Frivolous Waste of Time

Sci-fi, fantasy and video games

Bloodborne: The Old Hunters for PS4

Bloodborne is one of my favourite games of all time, which is quite odd as most of my other favourites are from my childhood and seeped in nostalgia. Bloodborne got under my skin and affected me in a way that games simply don’t as a 25 year old man. Even recent games which I utterly adored, like The Witcher 3, didn’t affect me as much as Bloodborne. Playing Bloodborne for more than an hour often resulted in strange, unsettling dreams. It’s clear that Yharnam has it’s hooks in me. I actually rationed the DLC, playing it over the space of months, because I couldn’t bare to be done. Please make Bloodborne 2.

The Old Hunters sees the player cast into the Hunter’s Nightmare, where blood drunk hunters are pulled if they seep too far into depravity. This is the final resting place of legendary Healing Church figures such as Lawrence and Ludwig, but it holds a dark secret about an atrocity committed in the early days of the Church, with many figures in the Nightmare are desperate to keep hidden.

I love the lore and story of Bloodborne. I read an entire 107 page e-book analysis of thenplot for crying out loud (The Paleblood Hunt by Redgrave, it’s brilliant). The Old Hunter builds and develops the story in some interesting ways and casts light on some of the most enigmatic and fascinating figures in the game, such as the Plain Doll, Gehrman and Ludwig. Of course, it’s all still very obscure, but the strange power that suffused the main game is absolutely present in The Old Hunters.

Fundamentally, The Old Hunters is more of the same. There are loads of new weapons, although I didn’t really experiment with these much. I’m too stuck in my ways with my +10 Ludwig Holy Blade. It’s a shade more linear than the main game, which is inevitable considering that this is more of a bite sized Bloodborne chunk, but the environments are still complex and fold back on themselves in interesting ways. The boss fights are cool, which vary from slow heavy hitters to the furiously aggressive. The final boss of the DLC is an absolute nightmare, probably the hardest in the game. In fact, the difficulty is higher all round.

The Nightmare is a realm that we didn’t explore much in the main game, only really in the Nightmare Frontier and Mensis and its twisted proportions are fun to explore. I think a Bloodborne sequel built around free travel between the ‘real’ world and the Nightmare could be very interesting and offer a twist on the somewhat familiar ‘Soulsborne’ formula. Everything is very horrible and unsettling, with the final section being somewhere entirely unlike anywhere else in the game. The boss designs are stunning and The Old Hunters’ has some of the best music in the game.

Bloodborne is a masterpiece and The Old Hunter’s simply adds more to it. If you liked Bloodborne this is worth a go and if you love it as much as I do it’s essential.

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