Bloodborne Prepped Me for Dark Souls!

Posted in Bloodborne, Dark Souls, Dark Souls 2, Fan Service, Fantasy, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, My Stuff, PC Gaming, PS3, RPGs on May 14th, 2015 by thelonegamer

Still one of the coolest RPG intros ever.

I think I’ve admitted it before- as a Hardcore Casual Gamer, I love gaming by nature, but my skills and patience aren’t the best. Even more so that I’m getting a bit older, I haven’t been really able to sink into a game too much like in years past, when I’d go on week-long binges or marathons just to finish a game, and then restart them. Perhaps if I got into the classic, masochistic Dark Souls earlier, maybe today I’d be more into it. But nope, I tried playing it when it first came out, got stymied by the repeated deaths and loss of my efforts, and just gave up. Even so, I’ve always been fascinated with From’s RPGs, mainly for the lore, the gorgeous art and designs, and the obvious love and fervor other players have for this modern classic.

So it’s actually a wonder for me today to realize that for the past week or so, I have been PLAYING Dark Souls on my PS3. Playing and loving it, incredibly enough. Yes, I am playing though as a spell-slinging Sorcerer, a class that is for the most part regarded as OP since you deal death from afar. I don’t care though- I think it’s a refreshing change from the hundreds of melee-class characters I’ve seen on all the Let’s Plays on Youtube. Being a squishy spell thrower means though that I will still need to master being able to avoid getting hit and keep my distance from the scary, deadly enemies. Also, I can’t totally rely on the trusty Soul Arrows to mete out victory every single second- so I have to work on having a weapon that can be relied on to kill quickly in as few hits as possible as well.

This of course leads me to the very addictive aspect of these types of games- powering up your hero and fashioning his or her implements of doom is thoroughly absorbing… and to see your work pay off in whole zones rendered silent, littered with enemy corpses is utter bliss.
So far, I am at about Level 43, my svelte Sorceress wearing the tattered but regal robes of a legendary Daughter of Izalith, which makes her look like a female Grim Reaper or Lady Nazgul (I plan on finding a matching Scythe which is apparently the best weapon in the game) and looking thoroughly badass. I’ve just rung the Second Bell of Awakening and am ready to enter the dastardly Sen’s Fortress. All this probably sounds like gibberish to anyone not into Dark Souls lore- just suffice to say I’m well past the point where most of those who just can’t take this game would have quitted a long time ago. And I’m still raring to go.

In fact, I’ve also gotten the game on Steam, and it’s installed on my PC- which is weird since the Xbox controller’s layout is slightly different from the PS3, switching the Dodge button position which will surely have me making crucial mistakes if I play it for any long duration…

Yep, this is all thanks to Bloodborne (which I am currently at the Endgame level, just two bosses away from finishing the game and entering into New Game Plus).

I am now considering From’s latest as a calculated try on their end to get players to give their previous two games- Dark Souls and DS2 a try. BB is just slightly different from the Souls games, but same enough that you can indeed jump into Dark Souls gamely after mastering Bloodborne and not feel like it’s a different game.

In fact, I believe that after the breakneck speed and twitch-reflex gameplay of BB, you’ll find the more methodical, calculated play of the Souls games very easy, or at least manageable. Bloodborne has somehow taught me to not fear the fearsome, to get impressed but not intimidated by the terrifying monsters I am faced with in these games. Yep, Bloodborne taught me, ‘if it can bleed, I can kill it’ (or something like that)… and I’ve taken this new-found courage from Yharnam into Lordran.

Hell, who knows- maybe if I get my ass handed to myself by the famous Ornstein and Smough, I may suddenly give up- but probably not. If I do finish Dark Souls, who knows- maybe I’ll give Dark Souls 2 a try. Then… Dark Souls 3, which I am sure is inevitable.

Damn it From Soft. You got me good.

