Bloodborne - Demon's Souls Spiritual Successor's Spiritual Successor


It’s tough to know. The game does have lots of skeletons and zombie-like creatures. But more emphasis on werewolves and other beasts. Some here like the setting, but I personally don’t care for it. The gameplay feels similar to Dark Souls, but also quite different. There’s no shield, so the emphasis is on attacking and dodging, and as I learned yesterday, “parrying” using your pistol in your left hand.

The creatures you fight tend to get quite big, so a lot of times it’s tough to see how you’re hitting them or they’re hitting you because of the awkwardness of the camera. It’s nowhere as clean a look and feel as the Souls games, that’s for sure. Even Dark Souls 3, which has the same amount of graphical detail, is less problematic in terms of visual clutter and things blocking your view of your character, or shiny surfaces all over the place that might or might not be messages or loot.

With that said, I am enjoying it. It is more of the type of gameplay that’s in the same vein as Souls games, even if they don’t want your blocking. And exploration can feel overwhelming at first, but becomes manageable over time.

I personally wouldn’t recommend getting a PS4 to play it. But if you already have a PS4, then I’d recommend checking it out, as it’s really cheap nowadays. I rented it when it first came out, and I recently bought it for $9 used.


It’s a Souls game with a stronger focus on aggressive play styles. You can’t turtle your way through this one. It’s also Gothic/Lovecraftian horror v. the medieval fantasy setting of the typical Souls game. It somewhat lacks build diversity but has much more creative and interesting weapons. Personally it’s my favorite “Souls” game.


I just started replaying this game to check out the DLC. I’m really pleasantly surprised to find that this is my favorite Souls game as well. I thought I missed the build diversity, shields, and slower play styles of Dark Souls, but playing this so close to Dark Souls 3 makes it evident how much better the combat feels. The level design gives this brilliant succession of losing your bearings right before finding a shortcut to somewhere familiar. It makes the environments feel messy and organic, and nails the madness of the theme. Also the execution of the themes is so much more interesting then at least the last two Dark Souls games (it’s been long enough I don’t quite remember the first). With all the weird stuff that happens with insight, the progression of the enemies (you keep seeing the same enemies revisited in strange ways), and the progression of the environments, this game nails some Cthulhu feels better then anything else I can think of. What a great game! So happy I’m revisiting it.


Yeah it really is quite good. I’ll probably go back to it for a 4th session (of multiple playthroughs).

The blood vials, chalice dungeons, and multiplayer keep it from being my favorite in the series, but the things it does do well might be the best in the series: single-player, memorable weapons, and theme.


I found myself at the second headstone! Yay!

But first, I backtracked and tried to take on those three hooded enemies I found on the other side of the Grand Cathedral, one at a time this time.

The hooded hunter with the electric prod weapon was soooooo much fun to fight. Dodging, “parrying” (shooting at the last second), charged heavy attack, light attack, jump attack, I was using it all, and after a few attempts, I finally got it. It felt so good. Definitely my favorite fight in the game so far.

And then the second hooded hunter had a rifle with a wide spread, and oh man I hate this fight. I’ve died a few times, and I’m losing all my blood vials, so maybe I’m just not ready for this fight yet. Trying to find a tree to hide behind so I don’t get shot, and then trying to get one or two hits before I get repeatedly shot again is just no fun. Ranged weapons when I use them seem pretty worthless (except for parrying), but ranged weapons in the hands of the enemy seem really effective because they have limitless ammo.


Enemies’ ranged weapons seem to do more damage and seem more likely to stagger as well. It makes hyper aggressive play even more important, I think. Endurance often feels like the most important stat in souls games but even more so in Bloodborne because of how much it rewards aggression. You can never have too much stamina.


Yeah a lot of this game is based on stunlocking, even more than Dark Souls if I recall correctly. And for enemies that don’t get stunlocked, that’s when you break out the well-timed charged R2s, parries, or quick-steps.

The shotgun hunter is very challenging. I find it hard to brute force him even when I’m cruising through the game.


The area behind the second headstone is really coming into its own now. I’m still only at one lamplight, but I love the way I first unlock one shortcut, and then another shortcut back to that same original lamplight. So you get that sense of progression even though you’re not at a second lamp yet.

Visually this new area took me a while to get acclimated with. Seeing the lamps on the ground from a distance makes them look like loot, the steam vents all over the place look like messages. Just like the first area had its visual noise, this one has a lot of it too. Once your eyes and brain get used to it, you start seeing the area much more clearly, and then it becomes less visually stressful to fight through. Now that I’ve gotten to that stage, I’m really liking it.


