Bloodborne has been one of those games where everything else takes a back seat and dominates all my play time. I have yet to see the credits roll, but am well on my way to the game’s final boss. On April Fools Day I did a joke blog about how many gaming journalists quit their jobs after playing. I was poking fun at those that have dismissed the game as too hard or unfair, but the truth is I definitely feel their pain.
There have been several occasions where I’ve hit a wall that seemed insurmountable. The first boss in particular had me so frustrated that I told my friend that I was going to sell the game. Thankfully, my pride wouldn’t allow that. I started a new character, chose the Military Veteran class and picked the Ax instead of the Cleaver as my starting weapon. I beat the boss on the 2nd try in this new game. Since then, I’ve struggled mightily against the Blood Starved Beast, Vicar Amelia and Rom, The Vacuous Spider. I killed them all though, and each one was more satisfying than completing most other games in their entirety that I’ve recently played.
For those that are worried about whether or not Bloodborne is too hard, or currently stuck, I have some advice that may save you a lot of grief. First, remember that there is probably another section that you can complete in another area of the game. The incredibly intricate world is begging for you to explore. Often times a boss is better faced after exhausting all other possibilities. Bloodborne does an excellent job of making “optional” areas so useful that they may as well be required to progress. The game rewards patience not only in combat, but in exploring every nook and cranny of its rich world. You will level up your character, find new and useful items and perhaps even be able to summon a NPC to fight alongside you. When you feel you are ready; the boss will feel not so impossible anymore, and you will be victorious.
Secondly, I’d say that you shouldn’t feel bad about seeking help online. There are many parts of Bloodborne that aren’t explained. Figuring everything out for yourself is the best and most rewarding option, but checking out a Youtube video isn’t what I’d call cheating, unlike a couple friends of mine. I’ve resorted to doing so on two bosses so far, and I think seeing a couple different strategies of how to defeat an enemy hasn’t diminished my experience. Also, since the game is still relatively new, it actually fosters a sense of community when you share secrets you’ve uncovered and vice versa. I don’t recommend doing this all the time, but I don’t see the harm in watching a gameplay video (if you’re already in that area, of course), or looking up where to go next if you’re lost.
Lastly, learn what everything means in the obtuse menus. Take time to examine and understand your characters strengths, weaknesses, weapon abilities, weapon augmentations and proper uses of all the items. In many RPG’s, the stats you choose aren’t that important and many even have an “auto level up” option, where your stat improvements are chosen for you. In Bloodborne, they’re essential to dictating your play style and effectiveness with certain weapons. Additionally, there may be times where grinding a section out repeatedly to level up may behoove you. More skilled players will be able to forego grinding for the most part, but I definitely wasn’t one of them. Practice is rewarded, as long as you are cautious and willing to return to the “Hunter’s Dream” to level up when you’ve gotten as far as possible without getting greedy.
If you’re easily frustrated or impatient, perhaps this one just isn’t for you. But at least give it a shot, I can have a short fuse too, but after overcoming the steep learning curve, it’s becoming one of my favorite games of the last several years. Don’t get mad, get better. Take your time. Overcoming the challenge is worth the effort.