Earlier this year, I raved about how great FromSoftware’s PS4-exclusive Bloodborne was. While not perfect, I gave it 5 out of 5 delectable burritos. With the title, the developer not only took some of the best elements from both Demon and Dark Souls, but it added several interesting features, including the new weapon transformation mechanic that made the gameplay more offensive, fast, and dynamic. On top of that, the Gothic (and disturbing) setting was intriguing, and worked as more than just a skin for the formula Souls fans have become accustomed to.
With all of that in mind, I was pretty excited when Sony took the stage back in September to reveal the game’s first DLC, The Old Hunters. With a $20 price tag, the question on a lot of people’s minds was whether it would be worth it. Well, after spending quite a bit of time with the new content, I can confirm that yes, it bloody well is. The new weapons, map, bosses, and enemies make the expansion well worth picking up for fans who enjoyed the base game, as well as those who are looking to jump on board for the first time.
While accessing The Old Hunters DLC is simple enough (and an option early on in the game), I was immediately thankful that I was still on my first playthrough; I’d previously put off beating the final boss to pursue the title’s platinum trophy. You’ll have to fight Vicar Amelia in order to get to the new map, which to be honest, is pretty daunting on NG+. Once she’s out of the way, however, locating the “Hunter’s Nightmare” area was easy enough. For gamers who are playing for the first time along with the DLC (or those who want to start over with a new character), I highly recommend grinding and leveling up your weapons, as the suggested level requirement for the new area sits at around 65-70, though I’d suggest hitting at least 100 or so before you tackle it.
In the Hunter’s Nightmare, you’ll find a blood-soaked landscape peppered with both new and familiar enemies who are wielding some of the weapons you’ll soon be able to collect. If you read my review for the base game, you know that one of my critiques centered around the fact that there just weren’t that many weapons to choose from. Though it was a bit disappointing, it didn’t prove to be that detrimental, thanks to the ability to transform weapons into entirely different versions. This issue (which really wasn’t that bad) thankfully becomes obsolete with The Old Hunters DLC. To give you a little perspective, the base game had around 15 trick weapons, whereas the new DLC brings 12 unique trick weapons, 4 firearms, and a shield (that’s actually pretty useful) to the table.
If you’re a fan of collecting these deadly beauties, you’re in for a real treat, because the ones available are a joy to use. Admittedly, I relied on my +10 Ludwig’s Holy Blade, but I’m definitely planning on fortifying a few of the new items — namely, the Amygdalan Arm. Yes, you heard right. You’ll be able to use a freaking Amygdala arm to wreak havoc, and it’s as amazing as it sounds. Before it’s transformed, the weapon acts as a vicious club, but once you hit L1, boy oh boy does that baby change. While the light attack whips out in front of you as a scythe-like arm, the heavy will not only strike the enemy in front of you, but will also hit another to the side of you before returning. A few other highlights include the Boom Hammer (which lights on fire when transformed), the Holy Moonlight Sword (a cooler version of Ludwig’s Holy Blade), and the Rakuyo (which hails from the same land as the Chikage).
As for firearms, you’ll be able to get your hands on a Gatling gun, which is basically a smaller version of the one that Djura carries in the base game. Remember that guy? That guy sucked. Once I hit NG+, you better believe I’ll be going back to Old Yharnam to kick the veteran hunter’s butt. Speaking of sweet, sweet vengeance, did I mention that you find the gun in dark cave that’s protected by a Bloodstarved Beast? No? Well, it is, but luckily, fighting the beast is optional. It’s also a normal enemy this time around, which is certainly a testament to how difficult the DLC’s bosses are.
There are five new bosses in total, but don’t let that number fool you. These guys are tough. The first one you’ll stumble upon is Ludwig (pictured above), the original founder of the Healing Church. Though it was relatively easy to get him down to 50% health, the fight got tricky as soon as he brought out his Holy Moonlight Sword. The attacks were harder to dodge, but not impossible. The Rakuyo-wielding Lady Maria, Laurence the First Vicar, the Orphan of Cos, and the Living Failures round out the rest of the group. The batch was diverse, complex, and most importantly, scary as hell.
Speaking of scary, there are three terrifying locations included in the DLC, which leaves a whole lot to explore. You’ll go from wading through pools of blood to trekking though an eerie fishing hamlet, and more. With dead ends, secret areas, and surprises around every delicately designed corner, you’ll want to spend hours exploring despite the escalating sense of dread you’ll experience while doing it. Though I’ve laid eyes on all three locations, there are locked doors barring me from exploring more of what the DLC has to offer. Judging by the weapons and gear I found along the way, the decision to continue playing post-review dances in front of me like a tempting dessert. I for one am ready to indulge.
With The Old Hunters DLC, Bloodborne continues to show why it’s not only the best game on the PS4, but one of the best games of 2015. The mechanics and style of gameplay remain unrivaled, while the variety of new weapons, gear, new bosses, and gear shake things up. It makes the game well worth coming back to.
- There are a ton of new weapons to find, along with gear, items and more.
- Bosses are fierce, complex, and a delightful challenge.
- The new locations are well designed, and encourage additional exploration.
- Nothing revolutionary added.
5 out of 5 delicious burritos and an ice-cold glass of horchata
This review was completed using a PS4 copy of Bloodborne: The Old Hunters provided by Sony Computer Entertainment. The DLC releases tomorrow, November 24 exclusively on the PlayStation 4.