Bloodborne, much like the Souls games before it offers a new game plus mode which lets you play through the game again at increased difficulty. With the Souls games, playing through on new game plus and trying out different builds or self-imposed challenge runs gave the game some substantial staying power. Bloodborne adds a new mode that is designed to give players reasons to come back to the game long after they complete the story the first time through.
After the jump, where do we go from here?
The new Chalice dungeon mode added in Bloodborne allows the player to create procedurally generated dungeons which are populated with unique bosses and items. Not only can you find new weapons, but you can find variant versions of the standard weapons found in the main game. Two different chalices are available from optional bosses in the regular story mode, but more chalice ritual materials and chalices which are required to unlock new and more difficult chalice dungeons can be found inside chalice dungeons. In addition, the game offers only one blood rock (the material required to fully upgrade a weapon) per playthrough. There is, however, the chance that a blood rock can be found in a dungeon, which means that if you want to upgrade your weapons without running through the story over and over, you will be looking to collect some materials from the chalice dungeons. My only complaint with this mode so far is the fact that the difficulty does not scale with your hunter, meaning you can vastly out level the content if you open up a lower level dungeon. However, the highest level dungeons are punishingly difficult, much harder in fact than any of the content found in the story mode. Between my plans to start a new hunter that focuses more on skill and bloodtinge to see what some of the other weapons are like, the chalice dungeons, and leveling my primary hunter in new game plus to start engaging with the PVP in a more meaningful way, it seems like Bloodborne will be sticking around for a while longer, at least longer than Dark Souls 2.
It seems odd to be sitting here, writing a wrap-up when the game has only just begun to be digested. The community is out there, tearing the world of Yharnam apart brick-by-brick to figure out the mysterious connections below the surface and to tweak builds, looking for what is the most fun way to play the game. A major patch from From Software seems to have lessened the load times to a much more manageable amount. There are still some quality of life changes the community has suggested that could improve play, but it’s hard to know what was a deliberate design choice and what was an oversight that might get changed later. As it stands, the world of Yharnam is well crafted and feels like it breathes and moves on its own, everything I wanted from this game. The twists and turns of the story and the sudden reveal of the Eldritch horrors that inhabit the world are wonderful touches. I can’t wait to get back out there, testing out new weapons, tinkering with the game mechanics, and looking for things I missed the first time through. If I’m feeling generous, you might just summon me into your world some night for some jolly co-operation, and if I’m feeling sinister, well you can run if you want to, but I’m gonna hunt you down.
Andrew Kneller is a chemistry graduate student and avid gamer. When he isn’t busy kicking laser tables and trying to teach undergrads, he and his wife play videogames and watch movies together. You can find him on the Quarter to Three forums as TREOS. Check out his Rogue Legacy game diary here.