10 Reasons Why You Should Play Bloodborne

Posted in Action Adventure, Bloodborne, Fan Service, Fantasy, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, My Stuff, PS4, RPGs on April 11th, 2015 by thelonegamer

The Hunt Begins…

I’ve had the pleasure of playing From Software’s latest action-RPG, Bloodborne, for the past week. It’s been bloody bliss, and this from a player who couldn’t get into or through any of the game’s predecessors- the Dark Souls games. Yep, the Dark Souls games make me shrivel and I just don’t have the masochism to endure those nightmares. But how the heck am I getting into Bloodborne then, which is pretty much the third Souls game in all but name? Well, here are the reasons why, from me.

1. It’s a Horror-Fantasy Steampunk Action RPG set in a nightmarish version of Old London, with Lovecraftian elements- and we really don’t get as many of those as we should. It’s a dark, DARK world to explore and experience but somehow is incredibly fun and compelling. You play a foreigner to the land of Yharnam, a Hunter bent on penetrating the secrets of this plague-and-beast-infested place for your own mysterious ends, and once you begin, you can’t let go.

2. It looks GORGEOUS. Despite the 30FPS, this is truly a PS4-magnitude game that will make you happy you invested in Sony’s Black Slab. The settings are darkly fascinating, the creatures that dwell it are things of horrific beauty, and it all looks amazing on a big HDTV.

3. The gameplay is fast, challenging but accessible. Even early on, your Hunter can dispatch most enemies fairly fast and easily- if you know how to properly play. Key is understanding the use of your Tools- firearms aren’t meant to actually kill for the most part, but are best used for Parries- shoot an enemy at close range just as they’re attacking, and you’ll stun them, leaving them open to a devastating follow-up. The same thing was also in Dark Souls, but here it is far easier (but still takes learning and mastering) and far more effective (and satisfying).

4. Leveling Up is fast and straightforward. Having a hard time? Level up. Yes, it will entail grinding, but the rewards for your training will pay off as you get better and once deadly foes become easier to dispatch. You won’t be doing as varied builds as with more traditional RPGs or like in the Souls games, as your Hunter will be more about what weapons he or she will be using.

5. You usually get to wear awesome trenchcoats. And there is something darkly badass than playing a basically what is a heroic version of Jack the Ripper prowling London. OR you can just cross-dress.

Uncover the secrets of Bloodborne…

6. The Enemies are AMAZINGLY scary and varied like you won’t believe. Aside from how freaky a lot of these enemies look, the way they act and move makes battles challenging and fun. Boss Battles are HARD but always doable, and once you beat a hard boss, you WILL yell in triumph and it feels freakin’ good. But forget that- even the common enemies are awesome freaks to behold, and it’s a truly weird pleasure to find out what the next zone or stage of this game has in store for you. I am sure- you will find yourself going WHAT THE HELL IS THAT many times in your first go…

7. Bloodborne’s weapons are BADASS. Look for new implements of bloodletting- there aren’t as many as in the Souls games, but you will surely find a favorite, some weird ones you’ll want to try just for how odd they look, and obsess about stats and upgrades like nothing. Find your favorite tool. Love your tool. Master it. You’ll be so happy. Oh, and did I mention you can get a CANNON?

8. This is legitimately a scary game, creepy and disturbing and will push all the right buttons to creep you out. Insane wails and howls, persistent whispers and footsteps, cancerous coughing… it all makes for a feast of disturbing cacophony that makes this game so immersive. Never mind that you will be facing off with freaks of nature, otherworldy fiends and murderous mobs of psychotics- the sheer dread of what lies behind every corner is already suspenseful enough.

9. The Level Design is textbook awesome From Software mastery. Explore and open up shortcuts that will make you smile as your efforts are rewarded by an easier way back to a deadly boss that kicked your arse. From did their work well.

10. In all, Bloodborne is Dark Souls that any gamer with a bit of patience can get into and have fun with, without the hardcore bent and sometimes impenetrable difficulty of that venerated series. Is it for ‘casuals’? Not really either; you need to get into this game, to let it seep into your veins. You will die, and die many times, but you will somehow still be having fun. And just coming back for more.

