I’ve finally gotten into Bloodborne. To my deep embarrassment, I actually bought the game back when it came out a few years ago, but, try as I might, I could never beat the first boss, the Cleric Beast. I eventually gave up and didn’t touch the game again until a month or so ago. I’m a huge fan of Dark Souls, and I understand these games require a high level of persistence, but this game just broke me for some reason. For a while, I’ve been meaning to give it another shot, and the final catalyst was its appearance as one of the titles given out to Playstation Plus subscribers.
The first time I dug into Bloodborne, it wasn’t just the Cleric Beast that gave me trouble, I had a rough time just getting up to this boss. I think I put in ~4-5 hours just slowly crawling through the streets of Yharnam. This time around, I remembered quite a bit from my original excursion and was able to reach the Cleric Beast’s bridge with surprising ease. I honestly was really nervous that I was going to get stuck at this fight again, so when the boss first climbed into view, I felt a huge amount of dread welling up inside. I threw myself into the battle and gave it my all and………slaughtered the monster on my first try……..
After the boss battle had ended, I wasn’t entirely sure where to go. Past the area where we fought was a dead end. And then I discovered……. the Cleric Beast is actually an optional boss……
I’m not actually sure why I had such an easy time with this boss, while years ago I struggled to the point of quitting. I started a new character this time, so perhaps I just chose better specs for him. But it’s not just the Cleric Beast that I had an easier time with. All the enemies leading up to that point had given me trouble before, but this time I swam through them with ease. I think the real difference is that this time I understand the technique and rhythm of Bloodborne a little bit better. I’m the type of Dark Souls player who spends a lot of time hiding behind a shield, and Bloodborne simply isn’t a game that can be played so defensively. There’s only one shield to find in the game, and its item description explicitly states that it isn’t very effectual.
Instead of a shield, Bloodborne gives the player a gun to supplement their standard weapon. The sidearms do a nearly trivial amount of damage when compared to the melee weapons, but they have the advantage of being able to stun enemies if you can time your shots to coincide with the enemy winding back to do an attack. After an enemy is stunned, the player can run up and do a melee attack for a massive amount of damage. Being able to effectively execute these types of counterattacks goes a long way in Bloodborne. I feel like in my first go round I had a lot of trouble getting the timing down on these stun attacks, while now it’s finally clicked with me.
Really, I’m left deeply embarrassed by the whole situation. I spent $60 on Bloodborne when it came out, didn’t get very far into it, quit, and then I only came back to it after it was made free to me through the PS Plus subscription. To further add insult to injury, I now know that the boss fight that stopped me from playing it was entirely optional. Sincerely, I kind of feel like a wasteful idiot.
On the plus side, I’m enjoying Bloodborne a ton. Right now, I’ve made it through the Forbidden Woods, and I’m currently working on the boss at Byrgenwerth College. The Forbidden Woods has probably been my favorite area so far. Up until that point, the game had mostly been focused on werewolf-themed enemies (with the exception of some oddities in the Cathedral Ward), and I was starting to get a little tired of them. The enemies in the second half of the Forbidden Woods break away from the werewolf stuff and go in a really creepy direction. And now at Byrgenwerth, the enemies are even more disturbing and bizarre. So much so, that I’m actually starting to consider that Bloodborne may have the best monster designs of any of the dark fantasy games by FROM Software.