Why the PS4's hardest game is also one of its best
Hey what's going on everyone?
I'm Jeff Bakalar and if I look a little weird it's because I haven't slept in about 30 hours.
I'm too busy playing Bloodborne.
One of the most infuriating, unforgiving, relentless games I've ever played, but it's awesome.
Help me talk more about the game, I'm joined by Gamespot's senior editor, Kevin VanOrd.
Thank you for joining me today sir.
Oh, it's my pleasure, thanks for inviting me.>> So when I talk about me being crazy about Blood Borne.
It's, a lot of people have come up to me and said, hey, Jeff, this game is too hard.
I can't play this game.
What do you have to say to those people?
I, introduce what Bloodborne is to those people, and why they should play it.
Bloodborne is a third-person action RPG that's built in a way in which you are supposed to die.
Over and over, in order to learn its patterns.
In order to learn how to progress, and so there is a lot of risk in moving forward into new areas, but there is also a lot of reward in doing so.
But it is, it is quite hard.
One hit from an enemy can take off a huge chunk of your life.
Or, as I found out the hard way, kill you entirely with one shot.
Oh yeah, that's, that's absolutely true depending on the enemy you're facing.
So, I guess for me, you know, I have a tough time explaining to someone who's a casual gamer who even maybe someone who's a seasoned gamer who plays a couple new titles a month and then they jump into something like Blood Born and it rips.
Their, their legs off, essentially.
How, how do you sort of give someone a tempered expectation about what they can experience in the game?
For me, I, I sort of say look, this is a game that honors the, the, you know, traditional sort of difficulty that.
The games of yesteryear used to, used to possess.
But now, you know, it's this sort of contemporary flair, if you will, that, that Bloodborne and some of the games made, made by these guys in the past have been able to achieve.
How, how do you, how do you all wrap it up?
I mean it, it.
The important thing to note I think is that it's always fair.
You'll see speed runs of, of this game, and, and games like Dark Souls from, you know, from, from people that can get thru the entire game without ever leveling up using their.
Using the starting weapon.
So it's important to note that you always have the tools to win.
You know it's, it's little stuff like learning how much space to put between you and the enemy, or, or how much, you know, how much distance the enemy can cover between you and him.
So, you know, you always have the tools to succeed, but it's, it's all about, not so much a reward from moment to moment, but like the tension leading to that moment.
And then getting the incredible reward when you finally, when you're finally victorious against a, a huge giant monster, the likes of which you've probably never seen.
That, that's a big thing for me.
I've played about, a little over 20 hours of Bloodborne, and after I got through that first boss.
It took me about 11 times or so and which I feel like is, is good, right?>>That's pretty good, ya.
The claric beast, is that the one you're talking about?>>Ya, the claric beast, this real ugly dude, and you know, I, I, I just, I, go, you know I got to the point where'd I'd done it and I was like wow.
I'm nowhere near a,any level of progression in this game at all.
For me it's, it's, it's, it's tough to, to have someone wrap their heads around that this is gonna be a game you have to do your homework on, that you have to commit on a level that you've never committed.
Maybe not just a game but in life, to anything like this before.
And I think for me it's that barrier to entry that is such a turn off.
And I think with Blood Born you get this sort of, weird juxtaposition where, you know, this is a game that's being advertised on a mainstream level.
It comes off as this, you know, easily accessible, maybe action, almost like a, a slash em up sort of game.
But then, you know, you, you look at it from the other end.
All right, you, you paid your $60, you, you boot up Bloodborne, and you are just pounded relentlessly.
For me, that's, that's the internal conflict that I experienced with this game.
What do you think about that?
Well I, I understand that.
I, you know, I'm coming from a place where I played all of the games that sort of led to Bloodborne.
Which are Demon Souls, Dark Souls, and Dark Souls 2 [UNKNOWN].
You, you have to kind of let the game teach you how to play video games all over again, because all of the things that you bring to it that you sort of filled your mind with, and sort of.
Wrapped your fingers around.
But that stuff doesn't work anymore.
And so [LAUGH] you have to kind of, you know, let the game speak to you, and sort of look at the intricacies, and, and, and for, sort of forget all of the things that you brought to the game, and and [INAUDIBLE].
You still are not told a, a, anything about the game.
Your not told what to do, your not told where to go.
How do you feel about that angle to the whole experience?
Well, I finished all on my own, [LAUGH]
and, and in, in about 60 hours.
But again, but again, it's important to note that I come in with a pretty rich experience with the all the games that came up to it.
So, so I, so I knew more or less how it was gonna work for me.
I'm curious about Bloodborne's popularity.
I don't know if you've been messing around on Twitter today.
It's been trending for almost 15 hours.
What, what, what's going on?
This, this, none of these games have ever gotten this public sort of groundswell.
Why do you think Bloodborne's getting that treatment?
People, I mean, people love it.
And, and part of it is that it's, it's still fairly singular.
I mean, it does come from a tradition that, that ac, that sort of started with Demon's Souls, and went to Dark Souls, so, but, it's not really a tradition that made its way into other mainstream games.
And, and I think there's another part of it too, which is you're, you're talking about a console exclusive.
You're talking about something that's.
Only on the PlayStation 4. And by very nature, I mean, I mean, you know how it goes in, in the world of system wars and things like that.
People really care about their system exclusives.
And I, I think those, those two things combined especially when this is the first game from From Software, that's the, the developer of Bloodborne and, and Dark Souls, and those other games I mentioned.
This is the first one that takes it into a new thematic territory.
So, the other games were, were all.
They were all, you know, dark medieval fantasy.
And this takes place in sort of a more.
There's sort of a more Victorian London.
Semi steampunk vibe to it.
And so, you know, we, you, you got that formula, but you've taken it to a new place, and, there are enough tweaks to it to, to make it seem legitimately different from, from the games that led to it.
I, I read your review, you obviously like it a lot.
Is there anything.
That you would sort of knock against it?
I mean one of those things is, is, one of the the new things to, to this series of games is something called Chalice Dungeons.
So these are sort of standalone, procedurally generated dungeons that you can create by performing a particular ritual within the game.
And, they're, they're a little problematic.
And if you don't keep up with them as you play through the, the main storyline, you can end up running into some problems, because they don't scale to the difficulty.
So you may have to go back and play a whole bunch of really easy dungeons.
And when something's really easy in Bloodborn it's honestly not all that much fun because it takes the tension out of the game.
And, and the game thrives on tension.
So without that, you, you sort of miss out plus the glitches and, and I will say that it's been a while since I've played a game with loading screens this long.
As a game, it's amazing, as a piece of software maybe not quite.
Sure, yeah, the, the lo, I found the loading times to be a little suspicious as well.
Sounds like they're working on it, but we'll have to wait and see how the dust settles and hopefully that improves.
Kevin VanOrd, ladies and gentlemen.
Thanks so much for being here, bud.
That's gonna do it for me.
Make sure you read Kevin's review over on Game Spot.
And read my piece on CNET as well.
Follow me on Twitter on Jeff Bakalar, tell me what you think of Bloodborne, and we will see you guys next time.