I used to be like you. I dallied with Demon’s Souls when it finally hit European shores, but life got in the way and I dropped it faster than a New Year’s resolution. I then spent several years shuddering at the ‘Prepare to Die’ slogan associated with Dark Souls and vowed never to touch a From Software title unless it looked like Jennifer Lawrence in a kitten costume. But Bloodborne changed everything: it had a Gothic, vaguely Cthulhu-esque aesthetic that I adored – and it was being billed as a big PlayStation 4 exclusive. It was a game that, simply, I couldn’t ignore anymore.
So, with the release now freely available for all PlayStation Plus members, I’m here to give you a bit of advice: don’t sack it off because you’ve heard it’s hard. I know only too well how insufferable the community for these games can be; it’s all “gitgud” and other such nonsense. It’s off-putting; I felt the same. But not only is Bloodborne the most accessible of the Souls series, its difficulty is also severely overplayed. That’s not to say that the release is easy – it’s challenging, for sure – but don’t let that deter you from trying the title out. It’s never unfair.
The thing about Bloodborne – and the Souls games in general, I suppose – is that they require a different mentality. It’s all about hedging your bets, isolating enemies, and knowing your limitations. Once you wrap your head around that and pair it with a slightly more cautious approach, you’ll breeze through the campaign and come to adore its unique rhythm. This isn’t God of War or Devil May Cry where you can go charging into every battle, but you won’t need to be a superhuman to reach the credits either – you’ve just got to have a little patience, like Take That once warbled.
I’d recommend you browse some of our guides before diving in. Read through our Bloodborne beginner’s guide, and then take a look at our Origins Class guide and Starting Weapon guide. Once you’ve done that, hop in and don’t look back. Remember that death in this game doesn’t mean you’ve failed; it means you’ve learned. Yes you may need to replay part of the level, but Bloodborne’s brilliance comes from this repetition. It’s all about learning the levels, discovering the enemy placements, and familiarising yourself with the traps.
And when all else fails, remember there is an easy mode: you can use the Beckoning Bell to summon players to your game. The community’s going to get a big boost from the PS Plus release, but even without it there have always been experienced players on hand to help you out with boss fights. Yes, the release is quite ambiguous about how co-op actually works, but follow this guide and you’ll figure it out in no time. There’s no shame in asking for help if you’re banging your head against a wall; there’s also no shame in going backwards and grinding if you can’t force your way forwards.
I just don’t want you to miss out. I’m very passionate about Bloodborne because, the more I look back on my time with it, the more I think it may just be one of my favourite games of all time. That’s high praise, but the simple fact is that it's that good. And if you try it and don’t like it, that’s disappointing – but I urge you to at least give it a go. Please don’t be put off by the title’s difficulty: it’s completely fair and perfectly manageable. That’s not elitism, it’s just the truth. Give it a try and make up your own mind – after all, there are no excuses now.
Do you agree that Bloodborne’s difficulty is exaggerated? Are you willing to give the game a go now it’s free with PlayStation Plus? Ring your Beckoning Bell in the comments section below.