Bloodborne: The Old Hunters
Reviewed on PlayStation 4
David Hull / Sat 12th Dec 2015
769 views / 14 bites
After a strong initial landing by Bloodborne, little has been heard about this expansion, until now. The Old Hunters DLC brings us back into the Nightmare kicking and screaming, praying for mercy.
As ever, FromSoftware have brought us an intriguing and illuminating plot that grants us a greater insight into The Hunt and its Hunters. After defeating Vicar Amelia players gain access to The Hunter's Nightmare, a realm reserved for those Hunters that have been consumed by a lust for blood and were some of the first to take part in The Hunt itself. What follows is a journey to uncover mysteries held hidden deep within the nightmare.
Traversing this DLC felt a lot more coherent than most FromSoftware titles recently. A sense of understanding was present even from early on. Perhaps compared with the base game the story is a little less complex, however it definitely felt that, through item descriptions, observing your surroundings, small cutscenes and bosses themselves, the world made just a little more sense overall.
Bloodborne's speedy combat takes some getting used to. To make life easier for no one, FromSoftware have crafted new bosses and enemies that are even faster, more unpredictable and require even more precise timing. It feels almost ridiculous at times the amount of performance pressure assigned to my thumbs. Yet, this is what makes Bloodborne so amazingly fun, and by realising this and expanding upon it, they show a keen ability to dismantle any safety we feel after mastering the vanilla game.
Bizarre yet satisfyingly gruesome weapons and spells fill the gap of what was a previously limited arsenal. From the Whirligig Saw to the Madaras Whistle, the developers demonstrate a wicked sense of fun and creativity in their design.
With the initial release being so well crafted, the combat found within the Old Hunters is able to meld with the old content almost seamlessly. This leaves much more room for creativity and advancement instead of being bogged down in maintenance.
Your first few steps into this new Nightmare feel a tad familiar and you could be forgiven for thinking "wait...have they reused this area?". Thankfully, this is extremely brief and after a few minutes you're in completely new territory.
Bosses and enemies are as disgusting and incomprehensible as ever whilst others are just as graceful and mysterious. The Lovecraftian horror is beautiful, intriguing and uses as much of its potential as it can, without smacking you in the face with it.
Saving that grand or melodious score for the boss fights is something of a staple for both Bloodborne and Dark Souls. The Old Hunters continues the trend, building upon something that was evident, but not as central, in the base game. As players get closer and closer to victory the music swells, echoing the nature of the fights themselves.
The use of not so much terror and immediate fear, but a constant unease and awe, is no more evident than areas like the Research Hall, a labyrinth filled with the failed attempts at communicating with the Great Ones. The screams of patients, crazed, afraid, even a few speaking of regret are so eerie and compelling that I regularly forgot the danger surrounding me, resulting in more than a few deaths.
Even if Bloodborne didn't particularly need DLC, The Old Hunters crashed the party anyway and makes sure that it is not forgotten. Upon completion, I had this overbearing urge to restart the entire game and experience The Hunt in new ways.
The Old Hunters is an exceptional example of what DLC can be. So often it is used to plug holes or feed us the remaining product of what we bought a year prior. If you haven't played Bloodborne yet, this is a perfect place to start.
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