Prepare to die

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Too sexy for your hat.

See that screenshot? That’s the only screenshot I grabbed last night during my first couple of hours with Bloodborne, and it happened when I bought the hat. The rest of the time I was seeing everything, admiring everything… but didn’t press the capture button because I was too enraptured with the visual and aural experience. And trying not to die. I failed.

The atmosphere in Bloodborne (BB) is absolutely fantastic. It’s a gothic city that really looks like all hell broke loose. Citizens are all hiding inside their houses and most refuse to open during the Hunt, a particular event where for some reason all the crazies go out into the streets and want to kill you. Even while walking through deserted alleys or plazas you can hear the distant sound of people laughing at you inside their houses, the rustle of feets, the heavy breathing of someone – or something – just around the corner. It’s a delight… a creepy delight. Climbing stairs and hearing the spine-chilling scream of a creature in the distance? Nope. Seeing someone with a torch approaching you in the dark of the sewers only to notice that it’s not really a human at all when close? Nope. The screeches weird crawling crow-like creatures make? Ultra nope.

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Souls games are about dying and learning from your death. Improve, evolve, die some more, conquer. And dying I did! “I can take on that heavy, armored, scythe-wielding brute!” I said before I was crushed to bits repeatedly. Lesson? Don’t fight that enemy yet. Better to try my odds against that citizen over there. Oh, wait, it’s two of them – no big… no, it’s three… four? Five? A DOZEN? BB isn’t playing. Enemies are numerous. And when they’re not numerous they’re vicious. Down in the sewers you’ll see half-human half… wolf things that lunge at you. Crows that can’t fly but can dash like mad and do a horrible sickening screech (not to your char, to YOU… that screech is the stuff of nightmares). But they can all be dealt with, if you persevere. I even got to find the “Hunter Set” of gear, which is the set you see the character wearing in all promotional material.

As you’ve probably read by now, BB is unlike its Souls brothers in that it doesn’t offer defensive play – as in “there is no shield”. Sure there’s one, but it’s useless. You must move quick and attack quicker. Did I mention I was a shield person in Souls? The kind to go slowly with my shield raised? Yeah, cannot do that anymore. It took me a while (read: a dozen of deaths) to get used to the new method.

But as all Souls, it’s exhilarating. I’m not thinking about the load times (though they are a bit long, tbh) or the framerate (which was was I expect to see in a Souls game). Last night I literally squealed of happiness when after an unexpected trip to the sewers, avoiding what seemed like living crawling corpses and closely escaping a brute swinging at me, I found a door that lead me to the first Lantern (think “checkpoint”). I sighed with relief and went to bed. But I know I have to go back. I have a bunch of souls blood that I cannot use to level up just yet – I need to defeat the first boss in order to do that. I dread the idea of the task at hand. But I can’t freaking wait.

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A date with death.
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