05.15.15

Nightmare Slain

Posted in games at 1:31 am by wingerz

I’ve finished Bloodborne. Clocked in at 50 hours and 10 minutes over the course of 51 days. Since I have a full-time job and two young children, this basically meant getting one less hour of sleep a night for the past two months (further constraints on my schedule were placed by our 10 year wedding anniversary and Mother’s Day). It was all worth it. I’m happy to reclaim that hour of sleep but sad that it’s over – I’m already plotting a New Game+ run and maybe going through the game with another character.

This was my first Souls game. It was completely engrossing and beautifully designed. I played through it at night, in the dark. A few times I was startled by my wife or daughter coming into the room. The game makes you fight for every inch of progress; you learn the movements of every enemy and how all the different areas of the game world are connected. The pacing is nearly perfect – once you’ve made some progress you start getting very nervous about whether you should go on or run back to the last save point to cash in some Blood Echoes to level up (if you die, you lose them and get one chance to reclaim them in the spot that you died). Of course, just around the corner could be a door to unlock or elevator to activate that will be a shortcut back to the save point. I made my own maps, mostly due to paranoia of missing out on one of these shortcuts.

There is a whole other level of design that I was mostly oblivious too. The architecture and artwork in the game, the sound design (the music is pretty subtle; I didn’t even notice the lullaby that plays at the beginning of one of the last bosses), the item descriptions – I unfortunately have to say that I am not very perceptive on this front. It didn’t actually matter because the core mechanics and the world were so immersive. In addition to recommending the game to me, JR gave me some spoiler-free hints at where to go at certain points in the game; I probably would have bumbled my way through and missed out on some fun areas without his coaching.

Overall a remarkable game.