A review of The Old Hunters expansion pack for Bloodborne - a full-blooded DLC
From Software, with the help of Bloodborne, won the hearts of new players, serving an extremely intense dose of visually pampered horror . Hectoliters of blood spilled in front of our eyes, and yet we obviously don't have enough. There is demand, there is supply - this is The Old Hunters , the first and perhaps only expansion to this game. Personally, I expected this expansion because I like the Bloodborne universe a lot , but I had doubts that it would be made by force. I have the impression that From Software wanted to treat the game as a one-off project and put all its power and artistic imagination into its development. And indeed - the new adventure no longer impresses with its visual setting or the atmosphere of horror, but fortunately it has something else . A certain "cursed" boss who like no one else has sucked my blood. Is sadism or a genius? And is The Old Hunters worth the money? We return to Yharnam to answer these questions.
The Old Hunters has no problems with the plot and style of Bloodborne - the whole expansion takes place within the so-called "hunter's nightmare", which hunters obsessed with bloodlust dream of. Based on this, it was decided to do two things. First, take some material from the base game and build new elements on it. Secondly, to show players a new chapter in the history of the universe, taking them to somewhat surprising places. The processing of previously exploited motifs always raises some doubts. Fortunately, From Software takes the opportunity to traditionally laugh a bit at the player. The initial location from the DLC is a city that is familiar to everyone, and it is a ruined city. We recognize certain familiar elements in it only to be ambushed. A few times I got caught up in this psychological game and fell shamefully. It's fair to say that although the first part of the game is not particularly pretty or inventive, it still presents a high level - walking through the city is full of nooks and crannies, additional challenges and hidden artifacts. In short, the From Software standard was retained.
The most interesting thing is, of course, when The Old Hunters takes us to places a bit more crazy and fresh. In this case it is about - let me use a general term - a medical facility of a certain faction, and also ... a fishing village lying at the foot of the city. Both locations have similar features - they are not as nice and visually pampered as those from the base game, but nevertheless shock with their climate and complexity. For example, to get through the first one, you have to climb five floors that are served by two separate elevators. On the way, we can visit many patient rooms and listen to their "complaints". I will say briefly: you would not want to go to this sanatorium. The fishing village, inhabited by mutant creatures resembling Murlocs, at first seems uninteresting, but then it gets better and better. Do you like wading ankle-deep in larvae? I hope so, because that's normal here . I have one puzzle with this final location - it felt more like Demon's Souls than Bloodborn . The coherent vision of the universe from the main campaign is a bit blurry, but is it really a problem?
If you count on such an expressive and dark plot, or rather a plot, as in the main game, then you will calculate a little. The expansion pack contains some secrets, but on a basic level it is a little less intriguing, more disgusting with the aforementioned larvae and mutated bodies. The Old Hunters is still a journey into a sick reality in which terms such as "cerebral fluid", "filth hidden in the dirt", "surgical altar" or "mantle of a martyred man" are on the agenda. However, don't expect everything to be as overwhelming as before - the atmosphere of horror has faded away in favor of more frequent trips towards "dark fantasy". Figuratively speaking, thinking about the stronger moments in Bloodborn, I get goosebumps, and this set of "adventures" does not work so much on the psyche.
From Software suggests that you prepare level 65 characters for the expansion - that's a good advice, because the game presents us with serious challenges from the very beginning . While the basic opponents are relatively easy here, we have to deal so quickly with old hunters, armed with the same toys as the player. There was no shortage of such clashes in Bloodborn , but they were rather side struggles. Now, we test our ability to dodge blows, retort and manage blood vials much more often. I admit that, despite everything, the game does not abuse these measures, confronting us with new types of trackers and beasts. In one clash, we face a pair of warriors: the priestess throws spells at us, and the hunter chases us with a large sword. Other times, we encounter several versions of a similar creature, each of which is part of a new set of clothes. Yet another time, a beast leaps at us using frenzy. There's also a bastard with a rotary cannon that hits you with a hundred rounds per second. The Old Hunters doesn't disappoint and serves something that hits harder than we expected at every turn.
