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Bloodborne Mechanics: a challenge or a nuisance? My falling out with Fromsoft games, and everything I have to say about Fromsoft and its community.

I Didn't Like Bloodborne

I just started Bloodborne and I don't like it. I've beaten and played the DLCs for all the Dark Souls titles except for the DLCs of Ds3 in case your immediate assumption is that the game was too hard for me. I've played the game for about 2 days after owning it for about a month and I just can't enjoy it. There are reasons I don't though that are important when talking about games, so don't stop reading now.

Bloodborne is different from all the other Fromsoft games. It's not for everyone, and it's not for me. That's ok. But why isn't it for me? Because I like good games. Bloodborne has a lot of problems that are just hard to ignore for someone who is constantly thinking critically. I like playing a well designed game more than I like having fun, and Bloodborne is missing a lot of what made the other games good even though it's commonly praised as the best one.

A Challenge Of My Patience

Dark Souls gives you directions and a fair shake at first with clever game design, Bloodborne gives you nothing. When entering a Fromsoft game for the first time, we're expected to look nothing up and play completely blind, but when Bloodborne is played blind it feels as if you actually can't see. The first few experiences I had looking for the bosses were so insane that the greyness of the game probably left a permanent strain on my eyes. The bosses were done in a few tries and then I wonder aimlessly again. This might be fun for some people, but it isn't good. It's game design made to irritate you. It's not a challenge, it's a nuisance.

I probably sound like a casual to you right now, and yes, I am. I play for a thrill, not to run into brick walls. My problem doesn't lie within the difficulty aspect of the game though, it's the design and the overall consensus on the game. With all due respect, if you say Bloodborne is the best Fromsoft game you are actively lying to yourself. It's not the best, you just had the best time with it. In my opinion, Bloodborne is an amazing idea but a horrible game. Masquerading as a masterpiece using its difficulty as an excuse for bad design.

I really want to get this idea into your head: while a lot of things can be difficult in a game, that doesn't give it the right to be a pain. What I mean is, there is a difference between wanting a challenge and wanting pain. A difference between having limited healing and having more time spent on the grueling task of farming for more healing. A difference between consistent evadable attacks and erratic combos that I've only seen be avoided with cheese.

Subjectivity Of The Fans

I saw moistcr1tikal play Bloodborne. He used a pretty cheesy build. And I know by this point I sound like I'm just extremely salty that he said Bloodborne was the best From game, but that's an understatement, I was hysteric. Why was it the best? Was it because he said Orphan was the hardest boss in the series, is that why? Is that the only criteria we're basing this on? How long it took to beat a boss? He seemed to be breezing through the game, whirlygigging through all the boss's poise, even calling most of the DLC bosses easy on the second phase. He killed Ludwig so fast he didn't even hear his soundtrack. He drilled through Lady Maria in a few seconds and said "Cool boss" afterwards. Maybe that's it, it's cool.

And maybe moistcr1tikal isn't the best representation of people's opinions on the game, but it shows the problem with how the mainstream are beginning to play Fromsoft games and praising every bit of them for being different.

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My Falling Out With The Games

Unfortunately, this was a biased review. I've had a recent falling out with the Soul-series after trying and failing to platinum the original Dark Souls, only getting 77%. I was determined on getting all achievements, joining every covenant and trying to upgrades weapons over two new-game+ cycles. But I started to notice things I hadn't noticed before. Items were put in deathtraps, were only boning away could save you if you had the poise. Cheesy mechanics like over powered pyromancies becoming more prevalent. Item locations you'd realistically have no way of finding. Of course you could just defend this by saying "it's Dark Souls, it's supposed to be hard", but that still doesn't make it right. I've heard the phrase "tough but fair", "not hard for hardness sake" thrown around so many time. That's a common thing in the community, the same phrases are always thrown around when games like Dark Souls 2 are brought up, and they're all untrue. Souls and Bloodborne are hard to be hard, to attract people who like to play hard games. Difficulty was the intention, it's literally in the name and is probably why Dark Souls was ever made after Demon's Souls in the first place.

This experience even started to make me wonder if Dark Souls was ever good in the first place and if it was just my immaturity and pride in beating them that lead me to praise it.

My Falling Out With The Community

I have a problem with the people who say "Dark Souls 2 is the worst souls game but a good game." Because not only are they just blatantly using someone else's argument and sometimes even out of context, but also because they're right in their own way for the wrong reason. If something as clunky, unbalanced and unfocused as the original Dark Souls is the best souls game, then they are completely right. I hate this argument because it's so easy to make and it says nothing about the quality of the games. It's just a fancy sounding sentence.

The community seems to also tunnel all the hate of the souls-series onto Dark Souls 2 even though most of if not all the problems there are in all the other games as well. It seems as if some of the community is very easily manipulated, the hate train for Dark Souls 2 beginning when Mathewmatosis made his video and most of the arguments against the game just directly copy and pasted from that video. I always watched a video from Dhimitri Monroe on the subject and got deja vu from some of the points I see stolen and pasted onto comments of other videos and posts. A lot of the examples of bad hitboxes I see are conveniently the same examples MauLer used in his videos. My opinion of them being that terrible hitboxes exist mostly evenly throughout the whole series, it's just the slow pace of Dark Souls 2 that makes it more noticeable, which still makes it a problem. It's a problem in all communities, people are lazy, but if you're going to go out of your way to challenge yourself in a video game you might as well challenge yourself by making your own argument instead of stealing one.

