Monday, May 30, 2016

My First Visit to Central Yharnam

Well, I got Bloodborne.

Once again, From Software is using its absurdly steep learning curve for the earliest portions of the game. Though in this case there isn't even really an Undead Asylum equivalent. You simply get dropped into Central Yharnam early on and have to fend for yourself. I've managed to get to the Cleric Beast and make a few attempts before deciding one in the morning is probably late enough to call it a night.

Having played Dark Souls, but only recently (and only about halfway through, by my estimates) I thankfully have clear in memory the utter pain-train that was my first trip into the Undead Burgh - that earliest area prior to the Taurus Demon in which I must have died twenty times simply getting the feel for the game.

My death count in Bloodborne is already pretty high, though I have to blame one particular Executioner for several of these deaths. I wanted to try out my parrying skills with the gun, and unfortunately they have proven... ineffective. The brutes who try to smash you with a brick, however, have fallen to my parry/visceral combo many times, so I think it's a question of figuring out the timing.

Having played a heavy-armored knight character in Dark Souls, the lack of a shield is really pretty world-changing in this game. Combat is much faster and I definitely have to get used to the new pace of dodging and also making sure that I'm completely out of the way of enemy attacks.

I'm at an early stage, only having leveled up twice. I picked a class that starts with a high Arcane stat, though in retrospect I probably should have started with Strength or Vitality. Those are what I'm leveling up at the moment, and I think I might swallow my pride and grind a little until I'm at least even on those stats as I am with Arcane.

I definitely wish Blood Vials came more frequently. Thankfully they drop multiple at a time on occasion, but I certainly miss the guarantee of at least 5 Estus charges when you respawn.

One thing that's kind of interesting is that the insane detail of the world actually makes it easier for enemies to camouflage in there. I've definitely mistaken a sleeping Yharnamite or two for a pile of rubble or garbage.

Oddly, while I haven't beaten him, fighting the Cleric Beast has made me feel more competent than the preceding area. Once again, I wish that I had more Blood Vials available (I also wish I hadn't wasted my Molotov Cocktails on my first attempt - if I had waited until I could get him down to where I got him on my last attempt, I'd probably have beaten him by now,) but I'm also finding it something of a relief that I only have this one big enemy to keep track of, and not a million torch-and-pitchfork-wielding jerkwads with their freaking dogs.

Luckily I have a shortcut unlocked to get to the Cleric Beast easily, so making attempts is not too hard (plus there's a guy who is guaranteed to drop quicksilver bullets, so I've got a crapton of those.)

I'm eager to get the boss down and get the Kirkhammer (which I'll be using until I get Logarius' Wheel or the Whirligig Saw if/when I get the DLC.) I'm also eager to get him down so that I can get those delicious boss echoes and level up hopefully a couple times.

I'm assuming that, much like Dark Souls, this first area is going to force you to learn the mechanics fast, and subsequently will even out a little as you get better and also get enough blood echoes to level up a decent amount.

I've also gotten a couple of bloodstone shards, but I'm saving those for the Kirkhammer.

Incidentally, the music that plays when fighting the Cleric Beast is really epic.


The following morning I feel a lot more competent, partially because I downed the Cleric Beast. I realize he's one of the easiest bosses (appropriate, given that he's the first) but in any Souls-like game, getting any boss down feels pretty good. I found that I was able to recover a lot of health through regain, given that many of his attacks are single hits that leave him open for a while.

I've definitely grinded a bit, but even with that effort I still don't actually have the stats for the Kirkhammer (I'm one Strength shy at this point.) Granted, my starting class did emphasize Arcane, which I figure I might be thankful for later on when I actually get to use the stat for something (other than item discovery.)

But I also think I'm just getting a better sense for the rhythm of the game.

If I get to a point where I'm getting more Blood Vials than I'm using, I'll be pretty happy with that system, but I really think they ought to give you like forty when you first start the game. I also miss the Dark Souls system where you can reset the world and get your Estus/Health back by simply resting at a bonfire instead of having to go all the way back to the hub, though I understand that all the other Soulsborne games have had the hub mechanic.

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