A Plotless Game I Can’t Beat: A Review of Bloodborne

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Over the weekend, I scored a great deal on a new Playstation 4 and picked up a copy of the hottest new game while I was at it. Because I’m a billionaire. Everyone has been talking about Bloodborne, a game which is like Hugh Jackman’s Van Helsing movie, except that this is watchable. I’m a casual gamer, playing mostly “retro” style games because I’m a grumpy old man who hates change. “I remember when Sega games cost a nickel,” I shout at children from my porch as I load up another level on Ducktales Remastered. But I’m a risk taker -a man who does brave things like trying new flavors of potato chips at lunch, or not stretching after jogging, or unbuttoning my top three buttons – so I decided to give Bloodborne a try. If you’re like me and wondering whether to buy Bloodborne, here is a my review. If you’re currently reading this at the store and need to make a quick decision, I’ll summarize it for you: do you like paying $60 dollars to get punched in the face without justification? If you answered yes, then Bloodborne is for you. If not, read on to decide. And don’t worry about spoilers, because I’ve been playing for about a week and have accomplished NOTHING. I don’t even know what the title means.

A lighthearted romp
A lighthearted romp

The basic plot of Bloodborne is as follows: I’m a dude who swings weapons at other dudes, and we all wear hats. That’s about all I understand of the plot after over ten hours of gameplay. There has, so far, been two cutscenes, neither of which explained the plot, and the only time I spoke with a human being in the entirety of the game was when a little kid handed me a music box from a window. So maybe this is a game about Weapon Guy collecting music boxes, and if so, it’s the finest music box collection game I’ve played to date. But seriously, this game doesn’t even have a tutorial. I spent the first hour just trying to find out how to make my character hold his weapon. The game begins in a Victorian hospital, and there is a wolf running around said hostpital. You don’t have weapons or instructions. It took me a few minutes to figure out how to punch the wolf in the butt, and then the wolf turned around and killed me. The end. What a thrilling adventure.

"I should punch that."
“I should punch that.”

After ten more unsuccessful minutes of attempting to murder a wolf by stealthy butt punches, I found out that I had to pray to a lantern to enter a dream and get a weapon. I mean, looking back on it, it seems so obvious that I needed to worship a lantern in order to be induced into a hallucinogenic dream in order to find my weapons. Now that I had my weapons, I couldn’t figure out how to make my character hold them, leading to another few deaths resulting from frivolous wolf butt punches. At long last, my character had his weapons on hand, and I stabbed the wolf to death. Here I expected a cutscene to say, “Once upon a time, there was a guy who punched wolves…” but no, I just walked outside of the hospital and found another Nyquil lantern and went back to sleep. Then a doll in my dream started talking to me. It had been over an hour at this point, and I had done nothing but punch wolves and talk to dolls. Nothing out of the ordinary.

"Why wouldn't I talk to my life size doll?" (via stevivor.com)
“Why wouldn’t I talk to my life size doll?” (via stevivor.com)

At long last, I ventured out into the city where I got killed another ten thousand times. A typical adventure happened as follows: “Oh look, a guy in a hat… and he killed me.” And I’d wake back up at the lantern. After about three hours, I finally found a boss. “Finally, some plot,” I sighed in relief. But no, it was just a demonic version of the dog from Fraggle Rock. It killed me about twenty times before I beat it, only to be rewarded with another sleepy lamp and no explanation as to why I just murdered a giant dog on a bridge. At about five hours invested at this point, this game is little more than Victorian dress-up and sleeping, which could easily describe either Bloodborne or a weekend at a B&B. So if you’re in the market for a B&B simulation game, Bloodborne offers the same unsettling experience but with less pressure to eat brunch with old people. After I beat the giant dog, I found the little kid with the music box. I was so thrilled just to find a talking character. At last, the plot would reveal itself. Nope, just some stupid kid who goes, “Here’s a music box, I won’t explain its relevance” and I was back to getting murdered by guys in hats. But now I had a music box, so I had that going for me.

Oh, good, it wasn't creepy enough, I'm glad we've involved a music box. (via Fextralife)
Oh, good, it wasn’t creepy enough already, I’m glad we’ve involved a music box. (via Fextralife)

Last night, I finally beat the second boss, who was just a giant version of the guys in hats. Before I fought him, he rambled on about beasts, so the first semblance of a plot has shown itself. After I beat him, I headed into a church where a lady who had melted into the floor of the church told me she was lonely. Suddenly, I missed the days when no characters would talk to me. I decided to play the music box for the lady who had melted into the church floor. Nothing happened beyond my realization that I was now the weirdest person on planet earth. As I stood there, covered in blood with a giant hammer, playing a tiny music box for a woman whose body had merged with the floor of a cathedral, I was the most creeped out I’ve ever been in my entire life. I turned off the Playstation and cried for a few hours from the sheer weirdness of it. Tonight, I’ll probably go back and get killed by more guys in hats. Maybe someone will finally know what to do with my music box. Maybe I’ll figure out what this game is even about. But regardless, it’s awesome. It’s beautiful, it’s difficult, and it might be the best video game I’ve ever played. Ten out of ten: best Victorian music box collection game ever made. This game is a form of masochism that would make the people who advertise in the back of free city newspapers uncomfortable. You should play it.

Another relaxing game of Bloodborne
Another relaxing game of Bloodborne
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