So that previous area turned out to be a dead end, but it unlocked a tool at the hunter’s dream for me, so that’s nice.

I had to go online to find out where to go next. It said I had to use the password I’d learned. Long ago, I did remember a place that asked for a password where my only possible reply was to keep silent. But damned if I could remember where that was. I looked up several text descriptions of where to go, and they only managed to confuse me. Finally I looked up a youtube video. Oh! Why didn’t anyone say it’s directly behind where you unlock the gate where you buy a key from the vendor for, and then turn left?

Anyway, so now I got to the Forgotten Woods, and I had a great session this morning. I love that feeling of danger when you have slow progress as you die, but you learn from it and come back and retrieve the blood echoes you lost last time, and you slowly encroach into the new area. And then there I was, on the bed of a lake filled with poison. I had done the bottom of blighttown, I could do this right? I glanced up at my count: I had over 60k blood echoes accumulated. I had a feeling I probably couldn’t get this far again if I died here, to retrieve all these. Should I risk going into a lake of poison or go back and bank my blood? Forward it is!

Oh no! There’s more in the lake than just the big guy I’m fighting! Holy shit! Antidote! Antidote! Nooooooooo!

Great area. I love it. And yes, I lost all those blood echoes. But unlike Dark Souls 2, things don’t de-spawn so that’s okay. It’s a temporary setback, not a permanent loss.


Apologies for the triple-post, though it seems I might be the only one actively playing the game these days, so maybe it’s to be expected.

There’s a move in this game that I pull off sometimes that I love, but I can never pull it off on purpose. It always happens accidentally, and when it does, I’m always delighted.

Usually when an enemy comes at me, and I know they’re going to swing, I try to dodge out of the way and then do a quick strike. Now, whether I hit depends on a couple of things. First, how far did I dodge, and how far did they lunge when they tried to hit me. If I dodged and they lunged such that we’re too far from each other, my quick hit will miss. Generally, that’s one of the reasons that I like the Axe as my main weapon. It has a long enough reach even in its short form that I generally hit in this scenario. Let’s say 80% of the time, which is very good.

However, sometimes I do this, and I don’t roll out of the way, I just kind of sidestep when I hit direction+Circle, and when I hit quick-strike (RB), I actually sidestep back to my original position and then hit them. This is delightful because I dodge 100% of the time, and then I hit 100% of the time when somehow pulling this off. Plus it looks cool when I’m doing it, and I look around and pretend I did that on purpose for any beasts and crazed citizens who happen to be watching close-by. You see that? I did that. And you’re next if you don’t watch it.


Surely you know about the step-dodge when locked on. I can’t remember if that does a “rolling” attack afterwards. If so it’s probably doing a little auto-aim for you.


I haven’t been able to reliably duplicate the move I’m talking about. Step-dodge when locked-on is a good name for it. She steps to the side, then steps right back before hitting. I seem to be doing the same thing (direction+circle and then RB), but sometimes it causes a roll and then attack, but other times the step-dodge-step-back-attack. As far as I can tell, what’s different is my intent. If I’m actively trying to do it, it doesn’t happen. But if I’m not thinking about it, it happens to my delight.


The only way you roll is when you’re not locked on. Maybe you’re accidentally pressing a stick down?


I’m still playing, though it’s my second playthrough. I’m currently one boss ahead of you (or maybe two?). EDIT: I’m enjoying reading your posts, please keep them coming!

And I agree with Tim. That move you’re looking for should only happen when you’re locked on and follows any step-dodge (not roll). It’s super useful with the axe due to its long reach and fast speed, however it’s also a really low damage attack. Make sure you’re locked on (white dot is over an enemy) and it should be reliable. There’s a pretty big window after a dodge where you will trigger that attack instead of your default opening.


I was really enjoying getting my ass kicked in the first part of the forgotten woods. Eventually I circled back and opened a shortcut that gives me instant access to the second section of the forgotten woods that have lots and lots and lots of snakes.

And I gotta say, I’m enjoying this section far less. If I play slowly and carefully, the snakes are easy to kill, but don’t give much experience and take some time. So when I get to the Resident Evil 4 enemies, if I do die to them, I have to slow and carefully make my way back there by killing those damned snakes again. It’s trying my patience.

