Developer: From Software
It’s time to grab the WD-40 because you know what they say. If you rest, you rust. My mind is still on Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin, so you know I need to get refreshed to prepare myself for the gateway drug known as Bloodborne again. It’s been a few months since I’ve actively played Bloodborne. When I first went back, I was getting my ass handed to me as expected. What didn’t help my cause was the fact that my current character was level 110 playing in New Game Plus. In NGP, your level carries over as well as your equipment for an even more challenging play through of the game. See our review of the full game here.
Before I go into the new DLC, “The Old Hunters”, let me inform you on a few tips before trying it. The most important is, BE PREPARED! Revisit the regular game before you jump into the Hunter’s Nightmare, especially if you’re rusty. Get comfortable again because you won’t have a moment to breathe once you start the new content. Second, you need to defeat Vicar Amelia at the Grand Cathedral in the main story in order to access the DLC. This includes if you’re in NGP. This was something I had to do and wasn’t looking forward to it even before the release.
Once you defeat her, you need to trigger the story event by approaching the altar. Once you do this, head to the Hunter’s Dream. Messengers will appear next to the doll. Accept the gift. Next head back to Cathedral Ward. Head down the stairs toward the left and turn right outside. Walk until you see the dead body next to the tree. You will be thrown into the Hunter’s Nightmare, the beginning of the new DLC. And last but not least, it is recommended you are at least level 65 before heading in.
After a couple of hours prepping myself and meeting the prerequisites, I decided to take the plunge. Visually, The Hunter’s Nightmare is an exquisite work of art and a true enigmatic canvas. I was reminded of how gorgeous the lighting is and despite how dark the world tends to be. You can easily have your breath taken away by how detailed the Gothic architecture is while exploring, but you need to keep your head in the game because your normal enemies will be occupying most of your time. This time around you are focused on fighting Hunters that have been trapped here forever. They are fast, smart, and extremely difficult to kill.
This is where you get your first introduction into some of the new trick weapons for “The Old Hunters” DLC. All of the Hunters you face use a variety of these new weapons like the “Beast Cutter” sword which transforms into a whip similar to Ivy from the SoulCalibur series. It provides a wide range to take out multiple beasts at once. (Notice I didn’t say Hunters.) Keep in mind that you will need to search for the weapons throughout the areas because most of them aren’t drops. The same goes for new clothes.
Exploring the new areas for the first time gave me similar feelings I had when I first picked up the series. To me that’s a good thing. Nothing is wrong with taking your time and analyze your surroundings before picking the next fight. When fighting the hunters, I would try to take on one at a time, unless of course you’re a true “Master” or just a “Glutton for Punishment” like me. Within the first hours, I felt overwhelmed by some of the new enemies, until I found a unique solution for certain areas.
The environment was vaguely familiar with enough subtle changes that help the experience feel fresh. At first glance, it seemed like the world was going to be a mirror image of areas in the original game. The more you explore, you find some new areas never seen before. The enemy variety is minimal but punishing none the less. I found myself trying to be more defensive which simply doesn’t work here. My Dark Souls muscle memory was getting the best of me.
The weapons are my favorite additions to the game and can be used outside of the DLC. There has also been some updates included in a 9GB patch released last week that provided some free content. There was the inclusion of a new covenant called the league for you to join as well as new Non Playable Characters to assist you with boss fights or whatever you need. My first run through the game, I didn’t summon any characters, nor did I play online. This time, I’m exploring both and can say it improves the experience I already enjoy.
The Old Hunters DLC itself as a whole is entertaining, but a bit inconsistent. I found myself having more trouble with the normal hunters than I did with some of the bosses. There was points where I questioned if I even wanted to confront certain enemies simply because I felt outmatched. Getting the new weapons you like leveled up is one of my main suggestions. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself using your old equipment more often than you should need to.
As someone that loves a good boss fight, I was left disappointed in the variety and design of the ones added. Some seem too familiar and don’t really give you a fresh experience. If you plan on playing online, be kind and help others once you have made it further. You can never have too much insight, plus when you need the assist, fellow hunters will have your back. I think the true amount of time playing the DLC ties into going back to the full game to get more blood stones to level up your weapons. If you plan on tanking through and have the chops to get it done, I still feel the $20 price more than worth it to get some new weapons and clothing to carry into your NGP.