SURVIVING YHARNAM’S MACABRE PAST
BLOODBORNE: THE OLD HUNTERS, REVIEWED
SOME MASOCHISM, FOR OLD TIMES’ SAKE
As I have never personally played Demon Souls, Dark
Souls or Dark Souls II,
Bloodborne was my first exposure to From Software’s recipe for ripped out hairs, broken controllers (and furniture, on occasion) and brutal rage quit stories. That was when my pride as a gamer was first shattered, but also when I felt the extreme ease – by comparison, anyway – of games like the Monster Hunter and Phantasy Star series. And now with The Old Hunters expansion, it’s pretty much the same story. Only, The Old
Hunters now makes the base game feel like a walk in the park, as homicide-inducing as it already is.
The expansion adds quite a lot of content to Bloodborne, with new weapons, bosses, NPCs, and a story arc that feels like well over half the base game. Taking place in the Hunter’s Nightmare, you visit a version of Yharnam that is seen by hunters who have lost themselves to the bloodlust of the hunt. And the very first foe you encounter is one such hunter – a generic, respawning one at that, wielding what is likely the first weapons that you’ll find added in the expansion. As you progress, you’ll encounter different flavors of difficulty, from hard-hitting ones that can take some punishment (like the respawning hunters) to weak ones that come in massive mobs.
OLD HUNTERS GIVING YOUNG BLOOD NEW TOYS
Some of the newer weapons feel like hybrids of existing weapons found in the base game, while others feel quite fresh. My personal favorite is the Rakuyo, which crosses the dual-wielded Blade of Mercy and the Chikage in its saber stance. It’s nowhere as fast as the former, and uses as much stamina as the latter, but you get the latter’s stagger power and range with the relentless flurry of the former. And then there’s the Fist of Gratia, a crude iron block used as a brass knuckle in place of your sidearm, because why not?
The Old Hunters also adds further content to the base game, namely in the form of The League. This faction is as mysterious and as (un) trustworthy as the others in the base game, but oddly enough has a focus on cooperation. Along with that, certain points (typically before a boss battle) are added into the game where you can summon NPC hunters to help you, at the cost of one Insight. They serve as a useful distraction, but they are nearly as fragile as you are. So unless you’re pulling your own weight, your Insight will go to waste.
In your face! Again!