I wonder if there will be new DLC with all of these findings. Either that or just From is just trolling.
Those have been in the game since the start so I highly doubt it
I refuse to count the Dark Souls Remaster as a new game
Brief thoughts on Nioh
It’s fine but has more in common with the Devil May Cries and Ninja Gaiden’s of the world then the Souls games
Longer thoughts on Nioh
It obviously takes a lot of cues from the Souls games but everything it tries to do like the Souls series it does no where near as well aside from some of the combat cues it takes. The levels are clearly an attempt at Souls style looping design but falls flat almost every time with no real intent ever coming across the way it does in a Tower Of Latria or Undead Burg, instead they’re just perfectly fine video game levels but still a step back. The big issue is that if you do get stuck you can’t leave a level without having to start the whole thing over as it’s not all connected like the Souls games and follows a DMC style level to level approach, which better suits the end game loot grind but adds to the arbitrary difficulty feeling that a lot of the game has
The plot of the game is extremely bad but not to my memory especially offensive (aside from the damsel in distress aspect) in any real way so whatever could be worse and there’s a scene skip. Though I do recall thinking at a few points that if this game was made any where other than Japan it would be super offensive in spots but it was made in Japan so whatever I’m not going to delve into that
On the RPG side it really misunderstands what makes the stat system in Souls work (and even then it is something of a weak spot there) and instead gives you a bunch of stats that don’t make a lot of sense and all of which work with different weapon types and doesn’t offer anything in the way of a sense of progress and like so much else in this game it feels unnecessary. Largely due to how it stops mattering later in the game like a good chunk of the rest of the design. In a Souls game it lets you decide which weapons you want to use and forces you to focus on them, which falters for new players in that you don’t know what you want and have no real idea of what’s coming often forcing you to restart midway through the game. It also allows for you to grind out a few points of HP or whatever your attack stat is which at least in theory makes the player stop and think about they approach things, in Nioh it feels wildly unnecessary with the randomly generated gear not really having set stat requirements or benefits. It also adds a skill tree to unlock combos which could maybe work but is so poorly presented that it’s just a pain in the ass to deal with and locks useful tools behind predetermined missions which may help new players not get overwhelmed were it not for literally everything else about the game and limits people who already know what they’re doing in ways that make starting the game a major chore
What would ultimately benefit the game is ripping off another popular action game and taking a few cues from how Monster Hunter handles player advancement and tie it to the loot you find which would also help the loot feel more useful than it does. As it stands the loot is a bit overwhelming and tends to make all the weapons in any given class feel exactly the same and the armor stats don’t fair much better. What’s worse is by the time you can really do anything with the loot the games difficulty tanks and there’s just not much reason to do anything other than equipping whatever has the most green arrows on it. This does change later on after you beat the game but much like Dark Souls 2 Nioh is about 30 hours too damn long at about 60 hours to beat it. And this is as someone who has played a crap ton of Souls and a fair bit of DMC style games and before the DLC was even out. Though I assume the DLC which takes place after the main game as I understand it would still function the same as the post game did so maybe the DLC actually helps on that front
Finally the combat and bosses. The bosses are honestly a bit hit or miss with some stand outs and some real bad ones but average out to meh so I don’t really have much to say. The combat is wildly over complicated for a Souls game and also a smart evolution of the character action genre that takes some smart cues from the Souls games and shows how stopping to rethink the basic moment to moment interaction of. The best way to show of what I mean here is to talk about how it fails as a Souls game. For the most part a fight in a souls game comes down to two things: 1: Where is the enemy and can you safely hit them? And if not how can you best get to that point? 2: Where is your health and can you safely heal? There’s often more to it than that but that’s the basics once you get the dodge and such down. In Nioh here’s what you have to deal with: 1 & 2 are largely the same, 3: adds in “Is my gear even good enough?” which can come up in a Dark Souls but is much less likely to 4: which special attack should I be using right now and what is the input for it? 5: Should I be using my super move right now? 6: Is it worth having to restart the whole level to just grind out better gear (no it’s not but that’s another issue)? The combat starts out very Souls like in the first few levels with a focus on the stamina bar and positioning but the way stamina works means once you get good the the Ki pulse mechanic you no longer really need to worry about it and from there it’s more or less just a pure character action game on hard mode albeit a pretty good one. Which I suspect is a lot of the reason you hear the combat called an evolution of the souls formula. It takes a tried and true format and slaps a new coat of trendy paint on it and doesn’t really ask you to look any deeper at it beyond it being real hard. Which it is, excessively so really, it tosses far too many dudes at you at once and expects you to be able to handle it much too early and dose nothing to give you the tools you need to overcome what it throws at you. All in all the combat is really good but if you’re looking for Dark Souls with loot this isn’t it
There’s something sad about the fact that in the Samurai Souls game you still play as White Dude McGruff and can’t really change it aside from some basic skins you can unlock that don’t show off your armor
