The Old Hunters: Bloodborne Expansion Review

Written by: Jon Castillo

Games | Nov 30, 2015

Bloodborne DLC Expansion The Old Hunters

The "Bloodborne" downloadable content was introduced as an expansion, and with good reason. The new content is massive, feeling like its own self-contained, mini-sequel. The game is fierce, and every bit as horrifying as the main game.

Due to the sheer volume in "The Old Hunters," my playthrough is an ongoing process. There's just so much to explore, so much to hunt and unravel in this one cosmic nightmare. Therefore, this is the first part of my serial review.

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Double dreams in horror films are commonplace. Our protagonist flees the scene, leaving bloodied footprints, and is pursued by an unseen creature. She gets caught and awakens in her bed, only to find the creature lying next to her, where she awakens once more, resurfacing into the world. That's how "The Old Hunters" feels like. We are transported into a nightmarish world of Yharnam, with broken pieces of memories that try to repair themselves. We do not know for sure who the dreamer of this world is. (Then again, is anything clear here at all?)

Rightfully so. We find ourselves in the world called Hunter's Nightmare. It spares little time introducing itself. The enemies are aggressive and violent. Beasts run amok, engaged in brutal combat against hunters, who appear intoxicated by the power of blood. Early in the game, we bear witness, as one hunter cleaves two beasts with a weapon called the Beastcutter. These weapons will become available soon enough, and they are plentiful, scattered early in the game, giving enough room to learn and harness their power.

Hunters wander the nightmare, slaying everything they set their sights on. That means beasts and you, the player-hunter, drawn into this second dream. They wield the same weapons that you yourself will be able to wield - and they have little remorse in killing with one or two hits. And because they use the same weapons you are soon able to wield, there's no reason for you to die - at least, that's what From Software is trying to shove up our faces.

Blood Shards are everywhere. Perhaps to give us a chance to upgrade all the new weapons we find early on. The weapons are fascinating and brutal, lacking any elegance from those found in the main game. Though, that's another topic to discuss.

The Hunter's Nightmare is both familiar and alien at the same time. Yharnam was a war zone, showing us in razor-sharp clarification how the old hunt actually was. We never got a sense of how the Hunters slay beasts as the Plague spreads. No, such as in legends, everything sounded so romantic. You'll know what I'm talking about when you see it for yourselves.

The travel to a different time period has expounded the eldritch lore, shattering countless theories put up the Internet. Game director, Hidetaka Miyazaki's minimalist storytelling is a spot-on deliverance from convoluted plots that distance players from distraction and give them full power in progression. We are focused on playing the game, and those who don't really give a damn about the story, can play to their hearts' content. Those who want to dive into the story, well, the lore is scattered everywhere, and there are many communities working together to shed any light into the layers of mysteries.

Honestly, I think sometimes Miyazaki loves screwing us over with story content. He also revisits older ideas, twisting them just enough to make it fresh. The first boss is reminiscent of the encounter with Artorias of the Abyss, in "Dark Souls." Only, he's as aggressive as Manus. The boss design is fantastic, rich in detail, and the most grotesque thing in "Bloodborne" so far. It's a tragic sight to look at it. The fight is merciless, even with a fellow Hunter supporting you. The fight can end in seconds if you're not careful. Though it wields the greatest reward yet.

If this had been a normal DLC, it would have ended here. But it doesn't. There are more areas to explore, more bosses to confront, and more lore to discover. Until then, the Hunt goes on.

About the author: Jon Castillo

Jonathan is hiding from a lynch mob after messing with the wrong basketball team. His favorite song is "Boys do Fall in Love" by Robin Gibb.

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