We Need More Games Like Bloodborne
For the record, I remain firm in my belief that there are some basic mechanics problems with Bloodborne.
However, aside from all that, everyone is talking about the game's difficulty. I've been thinking about it for a while and in some ways, you could argue that Bloodborne is what this industry desperately needs.
Make no mistake, it still isn't quite my cup of tea. I was once a diligent, determined player who embraced challenges and reveled in surviving and conquering. But honestly, it was more of a phase and I'm past it now. Hence, a game like this will never fully appeal to me; I have other interests and my gaming has significantly changed over the years. That all being said, there's something about From Software's effort that goes beyond the standard realm of higher difficulty. It's not just about making a game for the hardcore, nor is it about brutal difficulty for the sake of inciting frustration and anger. No, this is something else...
What's most important, and what stands out most to me after my time with the game, is the fact that we have so few games today that require our full attention. Let me explain that: What I mean is that as the industry has become more mainstream, the products have had no choice but to become more accessible. And I'm okay with that; in fact, I like it, because it means I can enjoy myself without spending countless hours trying to overcome a particular obstacle. But when we progress in Bloodborne, we experience a feeling very much unlike the feeling we get when beating a relatively easy title. It's not better, mind you, it's just different. And we have so little of it today.
Furthermore, it doesn't revolve entirely around the concept of ultimate success. It's the experience; it's the adventure you traversed to reach that lofty plateau. Every step is riddled with anxiety and a thrilling sense of urgency and fear. It's because we know death means something; it's because the world the developers created is having a big impact on us. How many games keep us emotionally invested - and when I say "emotionally," I mean chemically; i.e., focused eyes, a faster pulse rate, etc. - throughout? Thing is, with Bloodborne you never look away. You can't for two reasons: First, you know you can't because if you relax your guard for a second, you could be dead. Second, you don't want to look away. It's this combination that permeates and leaves a lasting impression.
I probably wouldn't play more games like Bloodborne. I'd try them, marvel at how good they are, realize they're still not for me, and put them away. But at the same time, I'd appreciate the effort because we really do need experiences like this in the industry.
3/27/2015 Ben Dutka