My love-hate relationship with Bloodborne, and going through the streets of Yharnam again

About two weeks ago, Dawid, my boss here at SAGamer, boldly announced that he will finally be starting Bloodborne. For most, this won’t be that bad, but you see, Dawid has a bit of a bad experience with the Soulsborne series that goes back to its roots. As far as I know the story, he started up the now legendary Demon’s Souls, promptly got walloped to a bloody pulp and he never looked at it again. So for him to attempt the masterpiece that is Bloodborne, ironically a PS4 exclusive game from From Software (same as Demon’s Souls) is quite something.

The thing is though, Bloodborne, like anything else in the series, does not hold your hand, in fact, it will probably try and tear it off right from the start, so it wasn’t long before I got roped into helping with the beginning parts of the game. My intention was purely to get him on the right track, but because the guys at From Software make damn good games, I find myself playing the game in New Game + for the first time, and helping Dawid through it as I go along.

Ready, set, uhm.. How do we co-op?

Bloodborne has a very interesting and unique co-op gameplay mechanic to it. First off, I couldn’t just pop into Dawid’s game and kill everything in sight, I actually had to be either in the same area as he is, or have progressed beyond where he is so I can go back and assist. What this essentially meant was that for me to join in on some jolly co-operation, I had to play the game again. I continued my play in NG+, and now I am essentially playing the game again. Not really that bad, but I was finding the going a bit tough due to being a little under-levelled for NG+. Come to think of it, no wonder I was struggling so much with the final boss.

It’s also worth mentioning that I get nerfed into the ground when jumping into Dawid’s world, and although I do considerably more damage than he does, it is not nearly as much as you would think considering I’m about 80 levels higher than he is. The game forces you to play well because that is the only way you can really git gud.

Yharnam, you cruel mistress

I feel I need to clear something up. I don’t like difficult games. Yeah, a bit of a shock for some people out there. I don’t like a game that is difficult for the sake of being difficult and in the process, it becomes a chore to play. What I do love though is a challenging game that will punish you for your mistakes and tell you to be better. It at the same time makes you understand how it works and what it wants from you by trial and error, and while it can be frustrating at times, it never becomes a chore. The Souls games are known for this type of challenge, and Bloodborne is no different. I personally struggled a bit with the game because of it sharing the Souls DNA, but it didn’t quite play the same way. And boy can it be brutally cruel sometimes.

So, as I mentioned, I was basically running along, playing the game on NG+ and trying to get a few steps ahead of Dawid so we can make the co-op experience a little easier. I was frolicking along in the Forbidden Woods, having a grand ol’ time and gaining a crap load of Blood Echoes (XP points) while being helped by some pretty powerful Japanese dude. I had close to about 400k Blood Echoes when we reached the final boss encounter. In case you don’t know. If you die, you drop all your echoes on the spot and you get kicked back to the starting point of the level. You can retrieve it, but you need to go get it from where you died, and if you die on your way back, you lose everything.

So at this point, I was considering sending the helpful dude packing and me retreating to the Hunter’s Dream to level up a bit, but me being a nice guy, knew that for him to get his full reward for helping, we had to complete the encounter. I weighed up my options for a moment and decided to go through with it since he looked like he knew what he was doing, and he was pretty powerful. I also thought that if I died, I would go back to the boss, grab my blood echoes and skedaddle out of there using a special item. So in we went, and the helpful, powerful bloke that looked like he knew what he was doing promptly died, with me following suit shortly after.

I’m pretty sure you know where this is going, but a long story short, I underestimated a lone enemy on my way to the boss room, who somehow got me stunned into a corner and I lost all those Blood Echoes.

Sucker for punishment

Needless to say, I was gutted. I sat in silence for a little bit, put down my controller and switched off the game for the day. It was a bitter pill to swallow. But, the next day I was back and managed to progress past the boss (and the asshole that killed me) and enjoy my time with it. It is a brutal game that will punish you for getting cocky, but it is at the same time such a rewarding experience. Managing to beat an area, or a boss, whether you do it with random people, friends or on your own is one of the best feelings out there. It is the reason I will keep coming back for more in games such as Bloodborne, which is not difficult for the sake of it, but because it is what makes it great.

I think I’ve now guided Dawid far enough, he’s learned how the game works and what to do, and he needs to go and experience it from here on out on his own. Sure, I will still come and help, but only when necessary. I left him in the Unseen Village, so he should be fine.

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