MORE Bloodborne Gushing?!

Posted in Action Adventure, Bloodborne, Fantasy, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, PS4, RPGs on April 10th, 2015 by thelonegamer

My first life-or-death boss fight in Bloodborne…

Man, I love this game. Really though, just a bit after I posted my first article on Bloodborne, From Software’s recent bloody brilliant new release, I almost gave up on it. But I am so glad I kept playing. A Souls game (as in Dark Souls or such) in look and feel but oddly more accessible and might I say, comprehensible, Bloodborne is an addictive action-horror RPG battle-crawl that will have you coming back for more and then some.

Set in the carnage-filled, madness-swathed city(?) of Yharnam, Bloodborne follows the path of a Hunter (Your Charater)- a foreigner who has come seeking some sort of cure for an unknown affliction. But unfortunately, you arrive on the night of the hunt, where most Yharnamites can be found wandering the streets, crazed and attacking all in sight, while only a rare few cower in their homes in fear. Blood is the only currency in this place, and you earn it by killing every hostile you encounter. As you kill, you grow stronger and earn/find better gear and upgrades so you can explore further, kill more and stronger creatues, and, well… don’t get ahead of yourself.

The setting, a nightmarish version of Jack the Ripper’s London crossed with Lovecraftian horror and Steampunk, is a vast playground of murderous fun. Explore, find paths, open up shortcuts, DIE, keep exploring- it’s Dark Souls but with various changes that set it apart but tons more to keep it the same. Dying means you lose the money (or Blood Echoes, the ‘Souls’ of this game) you’ve collected to that point, but you can recover them by getting back to the point of death without dying AGAIN. A bit more complex though is the wrinkle that sometimes your Echoes won’t be just on the ground waiting to be picked up- you may need to find an enemy carrying them (look for glowing eyes) and kill it before you get your money back.

You will usually be armed with a weapon or implement in each hand- your left is usually a firearm that is mostly useful for Parrying- fire at an enemy just as they are in their attack animation and you’ll stun them, opening them up to a DEVASTATING follow-up strike or Visceral Attack. Mastering this move is key to owning the stronger enemies in the game, which would otherwise take a lot more striking and dodging. As you explore the game and level up, more and odder weapons and tools will become available, and they should be a treat to discover.

A regular Dark Souls game requires a large amount of patience which often makes the difference between a gamer liking it or not- Bloodborne is for those who don’t have it; it’s more about taking the offense and striking fast and hard, dodging when needed, and attacking again. Blocking is almost non-existent; survival is all about dodging or keeping your Hunter aware of the environment so you can avoid enemy strikes and go in for the kill.

That is not to say this game is a cake walk, or that you’re going to be able to Rambo your way past the huge number of mobs waiting to cut you up into meat chunks. Often you’ll need to lure enemies little by little, on occasion using stealth, to overcome the opposition.
When the inevitable boss battles come though, all bets are off- you’ll need to dodge and use all the skills you build up as you play. But somehow, it’s still doable even to a klutz like me.

Controls though are very intuitive, relatively simple and very easy to get into. The gameplay it, most importantly, FUN and very rewarding. Once you get past the initial hours of frustration and settle into the game’s ‘rhythm’, you’ll just find yourself chuckling in sadness at those who are still struggling with getting into it. Now you realize, so THAT is what these Souls Players are all feeling…

One good thing about Bloodborne is the pretty straightforward Leveling Up system- gather enough Blood Echoes, you can level up back at your little headquarters (after some conditions are met). Every time you level up, you get a wee bit more resistant and resilient- it will surely make your character more powerful and hopefully the game a bit easier… maybe.
There’s TONS of gameplay, secrets and story to be had in Bloodborne, and even with the week’s worth of play I’ve had so far, I feel I’ve only just waded into this world’s bloody depths. This is truly a PS4 game not to be missed (perhaps the first real title on the console that is a true MUST PLAY), and I say if you haven’t yet tasted Bloodborne, you’re missing a lot.