using a Bonfire Ascetic on Tseldora Cove and beating that giant spider, as it scales really well with INT. Also, I suggest you add "Yearn" to your arsenal, so that the adjustment to melee would at least be cozied up somehow. You'll manage, and you'll even feel that you're better with the game once you're done with it. After the DLCs, I played a pure FAI build in Demon's Souls thinking there are lightning bolts in this game but fifteen hours in and nothing in sight, I went to a Wiki and learned that there's only one offensive miracle in the game, it isn't a projectile, and you will probably be only able to cast it once as it's the highest miracle you could ontain. Still, thanks to my experience with the DLCs, I beat the game fine with a pure melee FAI build, and it was the fastest Souls game I played.

    "as predictable as rain in Melbourne" - sounds like you're not from Melbourne #fourseasonsin1day

    Can someone answer this question: if I didn't like The Witcher, will I dislike Demon/Dark Souls/Bloodborne? I kinda get the impression they're similiar.

      They're entirely different - but what didn't you like about The Witcher?

      In terms of combat, the Souls games have an excellent combat system that rewards awareness and patience. The Witcher was a bit janky and was about inventory management and click timing.

      Souls games are dripping with atmosphere while hardly speaking a word, and don't have a quest system in any normal sense, whereas The Witcher was more traditional RPG like.

        I dunno, the Witcher seemed "finnicky". It felt convoluted without providing any real depth as far as I got in to it.

        Relevant XKCD to explain my point:

        http://xkcd.com/483/

      Well, all I can say is I love Dark Souls like my own first born child (easy to say considering 20 years ago I made a conscious, very deliberate decision not to have any) and I got half way through Witcher 2, got the shits with it and quit.

      Quit in a way that I knew meant never coming back, and probably not playing Witcher 3 either.

      Short answer, I don’t think they are the same at all and you can easily love one and not the other..

      I played the first Witcher title and the combat while interesting was ultimately simplistic, not to mention pretty dull. I heard the second one fixed this.

      Still, they're really different though. The Witcher series is plot-heavy. Think of the Souls games as 3D Castlevanias. Dark Souls is the 3D Metroidvania dream, realized.

      PS: I liked The Witcher by the end of the game but with Dark Souls I loved it all the way through.

    I've tried both Dark Souls 1 and 2, tried to like them and buy into them, but I just don't like. Combat feels sluggish, stats/levelling etc seem needlessly convoluted, graphics are, well, shit.

    I just can't be bothered.

      Sluggish combat? Not a complaint I've really ever seen leveled at the Souls games... And there's a difference between 'sluggish combat' and using heavier, slower weapons. Or wearing heavy armour that slows you down and forces you to change your combat approach.

      For me they've got tight controls and combat feels necessarily weighty. So a hit feels like a hit, etc. It has never felt like anything I would describe as sluggish though, as that to me implies slower and/or potentially imprecise control.

      Fair enough for just not being bothered though... Honestly I think they are the type of games that will either hold someone's attention straight away, or not at all.

      Last edited 18/03/15 7:00 pm

        I agree with most of your points, but the last one is something we've discussed in TAY quite a bit, and we've decided the opposite.

        Souls games are a slog to get into, until you have a moment when everything clicks, and you realise just how goddamn good the game is. I didn't get my Demon's Souls moment until I'd invested almost twenty hours into two playthroughs. Then I accidentally aggroed a blue-eyed knight, and took him down in melee combat. That was my moment, and I became obsessed.

        Needed the same thing in Dark Souls, too, surprisingly. Took me several hours of grinding in the Undead Burg before I had my moment there.

      @timon repectfully: you must be a fan of devil may cry and call of duty; this game is not hack and slash or first person shooter. And who cares about graphics? You must also love Avatar if all you care about is graphics (that movie was one of the worst; it was Ferngully on steroids but i digress... lol). The artwork in these games are awesome! The level up system, weapon diversity, and class customization are top notch and allow for multiple playthroughs and high replayability. Do you really want a game that gives you everything at once?

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