DARK AND BLOODY: HOW GETTING INTO A GENRE MADE ME A BETTER OVERALL GAMER


No blood vials left, Kos gets a hit on me and takes me down to a small fraction of my health, while he still has over 1/4th of his. Each hit only does a small bit to his health, so I can’t get greedy. I back up and wait for my stamina to regen. Then I go for it! I roll in and swipe once, then twice. On the second swipe he starts up his attack, I wait patiantly….and at the right moment I roll through the attack. This is roughly my tenth time attempting to beat him so I have his attack pattern memorized. I role through his attack, then count to 2 and roll through another, then immediately roll forward behind him. I quickly incorporate arcane damage into my cleaver and hit him 3 more times. He falls over dead. Ten times, learning many different aspects of the fight and eventually putting them all together in a final stand. But most of all, it was patience. Patience I never used before.

This was my experience the other day on Bloodborne. As I finally finished the DLC and got within 1 trophy of the platinum it dawned on me: Bloodborne made me a better gamer. Nay, that genre made me better play and understand every other genre.

I WASTE MONEY

Many many years ago I picked up Dark Souls 1 on PlayStation 3. I played it for about 2 hours and got nowhere. Literally. I don’t think I leveled up at all and didn’t move locations. I gave up and never went back. Fast forward a few years to the release of Dark Souls 2. I still didn’t care about the game but I fell in love with the statue that came with the collector’s edition and ended up paying $120 for a game I didn’t even intend to play. It was with that game that I realized how much I liked the art style used in these games but knew the gameplay style was not for me.

Something to understand, Dark Souls took some commonly used elements of RPGs and Action games and fused them together creating new ways to play.  This new gameplay style created what the gaming world would accept as a new genre. Thus the terms “Souls-like” and “Souls Style” came to be normal. Games that get these phrases attributed to them generally use a similar combat style, are very rhythmic in combat, and are generally very difficult.

In 2014 we saw the announcement of a new game from Hidetaka Miyazaki, creator of Dark Souls. Bloodborne was to be a PS4 exclusive and have very similar gameplay to the Dark Souls series but a bit more fast paced. Naturally this was not the kind of game I would play. But that art style….. I fell in love with the gothic horror style used in the game, and to this day it may be my favorite art style in gaming. Since I like wasting money, I naturally picked it up. And I started it……and I sucked terribly. But I kept at it. After 10 minutes I was hooked, not for the gameplay but for the world. Seems like for the first time, my money wasn’t a waste on a game from this “Souls” genre.

TURNING BLOOD INTO SOULS

So I played Bloodborne more and more. Progressing through the game until one day it happens….the credits start rolling. I didn’t even realize it but I went entirely through that game in what felt like just a moment and was ready for more. I immediately started a second playthrough. I beat 1, maybe 2, bosses before putting the game down. I had other stuff to play and I gave that game its due diligence. I played what would end up being my 2nd favorite game of 2015, and it was a genre that I put down in the past for being “stupid” and “has no reason to be that hard”.

Fast forward to March 2016, in just 2 weeks Dark Souls 3 is to be released. I love the art and design the game is taking, and i’m interested in trying a souls game again. But I didn’t actually decide to get the game until roughly 3 days before the game came out. On its day of release I booted it up and right away I died. Then died again. Then died again. Then….I didn’t die. I started using what I learned from Bloodborne. Dark Souls was slower, and took longer to get used to, but it used the same concept. I was able to ease my way into it. In time I was able to get through the game (currently at the final boss of the game and the first boss of the newest DLC) and get pretty good at it.

BLOOD(RE)BORNE

About 2 or 3 weeks ago I decided to get back into Bloodborne. I was on my second playthrough and still needed to finish the DLC. So I hopped back in and found myself able to get right into the action again. I must have played another 50 hours now and realized that it is not only my favorite PlayStation 4 exclusive, it’s also my favorite game of this generation. Why do I mention this? Well you see, moving onto the next section….

AFFECTING MY GAME

Last week I decided to start The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt again. I beat it once but decided to go back and try my hand on Death March difficulty. Let it be known that I originally started my first playthrough, in mid to late 2015, on Death March, but kept dying….10 seconds into the game. I eventually passed that, and after roughly 10 hours I was barely into the game and had trouble killing the smallest of enemies. I gave up. I quit. Last week I decided to start the game up again on Death March (seeing as how I love trophies) thinking i’ll have another tough go at it. But this time….it’s not hard. Almost at all. This game that had given me so many problems and made me rage quit so many times almost seems like a different game. I constantly have to check and make sure that i’m on my Death March playthrough just because it doesn’t feel that way. So what changed? What made the game so fundamentally different?

Nothing. It wasn’t the game, It was me. I learned something VERY vital. I learned patience.

I know, that seems almost like something you first learned when you started gaming. But this is a new level of patience. I have learned to sit back, strike only when the time is right, notice timing, notice patterns. I have learned to do this in every single encounter in every single game. I’m now playing on higher difficulties in every game I play. I’m playing smarter, better, and with more persistance. When I first decided to be a Hunter in Yarnham, I never knew the effect it would have on me. I never knew that entering, trying, and understanding a different genre would affect every other game I played. I never knew that going into one genre would change the way I look at and perceive any game to come after it. I’m thankful for this, for Bloodborne, for making me a better gamer for the rest of my life.

My hat’s off to you From Software, I eagerly await your next Souls-Borne like game.

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About Elijah Steele

Elijah is an all around gamer who plays anything and everything. His favorite games are Final Fantasy 7, Bioshock, and the Hatsune Miku series among others. His specialties include Sony and import games. He will take any gaming challenge thrown at him. You can follow him on Twitter @Locolizardman.