Before we get to the bosses, the main meat of the add-on, let me stop at the smaller clashes to say that I really like their design and some new ideas. From Software still offers a helping hand - other players or NPC characters will always be happy to support us. Now we can summon a new category of heroes, called "ancient trackers". It is interesting that there are more aid systems here, because, for example, at the beginning, when we fight hunters, you can get them involved in a fight with common local beasts . This way you can finish off one or two opponents quite calmly. Before the fight with the difficult boss, the Japanese also set up a dead man who has five vials of blood for us each time - so approaching the duel again is much easier.
On the other hand, the game also serves a lot of moments, when, for example, we get into a fight with a giant equipped with a combination of an ax and a cannon, to discover that his colleague with black magic comes out of the bushes. It is also fun in the fishing village, where we are shocked by occult "astral skull launchers" or strategically placed "artillery" in the form of mages sending lightning. We are safe under the roof, but it is better not to risk contact with electricity when you wade knee-deep in the water - the effect is "shocking". It's just a pity that it all ends so quickly, because sometimes I have the impression that it could be pressed even more. By saying "it ends quickly", I naturally mean the time unit in the From Software version - the expansion provides about 8-10 hours of fun for players who are good at these blocks, and probably twice as much for people who handle the fight on average .
The ranks of the ranks in the expansion for Bloodborne are fine, but how are the bosses? In total, I counted five special fights of this type - one of which is, if I understand correctly, completely optional. It starts out with a really hard blow, after which I barely got up. The first beast, which I will call "damned" for fear of spoilers, looks like a pile of meat from the village of Yahar'gul, but don't be fooled by appearances. This type will shock me with aggressiveness and speed, reminding me of a private, infamous adventure with Manus from the Dark Souls expansion (he exhausted me terribly). "Cursed" is a similar case - in the second second of the fight, he attacks us with force and keeps a steady pace all the time. When you think you know his moves well, halfway through the fight, the beast pulls a sword the size of a church tower from its cloak and completely changes the attack set. The fight doesn't turn out to be much easier, even with helpers - it's still hard to survive (unless there is a scavenger among the summoned people!). You say, "Masochism," I say, "This is beautiful." From Software once again showed this boss that it rules in this category.
If I wanted to be the stereotypical guy I'd say, "Let's talk about gadgets." In the case of Bloodoborne, it is difficult to differentiate what From Software has done to the arsenal. The Old Hunters follows this lead, and even goes a step further. Have you been complaining about the lack of shields and a bow in the base game? The extension solves this problem, at least in a sense. Well, at a later stage of the game, you can come across the world's truest shield, not made of wood! Incredible. This is not the end of surprises, because the title, which is dominated by guns and saw-offs, also includes a place for the bow. When folded, this weapon turns into a sword ... and the sword turns back into a bow. Miracles! Do you prefer something simpler? In one of the goals is the most primitive brass knuckles possible: "a piece of wall with a place for fingers" - as the game explains. I warned there would be gadgetry.
Seriously, From Software has created quite a lot of new equipment for the add-on, and only part of it is a development of the previous hunting tools. We have, for example, a variation on the popular "razor" or another sword (but what one: Moonlight Sword - does it tell you something?). But alongside these toys, there are some really deadly and intriguing combinations. For example, a rotary saw on a broom handle - this is how I would describe it in simple words. My character focuses on different skills, so I didn't use her power to the full, but I saw that this attraction has already caught on among other players. There is something nice for everyone, because if I count correctly, there are over 10 new types of weapons - from the aforementioned saws, swords or spears to a mace or a rotary rifle. Bloodborne continues to delight in this regard and impresses with ingenuity. Are these gadgets well balanced? It's hard to say - it's certain that everyone can do something, and thanks to the animations and sounds, just wielding them is fun.