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How To Survive ‘Bloodborne’

Bloodborne is taking up all the gaming oxygen this week, and for excellent reason; it’s a sprawling, complicated dungeon crawler that’ll spank you. But after putting a few hours into it, I’ve learned how to survive. Well, sort of. I die a lot less!

Hunt By Movement And By Listening

It’s pretty rare, in Bloodborne, that enemies stand completely still. If they stand in place, they wobble back and forth, or they have set patrol routes. If they do stand still, the game generally sets it up so you can see the obvious trap, if you know where to look. So, when you enter a new area, take a moment to look around and also take a moment to listen. If you hear running, get ready to fight.

Enable Auto-Lock

Bloodborne rewards being aggressive, but that sometimes backfires, and you have to wade into a crowd of low-level enemies. Before that happens, set the game to use auto-lock; that way, you can attack enemies in turn and not die a cheap death at the hands of some villager with a pitchfork.

Explore

I really can’t emphasize this enough: If you see a stairwell, take it. If you see a door or window with a lantern in front of it, knock on it. If you see a ladder, climb it. If you see a lever, pull it.

There’s excellent reason for this; it’s often the only way to find useful tools and reduce the time you spend running around the map. Your inventory carries over when you die, and any gates or doors you unlock remain open when you buy the farm. More often than not, most areas have a gate you can open, once you find the lever you need to pull, and that gives you a lot more in the way of options.

You Can Directly Control The Difficulty

From Software games are notably obtuse in some respects, but this in particular stands out. As you fight through the game, and find the Madman’s Knowledge item, you collect Insight. This is something like the sanity function; the more Insight you have, the more enemies spawn in areas and the more attacks and strategies they use. But you can spend Insight in the Hunter’s Dream to get some of the most powerful items in the game. As long as you keep one point of Insight, which you need to unlock the leveling system, you can more or less control how hard or easy the game is directly. Granted, the difficulty is still ranked by how many feet the development team can break off, and they have a lot of feet, but at least there’s SOME control!

Avoid Bosses For As Long As Possible

You won’t be able to avoid boss fights forever; the way the game is designed, sooner or later, you’re coming up against one of its gooey, disgusting monstrosities. That said, the game is also designed to let you avoid bosses for a while, collect Blood Echoes and start leveling up. For example, in the first area, there’s a shortcut that takes you to the aqueduct; you can not only explore that area thoroughly before you run into the already-becoming notorious Father Gascoigne, you can find the raw material you need for a few weapon upgrades.

Finally, Learn To Read The Environment

Bloodborne is a triumph of subtle game design that rewards players who know how to read it. There are a lot of fights that would be insanely tough one-on-one that become much easier if you know how to use enemy habits and the surrounding area against them. Take this fight:

Looks hard, right? It is. That’s why I approach it from the opposite direction, and lure the werewolves down the stairs into an abandoned house. They can’t get through the door, and while they can still attack, and they can still bump you off, you’ve got more control over the fight.

Once you teach yourself to “read” the spaces, the game is full of useful little places to get the edge on a tough fight; obstacles to put between yourself and a guy with a rifle, nooks and crannies to hide from a boss and get your breath, and so on.

Any tips to share yourself? Roll them out below!

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