Bloodborne – The Old Hunters (DLC)
Tea: Sage Tea
It is a phenomena that a DLC gets released that actually seems worth your money. Mostly the unfinished game gets tossed out onto the market and bit by bit the content follows in the months to come. Bloodborne was and is regarded by me as one of the best games this year. The game felt complete when I first finished it and yet DLC was announced. Naturally I was critical and the high price certainly didn’t help. Usually planned as two separate expansions this DLC could potentially spit on the name Bloodborne has made for itself or contribute to an already amazing game. Let’s see whether this hunt is worth pursuing.
The Old Hunters expansion is set in a nightmare where hunters end up to fall victim to their lust for the hunt for all eternity. What is hidden in this nightmare is entirely up to you to find and figure out, since – as always in a Souls-game – the real story is hidden in description, item placement, and world design. Overall The Old Hunters uses a balanced mixture of established locations with a new twist to them and entirely new places, which makes the DLC end up feeling fresh, while at the same time relying on your navigation of established places. However, sometimes the familiarity will be turned on its head and what you presumed to lead to one place might actually lead to another.
– Just one of the amazing areas found in The Old Hunters –
The enemies in the DLC are comprised of beasts and hunters alike and thankfully the two factions actually fight one another. Of course, both parties are also out for your blood, but seeing blood-drunk hunters face off against beasts is a sight to behold. There are also a lot of new enemy types introduced in this expansion, the hunters being one of them. And all of them are well balanced and meaningfully placed in the environment. That being said their pathfinding can sometimes be a bit iffy, since their agro range is apparently really small and enemies will lose interest rather fast. At one point this prevents the player from using cheap tactics to get through a room full of tough enemies, but in reality it simply means that most enemies can also be sprinted past.
– This hunter’s bloodlust will not stop him from slicing up his fellow hunters –
What Bloodborne might have lacked was a good weapon variety. Thankfully, the DLC is here to rectify this matter. Strength-weapons are lying around everywhere it seems, since there wasn’t a great number in the main game. But also skill-players such as myself will get a few weapons to try out and maybe stick with. In total there are 11 new trick weapons and 5 off-hand weapons. There are not two weapons that feel similar, such as the Saw Cleaver and Saw Spear in the main game. Remember in my first review when I talked about a potential twinblade that splits into two? Well, maybe that wish was finally granted in an amazing and stylish form. I had a lot of fun trying out the weapons and playing around with them. The designs are well thought out and will have something for everyone.
But what you are really here for are the bosses and let me tell you that you have come to the right place. 5 bosses in total and only one of them is a bit weak. It is more of a story-heavy boss anyway. All the other 4 are at first a seemingly insurmountable challenge. All of them have multiple phases that switch up the pace of the fight drastically. Along with it the soundtrack will also change in a similar manner as the Gascoigne fight from the main game. This audio feedback simply feels amazing to have in the background. You need to be concentrated throughout these fights to have the slightest chance of survival let alone victory. And not to spoil anything, but the types of bosses also covers all the different “races” of the main game, so there is variety to be had here as well. I would personally advise a melee weapon no-gun fight against all of them for a better and challenging time, since parry-fishing feels rather cheap and subtracts rather than adds to the experience. I had lots of fun spending 300 vials on a certain boss and I would not have it any other way.
– The first boss of the DLC will surely give you a rough time –
The Old Hunters is this rare piece of DLC that feels genuinely good at every turn. The environments are stunning and haunting at the same time. The Research Hall is a creepy hospital-like scenery that will put you on the edge of your seat with the constant sounds of footsteps and mad patients roaming around. While at the same time their fate might persuade you to rather avoid them than add to their misery. Or maybe your rightful slice will be more of an act of mercy on these poor souls. In any way, this was probably my favourite area out of the entire game and a lot of other games for that matter. It is intelligently designed and the atmosphere is stellar.
– The beautifully creepy and eerie Research Hall –
If it is not clear at this point you should defiantly get this expansion. It is one of the few that is actually worth your money, but at the same time doesn’t feel as if it was cut off from the main game to feed it back to you later. All of the environments and bosses are the best of what Bloodborne can offer and what makes it such a unique and captivating game. The tension only keeps rising as the influence of H.P. Lovecraft becomes more and more tangible which all culminates in a fantastic final boss that tests all your honed skills all in front of an amazing background. So get it, it is immensely fun and challenging.
Image sources in order of appearance:
- http://www.antifanboy.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/bloodborne-the-old-hunters-dlc-t.jpg (Last date of access: 03.12.2015)
- http://themisterholliday.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Bloodborne-The-Hunters-Nightmare.jpg (Last date of access: 03.12.2015)
- https://cdn3.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/no9aHTU3Ixxih-k6GsIkecK-WLM=/cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/4070278/ludwig_TheOldHunters_1442346823.0.jpg (Last date of access: 03.12.2015)
- http://www.spieletester.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/bloodborne_the_old_hunters_15092015_1.jpg (Last date of access: 03.12.2015)