I expected this game to be way more sexist given its made by Team Ninja but aside from one or two bosses it’s fairly classy which I assume is due to my next point:
This game is apparently based on an unproduced script by Akira Kurosawa which makes this game the only thing by him I have ever personally seen/played. Whoops
I sound pretty down on this game but on the whole I still quite like it and would probably recommend it over Dark Souls II by a thin margin. But I do think someone needs to hack off a few systems to really get it to sing
First some quick context/trigger warnings for things like basic horror tropes around mental illness, lots of still birth imagery, a handful of sexual assault related moments, violence towards animals, and really a ton of related things. And fair warning all but the most egregious examples will not be put in spoiler tags or the like as the whole game really is based around a lot of these themes
Oh where to begin. In a medium with exceedingly few masterpieces Bloodborne is one of a handful. The others being Shadow Of The Colossus and, others. I’m sure they exist. Bloodborne is an as close to perfect a marriage of theme and gameplay as you are likely to ever find almost in spite of itself. And it manages to do Cosmic Horror without being staggeringly racist! Which is nice! Still a bit racist though there’s literally no POC in this game aside from one character in the DLC. Unless you want to be generous and assume that the one person who is fully draped in armor and clothe is black because her actress is. It does have a few issues in regards to it’s handling of sex workers and women in general but unlike Dark Souls II has enough variety of roles for women that it never feels like it’s trying to make a statement instead largely stumbling into the same dull tropes everything does, but we’ll take a closer look at that when we get there
You start off by watching a creepy man in a top hat make you sign a contract which turns out to be the character creation menu. It’s more or less the same as every game in the series but the face selector seems to not be effected by what gender you select which is strange. For starting class I went Waste Of Skin as it’s the class that starts at the lowest level and works fine for the STR/ARCANE build I am going for. After that a cutscene plays where a semi skinless werewolf crawls out of a pool of blood to maul you and is stopped by a fireball out of no where and then horrifying nightmare babies called messengers climb over you and you pass out and it’s A Lot. What’s going on here is you have just received blood ministration to cure some ill you had/have which you came to the city of Yharnam known for the Church Of Healing. Now, you may be thinking “Wait, didn’t that werewolf crawl out of a pool of blood” and yes, it did and you have already figured out more of that plot of the game than I did my first time through. After this You start playing the game. You wake up on a table and make your way out of the room having long sense been left alone in there and make your out of the room and into that main hallway with a bunch of gurneys and another werewolf eating someone. Now unlike the other Souls games you do not start out with gear so if you want to kill this werewolf you have to Punch it to death which is doable as it only has half health and does not have the full moveset that werewolves have. I however did not kill it which brings me to:
The Hunters Dream
This is the hub area of the game. Here you’ll level up, though not yet, upgrade weapons, equip runes AKA rings, install bloodgems into your gear because they thought this game needed a bit of Diablo style loot in a rather half baked system, do some shopping, wonder if this is how Oxford comma’s are used, and talk to a creepy old dude in a wheel chair. For now the main things you are here for is to grab your first weapon, from which you chose from Charmander, Squrtle and Bulbasaur. Or The Saw Cleaver, Hunter’s Axe, or Threaded Cane a walking cane that is both a sword and a whip and is the greatest weapon ever designed. I went with the Hunter’s Axe as it better suits the build I am going for and I’ve gone with the cane the last six times I have played it You’ll also get your first gun which is equipped in the left hand instead of a shield or second weapon or such and is used almost exclusively to parry in the game with the damage being pretty low. It’s worth noting that of the two guns you can chose the pistol is the all around best choice but the Blunderbuss is fine as well and better at dealing with groups though I have found that’s better dealt with by just using your main weapon. The only other thing you can do here right now is notice and examine the Odd Doll who is the Maiden In Black equivalent for the game (and played by the same actress no less), look around for the games tutorial messages, and maybe buy some blood vials but we will get to that
After that you now have a weapon and thus the power to kill that werewolf! It dies in like two hits it was half dead already my not being able to kill without a weapon did not bode well for how this first part of the game was going to go. After that you find yourself in Yharnam proper and in what is for my money the best level in the game if not the series. Now the first thing you come out to see is that for some reason there’s a graveyard right outside this clinic you were in. This would be weird but Yharnam is like 90% gravestone by metric volume so you’ll get used to that pretty quick. It’s not too long after this that you find your first normal enemies and the dreg equivalent for the game the Dude What Has Very Long Arms And Is Very Angry or DWHVLAAIVA for short. Or you can just call them huntsmen as the game does. On their own they don’t pose much of a threat but Bloodborne is much more about group combat for it’s moment to moment encounters than any of the other Souls games and it starts tossing this at you almost immediately It’s not far after the werewolf that you find the second Hunters Lamp which is this game’s bonfire and the first shortcut loop and NPC, Gilbert. Gilbert showed up for much the same reason you did but