The Hardest Part Of Bloodborne Lies Within Its Health System

Getting “stuck” in Dark Souls was a common occurrence for me, but that was never truly the end. Whenever I died and respawned at my cozy little bonfire, there were always at least five Estus Flasks waiting for me, and I knew that I had a fighting chance. Dark Souls was always willing to give you a little boost when you needed it most.

Bloodborne however is not a sequel to Dark Souls. It’s a sequel to Demon’s Souls, and it shows.

The Blood Vials in Bloodborne function much closer to Demon Souls’ grass than Dark Souls’ Estus. Quick shots of health that don’t regenerate upon death, which means more have to either be bought or taken off of dead enemies. While there are usually plenty of vials if you’re consistently making forward progress, this system really falls apart once you get stuck on a boss or particular area.

Say you get stuck on a boss. In Dark Souls a restart would mean a refill of all your Estus flasks and a run back to the boss that might cause you to use one or two. In Bloodborne repeat deaths means a permanent loss of Blood Vials and the same run back to the boss. So eventually I came to the point where I had to either grind out some enemies to get blood (read: souls/currency) to buy some Blood Vials, or I could reload the same area early on where I could kill two big guys who usually drop two vials each. This shatters the pace of throwing yourself against the boss repeatedly so quickly that you don’t want to give up, and makes failure more of a problem for the wrong reasons. Grinding enemies in Souls games is not fun for long, so the idea of doing that whenever I fail more than a few times in a row is slowly killing my motivation to keep going.

And you know what this system reminds me of? The grass in Demon’s Souls early on.

I’ll Never Forget You, Saya

Rarely do games leave such an impact on us that we remember much of it weeks after playing to its conclusion. Even less often do they make us wonder about how fragile our mental state really is .

“Saya No Uta”, from the minds of developer Nitroplus and writer Gen Urobuchi, literally gave me nightmares after almost every session. I couldn’t shake the feeling that the game hated me for playing it, as if Fuminori and his friends would still be alive if not for my ceaseless curiosity. Despite that lingering thought I marched through the vicious narrative night after night and arrived at the only three possible narrative endings. None of them made me feel any better.

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On Fifty Shades Of Grey

I don’t think I’m going to blow anyone’s mind when I say I think the 50 Shades Of Grey film was pretty awful. I saw it so I could figure out what all the interest was about and since I had virtually no expectations for the movie itself I didn’t come away disappointed. That being said I did find some aspects of it rather interesting.

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A Week Away From Twitter

Twitter has been a part of my life since I started my second semester of college back in the beginning of 2013. Since then it’s only become a more dominant piece of my daily routine. I would wake up and check my feed, check it after showering, any time I got a break in work, whenever a load screen came up, or just whenever there was a single dull moment in any part of my day. Then this past Saturday I had one of my busiest days ever and I decided when I woke up Sunday I didn’t want to deal with anyone. I deleted the apps off my phone and kept Skype closed so I could just enjoy myself for a bit. It was really nice to be honest. When Monday came around though I thought what it might be like to stave off Twitter for a whole week, and so I did.

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Going Back To Madness (The Animation)

The first time I watched the “Madness” animation series was back in middle school and back then there were only four episodes. The first was just a short animation of a guy dancing to a cheery internet song and killing anyone who go in his way of doing so, including Jesus? It was weird. Actually it’s still weird today, though not for the same reasons. Back then I thought it was strange because I wondered why all these people wanted to stop this guy from dancing. Now it’s because all I can notice is just how old this animation is. Being pretty close to the dawn of Newgrounds flash animation it’s pretty noticeable just how frame-y it is. The background doesn’t move, the only sounds are the one music track and some stock punching and grunting effects. No one has faces and Jesus is the only one with any distinguishing features whatsoever. It’s very much a remnant of its time.

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Some Thoughts On Life Is Strange

There’s almost always a certain expectation when you’re the second notable game brandishing a relatively new style of gameplay. When The Walking Dead Season 1 released back in 2012 it revitalized the adventure game genre and added the twist of all your choices having in-game consequences. It was a massive success critically and commercially and for a while no one attempted to take on that concept. Now in 2015 Dontnod decided to go for it and added a few wrinkles of their own.

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On Slow Motion Deaths In Films

There’s a very common trope in movies where when an important character dies time slows to a crawl as the camera pulls in close on their face. Soft piano or synth music usually accompanies the moment. I’ve probably seen it over a hundred times now and frankly I think the impact is lessening with each pass.

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Games You Should Play [2014 Edition]

I’m going to save you the whole dialogue of “2014 wasn’t a great year for games but it wasn’t a bad year for games” and just say that 2014 was alright. A lot of the stuff I liked the most came from smaller developers, new ones, indies, or otherwise anyone who wasn’t okay with shipping a broken game.

This list isn’t my “Best Games Of 2014” list. I didn’t play every game from last year so it’s just one of some of what I went through that I think you should check out too.

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The Wonderful World Of Itch.io

It was only recently that I found about the wonderful site itch.io, where some of the strangest games I’ve ever seen reside. It didn’t take long for me to realize that developers on itch seem to carry a different mindset than the big developers on Steam. Rather than making games that try to appeal to everyone with long tutorials and forced RPG level systems, the games I played are about expressing the thoughts and feelings of the creators as purely as possible. This means that some people won’t get much out of these games while they hit all too close to home for others. Here’s the first few I’ve played based off some recommendations and using the “top selling” order.

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Why I Buy Games At Launch

Over the past few weeks I’ve seen a set of articles go up alongside a slew of Twitter comments that all basically said, “Don’t buy games at launch. There’s no good reason to or here’s a few reasons why you shouldn’t”. While I think that’s perfectly understandable and there are more than a lot of reasons to not purchase video games on launch day (especially triple A releases), I still hold that there are a few good reasons to get them on day one too.

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