Game: Bloodborne: The Old Hunters
Developer: FROM Software
The copy of The Old Hunters used for this review was personally bought by the writer, at their country’s asking price of $29.99.
The Old Hunters is finally here. Yes, the much awaited downloadable expansion for Bloodborne has landed, and we at the Nation want to give you the rundown. Does it live up to the quality of the previous content? Does it fill in some of the missing pieces in Bloodborne’s story? Does it answer questions or just raise more of them? Is it worth the $20 asking price? The answer is yes, and no, depending on what the player is looking to get out of it. Shall we dive?
Okay, so the first thing players will notice nothing in the base world of Bloodborne has changed (disregarding the recent update). In true “Souls” style, they’re given a cryptic message that hints at how to access the DLC. Suffice to say, the journey begins in the Hunters Dream, where an item awaits. The item itself is quite interesting, as the lore hints quite heavily at what happened to the previous hunters within the world of Bloodborne. I won’t give anything away, but suffice it to say that the item is required to enter a Nightmare that is accessed via a rather known method to players of Bloodborne.
Once the DLC has commenced, you are thrust into a rather familiar sight, albeit during daylight. Is this Oedon Chapel? It sure looks like it. You’ll probably be thinking to yourself “Has FROM pulled a fast one and gotten lazy?” I’m pleased to say that’s not the case. It makes a lot of sense from a lore perspective, and the quality is just as high as the base game. While in the Nightmare, you will encounter all sorts of new enemies (mostly hunters) who have crazy new weapons. These crazy new weapons are also available to you, should they pique your interest; however, the messengers won’t just sell them to you. You are going to do have to what Hunters do best, and boy is there a lot of them. Most of the new weapons are hidden in out of the way nooks and crannies, with the Beast Cutter ( a Whip-like weapon that turns into a sword) being available in the first area. You’ll need to drop down somewhere and confront a hunter to get it, though. I’m giving you that one fore free, but most aren’t that easy. You’ll often need to kill hulking behemoths, fulfill quest requirements and just search in off the way paths to find them all. A trophy is also involved if you do!
The beginning of The Old Hunters may seem like a retread at first, but it quickly changes, opening out into a small river of blood, a huge pile of corpses and a familiar “friend” hiding in a cave. The next step from there is to fight a rather well-known character from the Lore of Bloodborne. I refuse to tell who because it’s major spoilers, but they will immediately be recognizable to anyone who is as heavy into the mythos as I am. You’ll also want to watch out, once they reach half health. While some people claim the second half is harder, I found the second incarnation to be far easier to defeat, Your mileage may vary, and from there the DLC takes a dramatic turn for the dark and morose, leaving behind the familiar and re-used.
The rest of The Old Hunters opens up into areas rather heavily inspired by Howard Phillips Lovecraftian madness. I can’t give much away without spoiling a huge chunk of the story, but it provides information for the Plain Doll’s existence and reveals what possibly caused the Schism between provost Willem and Laurence, causing the latter to form the Healing Church, and the former to create the school of Byrgenwerth. It’s some pretty gripping stuff, and while it does leave one or two things unanswered, for the most part, The Old Hunters answers all those ailing questions left from the base game.
The majority of what I have to say about The Old Hunters is positive, but like everything, there are some negative aspects. The beginning of the content, while apt, does unfortunately feel like a little bit of a twisted retread. The bosses claimed to be harder, aren’t that hard (with the exception of the final boss). One of the bosses is just a re-skin of an existing asset. There are also Winter Lanterns (bring sedatives) within the DLC, and some really annoying enemies that will stun lock you, or devour you whole. On top of all this, the length of The Old Hunters is slightly disappointing, taking less time to finish than Artorias of The Abyss did. It’s a sad affair when you consider that it was originally supposed to be two pieces of content. The new weapons provide more varied pvp builds, with Simon’s Bowblade, allowing for specialisation in bloodtinge to matter. The final area of the DLC feels too heavily inspired by Shadow Over Innsmouth and the asking price is more than Artorias of the Abyss.
The final boss of the DLC is also rather ridiculous, being able to hit you from a fair way away, as well as chain three or four powerful attacks that will demolish your health. It also has access to some arcane skills, making this guy really nasty. If you’ve not got a decent bit of stamina, you’re going to have no chance of fighting this thing. Summoning is even somewhat pointless as the majority people that are summoned don’t seem to be able to even help combat the boss. It will come as no surprise that while the DLC is available after Vicar Amelia is defeated, it’s best to wait until you’re somewhere in the ballpark of level 70 to even commence The Old Hunters. That being said, I’m currently level 130 and the boss still 4-5 shots me. You may want to wait until later. The last boss is definitely a step up from anything you’ll have faced previously.
Overall, it just feels to me like there’s not enough content to warrant the $20 price tag. Unless you’re obsessed with the story, and want things answered, The Old Hunters is likely going to be a disappointment for anyone who just wishes to hack and slash their way through new content. If you’re heavily involved in Bloodborne’s story and Kos though, you’re in for one wild ride! I will also admit I’m probably a little biased, because The Old Hunters was actually $30 AUD for me.
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