had better timing and wasn’t tossed straight into being a werewolf murderer by trade the way you were and instead is slowly dying of consumption. I assume. He gives you some advice but not a whole lot else but he will be a little more important later. Also in this area is a gate that you can’t open from this side despite the fact that you could literally just reach through it and unlatch it, and the path you can take to the right. This sets up the way the whole city works with interlocking pathways and streets at every turn and doors and gates that only open from one side aplenty. It’s far and away the densest area From has made in the Souls games and that is saying something. It’s feels like a living city added by the fact that this is the only game in the series that will just have random people in the world that are not enemies albeit behind doors you can’t open. Some doors have lit lanterns in front of them that tell you someone is inside hiding from the hunt, and all of them treat you with suspicion and tell you that they intend to hide until the hunt is over like they always have and tell you to leave. Some of them are even throwing parties! If you visit them over the course of the game they seemingly either die or go mad, much like the DWHVLAAIVAs currently roaming around. This level also works wonders at setting up the themes and twists of the game up, as you begin to wonder why all these people with torches and pitchforks are wondering around you come to a town square sort of area and find a large werewolf crucified and burning with DWHVLAAIVAs watching and patrolling the area but you’ll also notice that the DWHVLAAIVAs seem to be turning into creatures themselves and this becomes more obvious as you get further into the game and soon starts to take a turn for the cosmic horror side of things. Eventually you’ll find your way to one of two bosses but will likely hit upon the Cleric Beast first, this boss takes place on a bridge not far past the closed gate by the lamp that acts as the entryway which acts as both a shortcut to the boss and a good way to grind out bullets and blood vials via what I I call
The Loop is a path between bonfires that has a bunch of enemies that drop bullets and blood vials that you’ll use up over the course of the game. Sadly despite these being used as your estus and magic equivalents you do not start with a set amount of them and instead must either find or buy them. The Loop is a simple path with enemies that are easy to parry that drop a lot of both in short amounts of time once you get it down, meaning that over the course of this game you’ll only need to spend about an hour or two grinding them out over the course of the game! It’s Great! Actually it sucks but you gotta deal with it so you may as well do so quickly and I have found this to be the quickest way to do so
The other thing in this area is a pack of two werewolves that are way harder to fight then the one in the clinic and will still get me after all this time
This is the boss in the game you should and most likely will fight first and sets the stage for the primary type of Large Thing fights that make up a good chunk of the bosses in this game. Like most of these fights the trick is to know when to lock on and when to leave it off but the speed of Bloodborne is much better suited to this than the other Souls games. The primary thing I like about this boss is the story it tells just by its visual design It looks of a set with the werewolves, but it’s a creature that has begun to turn into something less culturally familiar and appears to be a stag like nightmare with echoes of both the werewolves and undead. The fur it’s covered in also recalls Shadow Of The Colossus with the way it moves. The other thing here is the name Cleric Beast. It implies that the beast comes from the church in some capacity and starts the running theme of What If The Catholic Church Was Bad Actually? Which it will continue to progress further to to point that you are almost literally beating a dead horse but that’s DLC talk
After that you realize that this is a dead end and you need to find another way through the city to continue on. But for just seeing the boss you get your first bit of Insight which sort of works in this game a bit like Humanity in the previous ones in how it is the limiter on multiplayer but it mostly works as a secondary currency that let’s you buy the gear of various hunters and the like that you’ll encounter in the game. But it does one more thing, as you gain higher amounts of it certain things in the world start to change with the game becoming somewhat, though not greatly, more difficult as you gain more. The first thing to change is the doll in the hunters dream who comes to life and allows you to level up, and opens the door into the workshop in the hunters dream that allows you to upgrade weapons (but not armor which does not have any upgrades and for the most part has similar stats between sets). And now you can speak to the creepy old dude. He sort of explains the same things I have already but the thing I will point out here is the way he tells you can use anything in the dream to aid you and in hushed tones says “Even the doll, should it please you”. The game does do something with this in the DLC so it’s not an entirely throw away line but I find it a little unnecessary (Side note it was at this point in the write up I realized I was going to have to put context warnings up for this entire game)
