There is a lot to be said for paying attention to the little details in life, both the real version and the video game simulated ones we step into. The intricacy of a setting sun upon burnt golden sands is a special one worthy of anyone’s attention. Spiralling autumn leaves falling and dancing through a chill evening’s air, the flicker of a first smile upon a baby’s lips, beautiful, innocent, joyful, and making sure you thoroughly understand the rules of play before embarking on a journey into hell having made the hardest game on PS4 a bastard sight harder! Yeah, that’s a detail worth noting too.
But you see, I knew no better, I’ve been spoilt by games that entice the player to simply dive in and start swimming, so swim I did. And then I sank. And sank. And sank…The game was Bloodborne and this is my admission of a heinous gaming sin. Not paying attention to the details.
Of course as a hardened gamer I knew the potential despair that awaited me within the beautifully gothic gloom of the Playstation 4 title. Or so I thought. The reality of the situation, as it played out, was that I actually knew little of despair, death and smiling through gritted teeth but, that after initial seconds turned to minutes and morphed into hours, I was learning. I was learning fast.
“How can this game be this hard!” I…let’s say pondered, screamed paints me in a bad light.
After the early realisation that the opening wolf-like creature can be quickly scurried past, I expected to gradually find my feet and make steady progress, I mean I’ve been playing games for over thirty years, and those things on the ZX Spectrum were brutal! But no, every enemy was taking me a good few minutes to take down. Dodge and counter, dodge and counter, avoid groups of baddies, dodge and counter. Fists flailing…blood vials consumed…progress slow…death…respawn…all enemies are also respawned…swear…sigh…go again.
Attention to detail is vital, and those of you with more than myself, may have noticed two words from that last paragraph that get to the core of my Bloodborne woes. The words were, fists flailing, and yes, I was attacking the most brutal game on PS4 unarmed to the teeth.
The issue as I now see it, and so as not to come across as a total tit, was that games now come devoid of instruction manuals. With the loss of these little additions to our physical gaming purchases, we also lost two key things; one was some really nice new paper pages to sniff, and the other was, well, the bloody rules of play. Key points like how to equip the WLF’s or, weapons of less frustration, that I was expecting to make an appearance at any minute as I pummelled my way through the denizens of Hell and repeatedly had my arse handed to me.
I know in reality the error is mine and I hold my bruised knuckled hands up and openly acknowledge the fact. The enemies must have thought, “Who is this headcase attacking us bare handed while the gun and cleaver nestle snugly in his back pockets!” To be fair under normal circumstances they’d have been wise to leg it! But sadly they stayed, and thanks to me diving headlong into a sea of pain without due care and attention, those first handful of baddies saw an awful, awful lot of me. We’re on first name terms. One is now set to be Godfather to my youngest child and two are popping round later for tea and crumpets.
Credit to the magnificence of Bloodborne itself is due, in that despite me finding ways to turn the game into difficulty levels previously unseen, it kept me coming back thanks to sheer beauty and playability, but damn, I wish I’d read the instructions and trod more carefully. I mean I should know better, I’m from an age when instruction manuals were at times epics on a par with JRR Tolkien’s works, in fact I heard rumour that Peter Jackson was working on a Trilogy based upon the manual from Elite. Although, that could be hearsay.
At the time of writing I am now fully equipped to battle the demon spawn that inhabit those dark corners and bleak alleyways of Bloodborne’s landscape…and I’m still on level one. What!? That first boss is bloody massive!