I’ve always felt a great appreciation for FromSoftware… even if I was never very good at their games. This began all the way back during the original XBox era when I played a demo for Otogi. Not only was it a beautifully atmospheric game, it was unique, boasting plenty of killing implements & spectacular creatures to try them out on. What I most appreciate is that the company seems perfectly content to make whatever sort of game they want, regardless of whether it fits the current market trend. Particularly with the Souls series, they’ve taken an approach to game design I wish more developers took: focus on your key market & make the best game you can for that purpose. Too often AAA developers try to throw in a little bit of everything popular in their titles to appeal to as broad a demographic as possible, typically resulting in a mediocre mess because they didn’t have the resources to perfecting any of them. If you try to please everyone, you please no one.
So even if I’m not entirely sure I can handle one of their games, I respect how hard they work to hone their craft in making games that fit a very specific niche.
So why, then, have I decided to try their latest “hardcore” franchise?
Well, for one, I love everything about the design of the game from what I’ve seen. I followed the news about Bloodborne since it was first announced, even when I thought there was no way I could play it. I love Lovecraftian horror & the Victorian theme of the game. The visuals, from the design of enemies to the architecture to the weapons, is very appealing to me. But what solidified me actually buying the game (or rather putting it on my Christmas list) were the changes to gameplay from the Souls series. The more aggressive-focused, dodge-based mechanics of combat are more in line with the way I tend to play games. I don’t want to say the combat seems less strategic, because there clearly is a strategy for how to approach this, but perhaps less ponderous. In any game I’ve played, I always go more for dodging than blocking, so the twitchy, adrenaline-fueled combat in Bloodborne may actually be something I can grasp a little easier.
So far, I’ve made it to the Cleric Beast (& died) so that I could start spending blood echoes & leveling up. And if I had to sum up my experience thus far in one word, it would be “stressful” followed closely by “punishing.” I don’t know if it’s just my expectations going into it that sets me on edge, but my heart races the entire time I’m playing this beast. I seriously can’t play it for very long because I’m pretty sure it’s not good for me. It’s very tense… but I don’t know if calling it hard is the right word. That’s not to say the game’s easy, but I think “punishing” is a better term. It’s Bloodborne’s rules, whether you like it or not. And by god, it’s going to beat you until you learn that. And you’ll like it. There is a method to its madness, & at least I can say that I’ve learned something with every death.
I want to chronicle my experiences with Bloodborne as I go. Not every death, because that would be too tedious, I’m sure. But highlights, & specifically my learning experiences. I want to look at this from the Everyman’s perspective. I don’t consider myself a hardcore gamer. I don’t play games to be frustrated. So can just your average gamer (someone who has plenty of experience with games but isn’t in it for the challenge necessarily) maintain their sanity in this mad, mad world?
I suppose if anyone’s up to the task, it’s someone who’s trained for years to deal with insanity in this world. But can that prepare me for the cosmic, rage-inducing horror I’m about to witness?