Now to get the second boss you have to find your way through the sewer area and this involves a lot more wondering around the level if you don’t know where to go. This and the sheer difficulty of this second boss is what makes most people who bounce off the game do so and frankly I don’t blame them, it’s all a bit much. I think in a good way on the level design but I very much think the second boss is too much too soon but I am getting ahead of myself. Since I have already covered the level of Yharnam I will instead move onto the NPCs you find in the area. First there’s Iosefka’s and her Clinic. This is actually where you start the game. Should you happen to go back here (Why you would I have no idea. Well I do actually but that’s another topic) you’ll find the room you woke up in closed off and a women behind the door, which you can see through in spots thanks to a window. She tells you that she is running a clinic where she is treating the sick and keeping people safe. She is lying to you and wants you to bring people to her so she may run experiments on them. Which you can do! But there’s another place you can send people past the area second boss called Oedon Chapel where they don’t die. Unless you send the wrong people there in which case people will get eaten or killed by shitty nuns that don’t like sex workers. The second NPC is a Lonely Old Women who is mean in that way old women in media (and sometimes in my life if I am being honest) who demands you tell her of a safe place to go and you can either murder intentionally or otherwise (Note to self spoiler tag this whole thread) or you can send her to the Oedon Chapel where she will eventually give you sedatives which counter a status effect as she gets more and more terrified as the night goes on. Eventually if you ask her for enough sedatives she goes out to find more and comes back the first time, the second you find her outside the chapel dead. Not far past her you find my favorite character in the game, Eileen the Crow. Eileen is a hunter of hunters meaning that when people like you give in to the scourge of beasts she is the one who’s job it is to take care of them, some of the hardest beasts to kill. but she doesn’t tell you that until later. For now she gives a few words of support and some Bold Hunters Marks that allow you to warp back to the last lamp you used with all your Souls I mean Blood Echoes intact. Her role in the over all game is that she gives you the on the ground hunters perspective. She’s also helps keep the game from the Dark Souls II issue where all the women are some sort of villain or lesser than some dude. She does eventually die to some dude at the end of her arc but that dude is maybe the hardest fight in the base game and her backstory is that she has been at this a looooong time so it no longer feels like a Yoko Taro style treatise on the nature of women and instead is an actual arc. The games not perfect on this front by any means, more on that in a second, but it does at least allow for characters to have some agency(as with all such things here your mileage may well vary). Finally, there’s the young girl. You find her in her house not from the town square with werewolf Jesus (Coming soon to a theater near you) behind a gate that you have to open from the otherside but as you approach you the sound of a music box playing a mournful tune. When you approach the window she asks you to find her mother who has gone of too find her father. She also gives you her music box which she says her mother forgot and that they play it for her Father when he forgets them. Have you seen a horror movie? You know where this is going
This a frantic, demanding, and fantastic fight. One of the best in the series! They could not have picked a worse choice for the first mandatory boss in this game. He moves fast, hits hard, and his only weaknesses are parrying which most people won’t learn in the first place and the boss arena is filled with obstacles that get in your way. A boss like this should be the halfway point of the game not one of the first. I’ve played this game around six times and it still took me around five goes at him. The fight starts out with him armed with his axe and blunderbuss and plays out like a version of the various DWHVLAAIVA fights in Yharnam but he can still kill you in a few hits no doubt. His second phase he extends out the axe and strikes a bit faster, third phase he transforms into a beast and hits harder and faster and if your health is too low he can take you out in one combo. There’s a few ways around this, if you can parry him the fight like many others ends quickly, if you have the music box you can play it and he stops attacking for a moment, but if you do this three times he enrages and turns into his beast form sooner, the last option is if you have some Molotov cocktails and oil bombs you can do a lot of fire damage but the nature of them as consumables is such that you’ll likely only get to do this once and if you lose the fight you’re stuck without them so it’s not an option you’ll have for long. It’s a good fight if you already know how to play this game but if you don’t it’s really just going to beat you down and not everyone is going to move past that. As for the rest of it it’s obvious that this man is the young girls father, and you find her mother dead in the boss arena and find her broach on her. Gascoigne was a hunter himself but as it’s the healing blood itself that is causing the scourge of beasts with every round of the hunt seemingly creating stronger and stronger beasts and hunters having to step up their game to match them and becoming more powerful beasts themselves. Remember this detail it’s important later. As you might guess without the music box his wife was unable to calm him down and he killed her thinking her to be another beast. A horror trope as old as time but the way in which From Software handles story telling allows the act of discovering it for yourself to elevate it beyond the normal exaction. Though I wouldn’t blame someone for being uncomfortable with it. After you claim the broach and take it back to the young girl, she begins to cry as she realizes what happens and you can’t speak to her anymore until you leave and come back. You can either send her to the clinic where she is turned into a blue alien mushroom creature that you can kill for a minor reward, or you can send her to the chapel where she dies to a giant boar on the where there. If you go and kill the boar you find a bloody ribbon. Should you take that back to the window you find her older sister there looking for her. You can then give her the ribbon but she meets much the same fate and you can find her dead right below the house with a white ribbon in her hands. If you wait long enough you can hear her talk about how much she loves the ribbon, no longer caring about her sister implying that she too has fallen to the scourge as it seems to leave people unable to recognize the things which they care about but with some intense fixation left behind.
