I picked up Bloodborne expecting not to like it. I’ve never played any of the Souls games and from what I’d heard, Bloodborne was the same sort of game. As I understood it, these were brutally hard games that seemed to generate equal amounts of frustration and joy. I’m not an especially skilled gamer and I don’t tend to play very difficult games. I get frustrated easy and I’m usually the first to read a game F.A.Q. when I get stuck. I just sort of assumed Bloodborne was not for me. Boy was I ever wrong.
Today’s comic is 100% accurate. I “quit” Bloodborne a bunch of times but I always ended up coming back to it. Every time I died (and I died a lot) I had the feeling that I could go back and do it better. It’s true that I was ridiculously frustrated and there were times when I had to keep clearing the same area over and over again that I wondered why I was doing this. I remember early on thinking that it must be impossible to fight more than one guy at a time. I avoided the big bad guys entirely. The starting zone was incredibly hard but I kept going back to it over and over again. Eventually I got through it, and it wasn’t because my gear got better, it was because I got better. That’s an incredible feeling.
Playing Bloodborne is sort of like free-diving. I think of the lanterns as diving bells on the”surface”. Each time you venture out into the world you’re sort of holding your breath and diving into an incredibly deadly place. You go a little further each time as you start to familiarize yourself with the area and its dangers. When you are deep into an area, far away from your lantern and carrying a bunch of loot, you feel the weight of the world around you. The thing about Bloodborne is that any jackass can kill you. If you’re not paying attention the dude at the beginning of starting zone can cut you down. Sometimes just getting back to the lantern can feel like an incredible accomplishment. Like breaking through the surface of the water and finally getting a breath. That’s a great feeling but the real thrill is pushing yourself further. When you keep pushing and you go past where you stopped before and then find yourself up against a boss. When you decide to commit to that fight and you beat them and find a new lantern, it’s like nothing I’ve experienced in a game before.
Last night Tycho and I were in a voice chat while we each played Bloodborne. We were not playing together, just talking while we each played our own game. We were sharing tips and I was helping him find a secret area I had discovered. It was awesome and I can’t remember the last time something like that happened. My guess is that no one “sort of likes” Bloodborne. I think you either hate it, or (like me) become completely obsessed with it.