Copyright Adam Schlosser

Copyright 2005 Adam Schlosser

Posted by Pip

F191- It Appears Hope Does Not Either

There are limits to Sloth's anti-gravity powers. Wet, making your shorts cling to you kind of limits. These are your gods, cave people! These are your gods.

Quick Critique: Bloodborne

I was hoping that by skipping the Dark Souls games, I could get back into the franchise with Bloodborne. That was very much not the case. Bloodborne is just Demon's Souls without the interesting characters and world. It has the same intro where you fight a way too strong monster so it can kill you quickly. The same lack of story telling. The same crappy camera. The same lousy hit detection where enemies that clearly did not touch you still do damage and your weapon can pass through an enemy without doing damage. The same nonsensical level design. The same way that enemies don't react to being sliced by your giant weapon. The biggest thing that jumped out at me was that now it has terrible controls that map your attacks to the the triggers and bumpers instead of the face buttons. I'm not asking for an easy mode, I just want some super basic usability things answered. How do I save and when is it safe to turn the game off? How do I level up? How do I access my storage? Is there a way to nicely compare stats because looking at equipment in the shop doesn't let you easily compare stats to what you already have equipped in a meaningful way. The answers to those questions are actually: I don't really know it just sometimes happens but if you go to the systems setting menu you can go back to the title screen which seems to do the trick, you can't for the first overly long section of the game, and that door that was locked in the first overly long section of the game just opens up for some reason even though the game doesn't give you any indication about that and you'd have no reason to run back up that hill to find out the door is now open, and the storage section is under a big shelf full of bottles so it doesn't really look like a storage area. Normally, you'd turn to an instruction manual to find out these answers, but BB doesn't come with one. It comes with an ad for The Order: 1886 instead. Handy! It does have a digital manual but digital manuals are the worst. You're trying to find information but you don't know where it is and you can't access it and have the game up at the same time, so you have to deal with a bad UI and there's loading time on every page turn.
Nothing about BB addresses things I didn't like about Demon's Souls and without the cool world, it just feels worse. BB has the same godawful leveling system where you get 1 stat point per level at increasing soul costs. I hate this way of doing level ups so much because each point doesn't feel like it makes much of a difference so just the process of leveling is unfulfilling and it means that taking a stat from 5 to 6 can cost as much as taking a stat from 59 to 60. Either have fewer, more meaningful stat increases or add a modifier for how much it costs to raise stats for moving from low to slightly less low is cheaper than high to even higher. And I did the same exact thing as in Demon's Souls where I picked a stat that looked helpful, sunk all my souls into that, and later found out that it wasn't really all that useful and I should have probably sunk all my souls into stamina. BB even looks worse. Yes, the graphics are technically nicer but everything is extremely brown and overly shiny but not in an "eww these hellbeasts are icky" kind of way, more a "did everybody oil up as part of selling your soul to evil?" kind of way. Dead bodies also freak out the physics engine with whole lots of twitching and getting caught on your feet. You can kill a lumbering giant of an enemy, but as soon as it dies, it loses its mass, crumbles to a twitching pile of bad physics engine, and gets tangled up in your feet as you walk, so you drag it around like it was light as paper until it finally wriggles free.
The fact that I did complete Demon's Souls probably contributed greatly to me not caring about BB. In DS, everything was new and you didn't know what could be around the next corner or where a little bit of story would sneak in and it helped that the levels were clearly defined as separate worlds. In BB, I know what's out there, I know I'm going to slog from area to area without knowing where or why I'm going that way outside of it just being someplace I haven't been yet, I know I'm going to bash my head against a wall on bosses with way too much health until I stumble upon the one gimmick you need to know to beat them and how to keep them from blocking the camera, I know that there will be little to no building of the story, and I know there will be no sense of making progress or completing goals because the world is all connected and unless you stumble upon the shortcuts, you're going to be running through the same areas over and over and over. In DS, you at least had a goal and you knew (or at least thought you did) what your enemy was. BB doesn't give you any sense of satisfaction when you beat a boss or get through an area. In DS, I knew that beating a boss meant I was done with that part of the world and that I had made real, demonstrable progress and was that much closer to my goal. Beating the first boss in BB gets you a checkpoint that's less convenient than the previous one you had and doesn't even open up the next area of the game. After beating the boss, you just turn around and go back the way you came. After several hours of playing BB, I didn't know who my character was, what its motivations were, why I was in that town, what was wrong with the people, who the people were, why everything wanted to kill me, how to stop it, or what my goal was. The game just plops you down, tells you that everything might be a hallucination, says "blood" A LOT, and sends you off to murder the same respawning enemies. That's not fun, compelling, or interesting to me in the slightest. I got up to the second (maybe?) boss and just couldn't bring myself to play it again, so I looked up spoilers online. The closest thing to a revelation in the story is that injecting yourself with strange blood from monstrous creatures is bad for you. That's not a plot twist, that's just basic common sense and something I assumed from the very start of the game so I wouldn't have even considered that as something to be revealed.
Bloodborne is just more of an already uninteresting game and not something I feel any need to experience again. The sole kind thing I can say about it is that the dead baby ghosts are kind of cute in their own little minion-y sort of way. So rock on, dead baby ghosts, you wear your fancy hats well.