That’s it for the first part of the game. Hopefully the next write ups won’t take me three days as I have covered a lot of the basics here but next time we move on to Cathedral Ward!
The UI in this game is really great. The status screens are still kind of a mess but they condense the gameplay UI out in the world is dense in all the right ways and the equipment menu is is the first thing you see when you hit options I love it and I wish Dark Souls III used it
This game also marks the return of Pig Fisting from the first Dark Souls
I need to talk more about the sound design in this game at some point as it is utterly fantastic
This is the rare game where the women’s clothing options are both practical and actually cooler than the men’s options, and there is to my knowledge no boob armor and the differences between the two armor types is most often subtle stylistic ones
Everyone can see through doors in this game and I get why but it’s funny
I completely forgot that when I started this I was going to post a pic of my characters face with each game. Whoops
#MoonCrushMonday — Or, Waypoint Community Bloodborne Book Club
One detail I’d like to point out about Iosefka is that she’s not madly performing cosmic experiments on people at first, she first says she cannot open the door due to the hunt, and asks you to leave, although she gives you a vial of refined blood (which is theoretically useful but I never used it, hitting triangle is just so much easier in a pinch).
It’s only after you beat Gascoigne and discover the Cathedral Ward that she gets replaced with an imposter, and will ask you to send people in need to her clinic.
Anyway great write-up as always, pouring one out pre-emptively for my favourite doggo Amelia.
Interesting! I feel like I heard that but I thought it was a rumour at the time. Granted this is all kind of rumors inherently but I’ll have to dig a little bit deeper into that.
It’s confirmed in the credits, the imposter has a different voice actor, listed as “Fake Iosefka”.
Incidentally, Fake Iosefka shares her VA with Lady Anri from DS3.
I wouldn’t be too sure about that. The way the lab is set up heavily implies that sketchy stuff has been going on back there for a while. It’s a bit unrealistic to me to think it all got moved there in the few hours between our initial encounter with Iosefka and the arrival of Fake Iosefka. In fact, I’d argue FI got there specifically to get her hands on that research.
Great write-up. Regarding Gascoigne, I get the frustration with him, but I think saving him for the midpoint of the game could make the game more frustrating. Gascoigne forces you to play aggressively, and that’s something you need to keep in mind for the rest of the game. Specifically, the realization that I need to be rolling into Gascoigne (and also the Cleric Beast) rather than away was a huge help.
I’ll grant you that, some sketchy stuff could’ve been happening there regardless, I just meant it as in she wasn’t actively luring people to her clinic to turn them into goopy celestial emissaries before she was replaced. I just think she was just working her best to cure people of the scourge with purified blood, but on that front I’m only theorising.
The thing isn’t that forcing you to learn those abilities is a bad idea for this point in the game it’s that Gascoigne is too much too fast. There needed to be a bit more easing in to get people used to the way the game works and even just plays on a basic level. Especially if someone has never played a Souls game which is a fair number of people who have come to this game. And you could do that by just adjusting the fight so he has less all but guaranteed kills in his combos, or setting the lamp close to the fight for this one battle instead of the usual Souls game hike back to the boss. As it stands it doesn’t appear to have been a huge road block given 58% of people have gotten past the boss which is about where most Souls games sit for early game completion, but none the less I think there were better ways to go about the inevitable trial by fire
#MoonCrushMonday — Or, Waypoint Community Bloodborne Book Club
I can certainly agree about the location of the lamp. Actually, I see no reason why the lamp shouldn’t always be right outside the boss room for all boss fights.
Having to walk back to the boss is a big part of what sells the world and mechanics of the game. Without some kind of a walk between the boss and the lamp there’s not a lot of pressure involved in the fight as the turn around from failure to the next attempt is the real punishment in a lot of ways, But having said that it’s not uncommon for the games to put a bonfire right before an especially hard fight and they should have done so here
Honestly this is the secret to a majority of Bloodborne bosses, and at one point it seriously messed with me when I tried to play Bloodborne back to back with an older Dark Souls game.
