Bloodborne throws a lot of challenges at you, but few are as traumatising as the gosh-darned snakes.
Bloodborne has a really excellent gating system, ramping the difficulty notch by notch, forcing you to learn new skills.
After the fun and games of my initial wrestle with Bloodborne, things really kicked off. The day I beat the Cleric Beast I pushed on through to Father Gascoigne, whom the community have renamed Papa Guacamole, and got him down to less than 10 percent health before being slaughtered, mostly because I got a bit excited about my success and immediately became careless and cocky.
I didn’t have a second go that night, as it was getting pretty late, but came back to it the next day. Like an idiot, though, I first went on Reddit and browsed a bunch of threads discussing the fight.
By this stage the game was available more widely, and early players were full of woe regarding Papa Guacamole. Even though I had very nearly beat him on my first go, this put the wind up me. Looking back on it, Papa G really isn’t that big a deal; the other Hunter characters you’ll meet are much, much harder, and for some reason I personally don’t find Hunter battles as hard as many of the other bosses.
Bloodborne boss fights are laughably easy in co-op. It’s already pretty simple to beat most of the early and even some of the later bosses by getting behind them and refusing to budge; with two people able to keep the boss turning and distracted, it can be a breeze.
Still, I suddenly lost all my confidence again. This is a pretty common pattern for me: ignoring all evidence and lessons learned to assume I’m not good enough. Luckily, the network patch had come out, so I thought I’d try to figure out how to use co-op – purely in the interests of assessing its quality, hem hem.
Multiplayer in Bloodborne doesn’t work spectacularly well. It can be very hard to get a match, even when you do all the right things. This is sort of on theme, but pretty annoying for players who just want to co-op all the way through – easy mode, to be elitist, but also a great deal of fun. It’s probably not what Hidetaka Miyazki intended, though.
Regardless, I did eventually get a match, who turned out to be a YouTuber I was able to track down on Twitter and thank for their help. We smacked that guy like a pro. Here I discovered that Bloodborne boss fights are laughably easy in co-op. It’s already pretty simple to beat most of the early and even some of the later bosses by getting behind them and refusing to budge; with two people able to keep the boss turning and distracted, it can be a breeze. That’s presumably why some of the later and most hated bosses have complicating factors – but more on that later.
Smacking Papa G was pretty satisfying, I have to say, although I soon wished I’d not done it – it turns out this is one of the key moments in the game. The Cleric Beast is an optional boss (!) and it is Papa G who represents a major gate; defeating him opens the Cathedral Ward, a key hub for the rest of the game, and by defeating him you trigger new events.
I thought I’d explored Central Yharnam pretty thoroughly by this stage, but it turned out I’d missed something pretty major – Eileen the Crow, who hangs out near the main entrance to the sewers and introduces you to the Hunter of Hunters covenant as well as a gesture and eventually some sweet loot.
My errors didn’t stop there, actually. Instead of thoroughly exploring the Cathedral Ward, I wandered straight off to Old Yharnam to face the Blood-starved Beast, permanently aggro-ing Djura. I stand by this approach, which is also the one presented in our Bloodborne guide and walkthrough, as Djura isn’t that great, and there is so much good loot to be had from this route.
If you put off the Blood-starved beast till after Rom, when you can get to him via the Darkbeast Paarl in Yahar’gul Unseen Village, you can’t go to the Healing Workshop and collect all the important stuff there. No Ludwig’s Holy Sword until after Rom?? Piss off.
Anyway, Old Yharnam makes a lot of sense, as the difficulty ramps up just slightly from Central Yharnam, whereas Hemwick Charnel Lane and the Forbidden Woods are gosh-darned nightmares.
So: the Blood-starved Beast. Now that was eye-opening. This was the first boss I encountered with a complicating factor: it inflicts poison on you. I called in a co-op buddy after a couple of attempts on my own, not knowing the Pungent Blood Cocktails cheese, and with a friend in tow it was more than manageable.
But alone? Alone, I nearly shat my pants. The Beast moves so fast! It hits so hard!
Next: learning some hard lessons