Last weekend, I tried to jump into some video games. I spent a couple of minutes with the very flawed Anthem, briefly glanced at the Tales of Vesperia remaster on my Switch, and even started a new file in Final Fantasy IX, one of my favorite classic role-playing games. All of these games had one problem in common: They weren’t Bloodborne.
Not long ago, I knew very little about From Software’s 2015 action game. I had played a few hours but gave up shortly afterward, thinking it wasn’t for me. Then, in January of this year, a lost Kotaku Splitscreen bet got me begrudgingly restarting Bloodborne from the very beginning, and now I realize I was about as ignorant as Micolash thinking he could contact the Great Ones by putting on a Mensis Cage.
Bloodborne is incredible. It’s mind-blowingly good. From the terror of a surprise Hunter attack robbing thousands of your blood echoes to the glorious satisfaction of killing Martyr Logarius after 50-something tries, Bloodborne is a game full of emotional moments that burrow deeply inside of your brain and never come out. This is a masterpiece, a game that’s dripping with lore and texture, one that’s always challenging but never cheap or insurmountable.
I’ve been trying to pinpoint exactly what makes Bloodborne feel so special, and I don’t know if that’s really possible. It’s a combination of everything—the way it feels to swing a giant axe down on the head of a squishy monster, the way it rewards careful exploration and play, the way its story takes work to uncover and then is all the more satisfying when it finally clicks. The way you can read online that everyone thinks Ludwig is one of the game’s most difficult bosses, then defeat him in just a couple of tries. (Eat it, Ludwig.)
And it’s ruining other games for me. I’m currently in the thick of Bloodborne’s downloadable content, having already beaten most of the game’s normal bosses, and I don’t know what I’m going to do when it’s all over. What’s going to compare to reaching the Nightmare Frontier for the first time? What could surpass my feeling when I finally realized that the way to beat Vicar Amelia was to turn off target locking? What other game has the weight of Bloodborne’s sword swings and the thrill of its Visceral attacks?
It’s gotten to the point where when I’m not playing Bloodborne, I’m watching Bloodborne lore videos and reading Bloodborne wikipedia pages to try to wrap my head around the story of Master Willem and crew. Obsession might be an understatement.
My next boss is the lovely Maria, and I’ve heard I’ll be in for one hell of a ride when I get to Laurence and the Orphan of Kos. But I’m already dreading what’ll happen after that. I’ll feel hollow inside, like nothing else can compare. At least there’s New Game Plus.