I get the complaints with Gascoigne, but I also think he’s the emblematic Bloodborne boss that shows how the game is different (and better, IMO) than Dark Souls. Patience is still important, especially when he goes into werewolf mode, but he’s a tense, nervy boss that really tests your ability to be aggressive and greatly benefits from Bloodborne’s far more generous parry window. On that level alone I think Gascoigne is brilliant, he really teaches how to read parry windows and judge when things are sped up or slowed down based on attack patterns and animation cues.
Gascoigne is a real throwing you into the deep end moment and I loved it. If you can get past him you have the basic tools to beat the entire rest of the game.
Agreed. Actually, given the amount of “I’m a Dark Souls veteran and this game is kicking my ass” posts on the Bloodborne subreddit, I think I might have had an easier time with Bloodborne due to only playing Demon’s Souls prior to it. Not that it was anywhere near easy, mind you, but I think the more aggressive and dynamic style is easier to get into when you don’t have years of habits from Dark Souls.
I don’t like that are at all but I’m a snob, but if they pull it off well I might check in on this later
Okay who took this video of me getting snuck up on while playing Bloodborne show yourself!
After Gascoine you make your way into Oedon Chapel. It’s not a long walk but you do find both a weird sewer area that you will later come back to to do genuinely horrible things, and find a lore note in a library so that’s nice. Also yes this game has lore notes but there’s about ten or so and almost of all them say something cryptic about the moon or some kind of cosmic horror the world is not prepared so really your typical office post it note. It’s in the chapel proper that you find a nameless fellow who looks very creepy but asks you to help people find there way to the chapel. This is in almost all ways the inverse of the clinic. Here it’s a sinister looking man (There’s some discussion on the internet about this characters gender but almost exclusively from shitheads and as far as I can tell male is all that was ever intended on the games part) associated with the obviously bad because this is a video game church who looks vaguely monstrous. He actually does just want to help and if you get all the people you can to the chapel he even asks you to be his friend. Over the course of the game you bring in something of an island of misfit toys of the people discarded by the society of Yharnam. An old women worn down by the horrors of the hunt, a sex worker (henceforth called Arianna as I realized as I am writing this that in this first paragraph that I have only called her the sex worker which is dehumanizing and shitty of me and that I need to edit this to fix that) openly disrespected by many in the game, and the man who lives across the street from Arianna who honestly is just kind of an obstinate ass but not enough of one that I’m going to send him off to be turned into a blue mushroom alien. This is another one of the themes of the game, it’s not as major a theme as the primary theme of What If The Catholic Church Was Bad Actually? But it’s one I appreciate. Bloodborne, more often than not is as interested if not more so in the way the downtrodden are effected by all this rather than the simple guilt of those that have brought this down on them. It will happily so you show you both no doubt but it understands that the reason to care is not the joy of righteous condemnation of the wrongdoers but the effect they have on people. It wants to show you that the cleric beast and Gascoine turn in to monsters but it wants to make sure you know how that effects Gascoine’s family, it wants you to know how the church’s doctrine looks down on Arianna and where that leads, it wants you to see how Eileen the Crow hunts other hunters in the hopes people like you won’t have to, and how this all wears down on people like the old women and that jackass who lives across the street from Arianna. Now once you get down talking to this guy and light the lamp that is the hub for the area. There’s two immediate paths to take, one that goes forward and eventually works as a shortcut to the boss of Cathedral Ward, and one to the left that takes you to Old Yharnam and to a gate that you can open by buying a special emblem from the messengers store in The Hunters Dream for about 10,000 blood echoes. Normally I would say skip this and just the back way around as there’s plenty of useful stuff on the other path and the you’ll get a ton of echoes but beating the boss of Cathedral Ward nets you access to the DLC and I wanted to use the pizza cutter weapon so I needed to get into the DLC sooner so rather than later so for now Old Yharnam can wait.