These points all contributed to my falling out with the community. Which game is the worst and which game is the best seems to be the main talking points when the answer is pretty obvious. They're all really bad games but good souls games. There, a fancy sentence for you to copy and paste.

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Conclusions

So I guess the best thing to do is to take a break from Fromsoft games until Elden Ring comes out. It's just so disappointing. I was told Bloodborne was the pinnacle of Fromsoft games, that it was going to revitalize my love for the series, but in the end it just reminded me of all the reasons I hate them now.

tl;dr.

Basically, none of these games are amazing, they're just good. I think the hype for Dark Souls and Bloodborne will dry out and other better souls-likes will get the spotlight. These games purposely implement unfair mechanics and pains other than challenges in their games and mask it as clever design. They get old. Liking it is fine but calling them masterpieces is an insult. If anything, these are good stories, not good games.

Specific Grievances

This is the part where I describe some of the problems I had with Bloodborne more specifically.

  1. Vagueness – This problem lies more with the praise the vagueness gets and less the vagueness itself. To me, the vagueness comes off to me as lazy storytelling. Being confused on what everything is and where to go and relying on outside sources is bad game design. An example of this that made me have a panic attack is what you're supposedly supposed to do after BSB. You go back to the Hunter's Dream and by a $10,000 piece of cloth. No hint of a hint of this existed in the game, and if it did, then I apologize for thinking like a human.
  2. Combat – The combat wasn't all bad, I was just disappointed after hearing how much greater it was than the other games. It's not, gaining health from hitting the enemy is only a little clever and only matters when your not getting hit or already staggered. It doesn't inspire more aggressive combat, it inspires R1 spamming after you've been hit and 0 strategizing. It's not genius "play conditioning" if it's the only viable way to play.
  3. Blood Vials – Yes I get it, it makes the game harder, but it's boring and I hate it.
  4. Erratic Boss Attacks – Something Dark Souls 2 and 3 do well is making incoming attacks predictable in where and when to dodge. Bloodborne seems to throw this out the window in favor for a more fast place gameplay where getting hit is part of the fight. I don't like getting hit and I never will and memorizing the subtle queues for attacks is unreasonable and unintuitive.
  5. Trivializing the Experience – This is a problem in every game where a single weapon can breeze you through the whole game, or a simple strategy trivializing an entire boss. It's fun at first until you get to a point where you always cheese the boss and actually fighting it becomes a drag. An example of this is full havels on 4 kings, and pretty much full havels on any boss in ds1.
  6. Blood Gem System – This system is needlessly confusing and I've watched many videos explaining it. I'm more confused onto why this and the Chalice dungeons were added in the first place, it feels like an experimental mechanic that was never finished.
  7. Roll Jump – I think it was the Dhimitri Monroe video that said stick jumping was worse than circle jumping. How? How is there anything worse than jumping every time you want to roll after running?
  8. Bosses – The bosses in this game blur together. I R1 spam and then their dead. No challenging stamina management or timed dodging like in Souls. Viscerals are cool but I've found that actually earning one by parrying a boss almost never works, the game just gives them too you. Witches of Hemwick really surprised me and made me wonder how ds2 is said to have the worst bosses.
  9. Color – Everything in this game blurs together. You can say it's intentional but it seems like every flaw of this game is intentional when you ask a Fromsoft fan. The sky is colorful and that's about it. You can rarely actually tell areas apart unless you've been through them hundreds of times. You could just say I just don't get it, but even so it's a negative for the game.
  10. Linearity – The game feels very linear with maze like architecture to trick you into thinking otherwise. Either way you're fighting everything in the same order anyway unless you're doing some weird challenge run. Just because things aren't placed in a straight line doesn't mean it's not linear, you're still hitting the same spots in the same order.
  11. Regular Enemies – Admit it, when you play this game you never fight an enemy unless they're in the way of an item. The enemies in this game are placed solely to hinder your progress and a short game and give the illusion of longevity. This is an example of another nuisance that's falsely referred to as a challenge. Hindering the player's progress is more punishing than a challenge and goes against the idea of playing a game in the first place. Fighting enemies in this game is not very fun because of how much you're punished along the way for making a mistake, taking a single hit of damage costing a blood vial you could've used later. Dark Souls already solved this with Estus and Dark Souls 2 solved this problem when exploring larger stretched out areas with life-gems. Not is it annoying that the enemies exist, they're also annoying to fight, notably the bigger ones, lacking any limit in their poise.
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Our God, Miyazaki (Rant)

This goes along with my problems with the community. It seems everywhere I go, every critical video I watch, it's this same sentence: it's what Miyazaki intended. I'm not a game developer, I'm not even smart, but I know for sure with all of my dark soul that Miyazaki doesn't make every little decision in the game making process. They have a couple of years to make these games, it's very unlikely that one person is coming with the stat systems, every ring effect, every boss design, the amount of iframes in a role, how poise works, everything all by themselves. Every time I hear someone praise Dark Souls mechanics or lore it's always them saying how ingenious Miyazaki was for adding this. There are 7 designers, look it up. Programmers exist, artists exists. Stop thinking that Miyazaki is an Omnipotent being making every decision. I'm pretty sure this started as a meme where people would blame the shortcomings of pvp on Miyazaki, but now it seems like some people really believe he does everything.

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