I recently bought a PS4 Slim and, as required by the Playstation terms of service and user agreement, immediately went out and bought a copy of Bloodborne, From Software’s excellent 2015 Playstation 4 exclusive.
I have now sunk a good amount of time into the game (my first playthrough of many hopefully) and feel like I have a handle on how I should play it. With that being said, it was not as easy to grasp as I thought it would be.
Since I am a Souls veteran I expected the game to play like any other Souls game. I assumed that because the game is made by the same developer and has similar systems in place, it shouldn’t be too different.
Yeah I know. I was wrong.
Now this isn’t a post about Bloodborne tips or tricks, the game has been out for close to two years now, there are already hundreds all over the internet. There is no need for more. This is just me sharing the mistakes I consistently made, as I was banging my head against the beginning of the game, for your reading enjoyment. Ones I made so often I actually noticed them (as a player I usually don’t notice mistakes I make while playing a game that, as a viewer, just seems so obvious while watching).
I’m gonna break these mistakes down into smaller bite-sized pieces then expand if anyone is interested in consuming more.
(I apologise in advance if it ends up sounding like a tips and tricks article. That isn’t the intention)
The first mistake I made, and probably the most egregious, was
Not being aggressive enough:
The game’s combat is built on being fast and aggressive whereas in Dark Souls you usually turtle up and take your time when fighting enemies. It’s very slow and methodical. Almost surgical in its execution. You wait until an opening presents itself, attack and then back off with your shield up and wait for the next opportunity. It’s really not aggressive at all. Being too aggressive usually results in getting you killed in Dark Souls.
However in Bloodborne you literally have no shield (you find one but it’s utterly useless) so you can’t hide behind it, taking hits until you can counterattack. You have to bait out the attack, dodge it and then attack. Its how the combat works.
When you take damage you can consume blood vials to regain health but they are limited and can run out very quickly, as well as they don’t give you a lot of health back. The best thing you can do to get health back is to use the regain system, which leads me to my next point.
Not using the regain system:
This was probably the hardest for me to stop doing. Every time I take damage I instinctively run away and heal because that’s what you learn to do in Dark Souls. If you don’t get away and heal, you die. But in Bloodborne, for a few seconds after you get hit, you have a chance to regain the lost health. You do this by hitting an enemy right after taking damage. This is called the regain system, it is a new and unique mechanic to Bloodborne. Each time you deal damage you gain a small amount of health back. This links to my first point on being aggressive. To take full advantage of the regain system you have to be aggressive in the way that you play. It’s really cool because, if you are good enough, you can regain all your health back that you lost. It was really hard for me to stop trying to run away and heal but to attack instead when I took damage. It just goes against everything I have learnt from Dark Souls.
Using my blood vials unnecessarily:
As mentioned previously, they are your healing items and each time you use them you only gain a small amount of health back. It doesn’t fully heal you. So if you are low on health you would need to use several to get back to full health. The biggest disadvantage to them is that they don’t replenish at a lantern (this game’s version of a bonfire). You only get them (reliably) from enemy drops. You can find them throughout the world but they don’t reappear after you collect them, so farming is an annoying but necessary requirement every now and then. You also have a limit on how many you can carry at any one time although if you find more than you can carry, the excess vials get sent to your storage where they stockpile. I find that I run out pretty quickly when I enter a new area because the enemies are usually stronger and I spend a lot of time exploring all the nooks and crannies. I really don’t like seeing that infamous YOU DIED screen so I heal often and, a lot of times, unnecessarily when I should have used the regain system instead. When I finally do reach the next boss, I like to go back and farm so that I have vials for the many attempts it will take for me to beat it. (sigh) Boss battles consume so many vials.
Not getting to the first boss soon enough:
Every time that I die in a Souls game I always go and try get my souls back. I did the same here in Bloodborne and found myself stuck in a dangerous loop. I would fight my way forward, die, fight my way back to recover my lost blood echoes, die and then repeat. I ended up not progressing at all. Plus I couldn’t upgrade my character either. Eventually I just said screw it and ran through the level trying to unlock something or just progress even a little so I could get out of this sad and frustrating loop. I ended up getting to the boss, thereby unlocking upgrades, dying and then finally being able to upgrade my character’s stats. This was really when I started to make progress. But it took me so long before I did this.
Completely ignoring my weapons:
I never knew you had to repair weapons until I explored the Hunters Dream (I was so excited to play I jumped straight back into the world after choosing my starting weapons). When you rested at a bonfire in Dark Souls 2 your weapon’s durability was automatically restored (if it wasn’t broken). In the first game you had to repair weapons otherwise they broke but because weapons generally come pretty consistently as you play the game, you don’t need to think of repairing until you have settled on a weapon you are thinking of taking all the way to the end.
There are usually so many weapons in the Souls’ games that you know not to upgrade the first ones you use because there are always better weapons later on. So I didn’t upgrade my weapons at first, thinking I would get better ones later on in the game. This was not the case as I realised hours into my first playthrough. I still had the same weapons I chose in the beginning (the threaded cane and hunter pistol if anyone is curious). I finally ended up upgrading them out of frustration and it helped out a lot, especially against the first boss (Since then I have found several weapons but I am still very partial to my beloved threaded cane). Another good reason to repair weapons is that weapons with less durability deal less damage to enemies.
Those are all the mistakes I found in my playthrough so far. Let me know in the comments if you have any you experienced that I didn’t touch upon in this post. I would love to hear them!
This originally appeared on my blog Airship. If you liked it then come on in and take a look.