Cathedral Ward is a less dense version of Central Yharnam. The main difference is the narrowness of the streets and some changes to the architecture. There’s a lot more gates and archways plus some increasingly tentacled statues. This is where it starts to add in a bit of variety into the enemies as well, there’s still your DWHVLAAIVAs, your dogs, and your big troll dudes. But here it adds the pale skinned giants, church servants. The giants as you might expect are a variation of the trolls with slow attacks but can’t be parried as easily instead requiring you to strike them in a certain spot as they attack which is not a thing I knew you could do until I read it on a wiki just now. The church servants are interesting more in how they change as you gain insight. As your insight climbs they can magic attacks and the ones withs scythes and wooden stakes both have their weapons glow and and become more powerful. This is about the extant to which insight makes the game harder believe it or not despite some claims it does more past about 15 insight it really just adds things like visible creatures in the background and babies crying randomly. The last enemy to be introduced here is the Brainsucker which is legally distinct from the Mindflayer of D&D fame and also the Mind Flayer of Demon’s Souls fame! They are squid-like humanoids that walk up to you much like the Mind Flayers and the hooded ones even have similar stun attacks and I also hate them but more so later on. This is also where the judgmental jackass and Arianna is introduced I’ve already summed up both of them more or less but I’ll touch on Arianna here a bit more and ask, why is this women of the night as the game calls her living right outside the Cathedral? Is sex work legal? If so why is that dude such an ass? What’s up with that nun we meet later? Why is she so self defacing? So many questions few of them answered. The main things to not are that the sinister looking man seems entirely fine with her, everyone else being some kind of a dick to her. And that I will do a very bad thing to her later to get the, well, not the good ending this game doesn’t have one of those but the true ending. Of the course of wondering this area you may find a path down that ends in a dead end with a man behind the door that asks for a password. To get said password you have to kill the boss of this area in the great cathedral and to do that you’ll want to open the shortcut gates which you would almost have to try to miss so let’s get to it:
You find her first kneeling in front of an altar (to what you ask? We’ll get there) with a skull on it. If you stand far enough away you can hear her praying about the old blood and how without fear death would go unmorned and What If The Catholic Church Was Bad Actually? Walk into the arena proper and she turns into a giant screaming dog nightmare. This is more or less the Cleric Beast fight but has a few twists. One the arena is bigger, which might sound like a plus but actually gives the boss more space to dodge away from you and attack you. Two if you let her get far enough away she can heal herself for a good bit of HP which I have rarely seen happen as I just never let her get far enough away from me. And three she does all of this while SCREAMING THE ENTIRE GOD DAMN TIME. It’s a good fight and a fantastic design on the boss herself . She’s draped in What is more interesting here is the story. First things first I’ll eat your brain~wait that’s later the first thing after the fight is you examine the skull on the altar which appears to be the skull of a beast much like the one you just killed and an actual cutscene plays for the first and I think last time in the game and here you learn the password and the origins of the church when a man who’s skull you just picked up, named Laurence, who was a student/scholar at the university of Byrgenwerth (Which I somehow spelled right on my first try so go me) parted ways with the university to use the power of the blood to found the healing church with the best on intentions. Before he goes a man in a chair reminds him to “Fear the old blood” which is the password you need to make your way past the door and to Byrgenwerth yourself. And the other thing is Amelia herself. Who is a very high ranking official in the church, if not the last one, who was clearly just hanging out out here waiting to hulk out into that dog beast. At this point you’ve likely heard something from someone about how the night always ends but you can likely figure from the fact the lady dog pope just went mad that this night is not like the others. It’s around now that the cosmic horror shoe drops as you likely figured out from the straight up Cthulu looking statues along the sides of the entryway into the cathedral and the like, whole vibe around here really
Once I was done with all that I just ran into the DLC real quick to grab the Whiligig saw but more on that later. Instead we shall move onto Old Yharnam. To get there you head out the left path of Oedon Chapel like you do to just pay your way into the Cathedral Ward proper but just keep going straight. You’ll find your way into a mausoleum that for reasons hides a path to a long abandoned part of Yharnam (It was at this point I realized I could just add Yharnam to my spell check dictionary BTW) but prior to that You’ll meet Alfred who is a church hunter of a sort who is looking for a group called The Vilebloods who are basically vampires. He’s also the only character in the game I can recall that has an actual conversation trees of sorts. He might actually be the only NPC in the series that has one actually. And at the moment he seems like a nice enough guy with a noble enough cause and you can tell where that is leading. After that you pull a lever make your way down the stairs, get accosted by a werewolf in a dark room and find another lamp. Now here things pickup everything prior to this is just filler to get here so there space makes some amount of sense in context. On the door out you find a worn note that tells you the beasts here are a danger to none and that you should turn back. This is true and good advice but we are not here to do the right thing we are here to murder and the ethics of the players actions in video games are a lie anyways and I’m not going to feel bad about playing a game that is a character study