The Resident Evil 4 enemies are interesting. I love the risk/reward of doing a charged strong attack on them. If you’re successful, you can take away most of their health in one hit, and then follow up with a few more hits to finish them off. However, if you’re caught in the act of charging up your attack, they can do a grab move where they kill you instantly in one hit. Of course, that does happen and is incredibly frustrating, so I might have to stop doing the charge attack on these guys.


I saw some shiny loot down in a valley below me on one run, so I jumped down to grab the loot. Interestingly, the valley didn’t allow me get back on the path I was taking before. Instead I ended up discovering X-files aliens and an elevator back to the forgotten woods lamplight. So I’ve got two paths I can take now. The boring snake path that I was not enjoying, and a new path. Sweet!

I think my absolute favorite part of this game is the emphasis on a small subset of weapons. The Souls games have too many goddamn weapons. Now granted, it does come down to a few classes of weapons, with variation within each class. But still, I’m really enjoying exploring the move set of just two weapons at a time. In this case Ludwig’s sword/big sword combo and the extendable axe. I’m also enjoying the fact that I’m actually actively using moves other than the light/quick attack, which is pretty much the only move I feel is practical most of the time in the Souls games. But both the heavy attack and the charged heavy are very useful in Bloodborne. I’m even tempted to try to use the jump attack sometimes that’s in Souls games and this game. But it’s still too fiddly to try to rely on, plus it doesn’t do enough extra damage to risk the fiddliness of it.

Still, the charged heavy attack has always been one of my favorite attacks in arcade action adventures in the past, so I love seeing it in Bloodborne. In every game that has the charged attack, I love the tension of great damage payoff vs risk and vulnerability of not getting the attack off in time.


The long, boring, busy second section of Forgotten Woods might be my least favorite part of the game, aside from the chalice dungeons.

You seem to be on the right track with your analysis of the weapon system. You’re using two of the best PvE weapons too.


I am paused my Bloodborne playthrough right after finishing everything but the final endgame path and the DLC. I do want to pick it back up again, probably after the Witcher 3 DLC and I get back from vacation.

I really liked the Forgotten Woods and the shortcuts there, kinda surprised I appear to be alone in those sentiments.


I enjoyed the first path in the Forgotten Woods. Just not the second path. I’ll try the third path tonight. I do love how they design the levels so that they double back to shortcuts to the original lamplight again and again. It reminds me of Dark Souls that way. (As opposed to Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls 2).


I attempted the Shadows of Yarnum fight yesterday. I happened to have a co-op NPC companion with me at the time I did the first run. A complete coincidence, since I had no idea there was a boss fight coming up. During that run, I had defeated one of the enemies, had one down to a tiny sliver of health, and the final one down to a tiny sliver of health. The giant snakes popping up out of the ground was unexpected though, and they killed me pretty fast.

Then knowing what I was up against, I brought out one of the 20 Madman’s Knowledge in my pocket to gain insight that I needed to summon this particular NPC. It tasted squishy, and I would have preferred it cooked, but there’s never a time when brains are not delicious, so it was tempting to eat more than one at a time, but I resisted.

Unfortunately my 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th runs were much less productive. On some of them my NPC companion died and then the three made quick mincemeat of me. On some of them I got tangled up in flame, other times I got sliced and diced with a vengeance. So I took a break.

This morning I decided to try the run solo for the first time, and get some practice in. I only had 14 Madman’s delicious brains left, after all. The solo runs were an absolute disaster. I even watched a couple of Youtube videos of other people doing it solo. One guy relied on his gun to do visceral hits only. Another one killed the fireball guy first to get the ranged attacker out of the way. Another one got rid of the main sword guy first. But in all cases, I didn’t really understand why they weren’t getting swarmed while attacking one of the three. The other two just missed or stood around obligingly for long periods. In my attempt, all 3 of them were coming after me pretty hardcore all the time. If I ever attacked one, I’d get hit and interrupted by one of the other two. (Also I noticed that people’s health bars in these videos tended to be at least twice as big as mine, so they’re doing this fight with a LOT more vitality than me).

Anyway, I decided to try it co-op again, and my NPC coop buddy kept the candle-holder occupied, and that was enough for me. I made quick work of the swordsman while dodging flames, and then brought down the fireball guy too. And by then my buddy had the flame thrower/sword guy down pretty low and I finished him off.

Bloody good cooperation feels satisfying I tells ya. I’ll continue from that lamplight later tonight.

I am a tad worried though, that only having my vitality around 19 is maybe going to be something I regret now that I’m nearing level 50 and the levels are each getting pretty expensive. I just thought going Endurance heavy was very useful early on.