I took a co-op buddy into the Hemwick Witch anyway, because I’m not a masochist. That’s a great fight, and one that I think has been designed for co-op; splitting your efforts between taking down the Witch and taking down her decoys and eventually doubles is brilliant fun.
What a pleasant experience this whole section was, even with the riflemen and the Cleaver Brutes! I had learned many things, scored some sweet loot, and fought a really fun boss battle. It was with great joy in my heart that I tripped gaily back through the Cathedral Ward, collecting a bunch of keen treasures and generally having a wonderful time on my way to the Forbidden Woods.
If this were a multimedia presentation rather than prose, this paragraph transition would have included a thunder crack, and the darkening of sunny skies to deepest gloom. The Forbidden Woods are a hellhole.
The first bit of the Forbidden Woods isn’t so bad, you know? You wander around, take on a really huge pack of Henchmen, get annoyed by how dark and foggy it is, and spent some time crying over how hard the stupid poison pool bit is before delighting in opening the shortcut back to Iosefka’s Clinic. Getting through the cannon fire is kind of annoying, but not too tricky as long as you’re good enough to take down the baddies lurking in the houses on either side.
But then things start to go south. As you wander through the mill you come across a nasty Henchman whose head explodes into snakes.
Wow, I *hate* the Forbidden Woods.
— Biscuits Hellfire (@draqul) March 30, 2015
I have no problem with snakes. I’m an Australian. We have a lot of the world’s deadliest snakes, and we grow up knowing what to do about them (stay inside forever), so we can save all our fear for the spiders. But I greatly fear Henchman whose heads split into snakes and spit venom at you. I did not enjoy this encounter, or the next one.
Then we get to the really fun but. The final section of the Forbidden Woods is a horror fest from start to finish. Not only is it composed almost entirely of snakes, navigating it is very difficult. Video walkthroughs might be helpful, I guess, but none existed at the time I was trying it, and also I’m a deeply impatient person an therefore prefer prose.
I had an amazing adventure in this area. I got a bit lost, you see. I climbed up to the top of a rise and stared across the landscape, trying to get my bearings based on dead bodies, the glow of as yet unrecovered items, and a walkthrough which described every single direction as “left” with no indication of reference point.
Suddenly: snakes. Snakes had been slowly crawling towards me for goodness knows how long, and they had finally reached me.
I reacted with calm and grace, by screaming and dropping my control pad. My character tumbled down a cliff, and landed in a pit with two Giant Snake Clusters. I ran away, into the arms of two Mutant Henchmen. I ran away again, repeatedly stabbing myself with Blood Vials and screaming at the top of my lungs. I ran into two Giant Pigs, and then, two Cranium Creatures. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I found two more Cranium Creatures, and these two shot lasers at me.
All this took less than two minutes, and nothing I had met had been killed. By the time I stopped running, I was standing knee deep in a swamp, completely lost, sobbing and out of Blood Vials, convinced I’d aggro’d the whole area and it was coming for me.
“Why is everything here so horrible,” I wailed. “And why are there always two of the fuckers??”
I've been taking showers to help me calm down when #Bloodborne gets too stressful but it's getting a bit Lady Macbeth, washed down to BONE
— Biscuits Hellfire (@draqul) March 30, 2015
When I finally managed to navigate the Forbidden Woods, completely ignoring at least two items in my quest to GTFO ASAP, I approached the boss battle with great fear and trepidation.
I didn’t really expect to get a co-op buddy for this one, figuring the battle had to be as nasty as the snakey snake snake snake snake SNAKE fest I’d just endured, but someone popped up as soon as I rang my bell, so I didn’t say no.
The Shadow of Yharnam is another fun boss fight, and again, works really, really well in co-op, to the point where I didn’t feel even slightly bad about “easy mode”, because it’s super cool running interference on the three baddies as you co-ordinate your attacks in order to get them all down at the same time.
Having put all that behind me, I felt pretty good about Bloodborne. “I’m going to finish this,” I told myself, setting off to tidy up some sidwquests before the next stage of this game. “I’m going to finish this and play it again. This isn’t slowly killing me with stress poison chemicals in any way. It’s all fine.”
Once again: I was wrong.
To be continued.