of human assholeishness. As you enter a hunter named Djura asks you one more time to leave. I did not. Here you find beasts more advanced in the scourge just chilln’ basically. They are still quite happy to attack you as you walk past though as is Djura with his gatling gun who will fire at you when ever you’re in eye sight sometimes shooting exploding urns, though oddly I am not sure I’ve ever seen him hit a beast in the process. There’s also a quite well hidden secret room here that gives you some armor that resists fire and gives you a bit of info about the fires that were used to try and purge the beasts down here. None of this explains the burning crosses but hey it’s no graffiti scrawled in blood. Not far outside that room you find an unnamed NPC hunter that is either turning into a beast or just working with Djura which I bring up as I belive this is the first time you face an enemy hunter Eventually you find you way past all that and hit the first boss of this area:
Okay so he’s not really a boss but he’s way harder than most real bosses and I want an excuse to cover the basics of these hunter fights. The main things that make these fights so hard is that they have all your skills with all your power with no real stamina or bullet limits and a limited number of vials. Due to all of that these fights are way harder and can feel unfair and people hate them. I love them. The PVP has never really worked for me outside of a brief period in Dark Souls the first and this is a taste of what the PVP was like before it was taken over by Souls obsessives that live to ruin your day and hackers galore. He moves fast, he hits hard, and he can even parry you. It’s all a bit like the Gascoine fight but optional and thus less of a roadblock. Assuming he doesn’t dodge off the edge of the roof which is how I always beat him, this time included. Sorry Djura it’s still a win
After that you find a church, roll initiative! Jesus rolls a natural 20 he moves first! I think he cheats. Doesn’t matter turns out it’s not Jesus this time it’s a semi skinned beast with the skin on it’s back stretched out over the front of it like a cloak strung up on a cross dangling from a chandelier. It’s all very subtle. What is actually very subtle is that embossed on this altar is images of the final boss of the game. Sort of. If you squint really hard at the textures. According to the wiki. There’s also theories that the beast up there is in fact the same type of creature as the final boss but the lore page on the wiki that tries to explain it reads like me trying to explain quantum physics to someone after taking a bit too much cold medicine by mistake and tries to tie it all into Norse mythology so I don’t put a lot of stock in it. Past this you unlock a shortcut, then you actually unlock another one not too far past that but you do have to figure out it’s even a shortcut to begin with so that’s fine. There’s actually a path here that you can use only if you take out Amelia first, and in doing so it let’s you talk to Djura without him getting hostile but if you go into the area he warns you not to go into the normal way in he still goes hostile so I opted to take the normal path and typing this all out I realized something about the structure of this world and what that says about the beasts trapped here and I’ll get to that later. This second part of the area is really just more of Yharnam so there’s not much to say before you get to the fourth church in this section of the write up alone and fight the real boss:
Blood Starved Beast
Something I have failed to mention thus fair is that basically every boss for the first two thirds of the game is the one that drives everyone away before the games difficulty dives off a cliff. This one is the main one I have heard about amongst people I know. I have never actually found this boss all that hard though. Don’t get me wrong the boss is fast and you can’t always tell what it’s about to do, but the thing that really makes this fight hard is all the noise. The music that plays is distressing as all hell and the sounds the boss itself makes are even worse. Every scream, every screech of its claws dragging on the ground or the air. It is cacophonous at any volume and the game sets most of the sound effects in the moment to moment a tad low so you keep the speakers up just a bit higher than you normally would. This is in many ways the true core of Bloodborne’s horror, pure sensory overload in a way that is hard to do in other mediums. It’s not purely unique to games, nothing truly is in my view frankly, but this is one of it’s strengths and Bloodborne uses it exceedingly well. The fight itself isn’t all that different from the prior fights just a little faster, the main gimmick here is that the boss can poison you with slow poison which works more or less the same as it did in prior games. It’s main threat is that due to the smaller health bar in Bloodborne and how slow it ticks down your health means you are likely to forget it’s draining in the first place. I actually died right after killing the boss from the poison but luckily the boss stayed dead and I didn’t have to fight it again
With the blood starved beast out of the way there’s a few things that open up but I was hopiong to have this write up out two days ago so instead I shall cover those next time! For now:
There’s this weird side hallway in Cathedral Ward that was likely going to be a shortcut to the next section but was cut when they added the back way in via Old Yharnam, Now it just has a bloodgem at the end in a chest
There’s also what appears to be a crater from an explosion in this area and I have no idea what that’s from
There’s a whole page on the Bloodborne wiki about how the game ties into tarot cards and I can’t tell if it’s a thing the game is actually doing or another example of how incredibly vague tarot cards are lending themselves to just applying them to anything
According to the Wiki Djura is the German equivalent of the name George so, there you go?
Who will win me or this one screamy horsey?!?!
The Horse. The Horse always wins. The Horse always wins, the Horse always screams. The Horse never stops screaming IT NEVER STOPS SCREAMING
This video is just a test to see how long a video upload would take on my internet and the answer is 5+ hours so do not expect anymore videos out of me