Bloodborne and the Horrors of Hardship: When Difficulty Brings the Scares

We here at Couch Bandits often talk about the positive, happy parts of gaming with friends on the couch, but in the spirit of Halloween, we thought it’d be the perfect time to talk about the more…negative parts. The scary parts. The HARD parts.

Anyone who’s gamed long enough has encountered at least one moment when it all becomes too much. Eyes bloodshot, butt fused with the couch cushion, your heart feeling like it’s literally going to burst from the stress, when—BAM! You have a heart attack from high blood pressure.

Here are a few select moments from the Bandits team that were so brutally difficult they made our blood boil and wish we could throw our controllers so hard they went through our wall and hit the neighbor’s cat…

Bloodborne From a Hardcore Souls Fan’s Perspective

Ben Gogel: I still have the pain of From Software’s gothic-horror stroke seared into my brain. Every horror story you’ve heard is true: the rage, the lost progress, the wanting to die (or maybe that’s just me). But if I had to pick one moment that drove me to the brink, it was my first experience with Father Gascoigne.

Bloodborne screencap

Bloodborne’s atmosphere alone is enough to chill the bones.

Not the first encounter, mind; I’d faced him a few times before, and it was a pain. But—if you’ve played Bloodborne, you know what I’m talking about—there’s that thing when he loses a large chunk of his health I’ll never forget. His high-pitched screaming and rapid berserk attacks had me feeling like I was a child trapped in a pit with a vicious wild dog, and the dog was told it could see its family again if I got my eyes ripped out.

And now, it’s my favorite PS4 game ever made. Stockholm Syndrome does wonderful things to a man.

Bloodborne’s Effects on a First-Timer

Jake Roundy: Today, I’m a hardened Soulsborne fan, but when Bloodborne first came out, I was like a newborn baby: so innocent and naive.

I thought I knew how difficult games could be. I’d played Perfect Dark’s co-op campaign in Perfect Agent mode (aka hard mode). I’d played Super Smash Bros. Melee against the best of the best. I’d played hours and hours of Mario Kart Wii online, against players from around the world (some of whom I still believe cheated—there’s no way ANYONE can be that good at racing).

But no…like Jon Snow, I knew nothing. And winter was coming.

Dramatics aside, my first “playthrough,” if you can even call it that, was incredibly difficult. I had no idea what I was doing. I was healing so much and so often that I essentially ran out of blood vials to heal myself, and I wasn’t really getting any better, so I was constantly getting reset. Progress was slow going.

I managed to make it past the harrowing fight with Father Gascoigne, as Ben mentioned, but then I had to make a heart-breaking decision: Do I press on, or restart? Restarting would allow me to take full advantage of all my skills I’ve honed, but it would mean replaying the entire first area and facing the horrifying Gascogne AGAIN.

But I realized I had already played through the first area so many times that I’d memorized every inch of the map. I knew exactly where enemies were hiding and exactly when they’d attack. So, I restarted. And it took me about 30 minutes to regain all my progress. It was definitely worth it!

For any gamers out there who don’t understand what’s appealing about Bloodborne or Dark Souls, you need to understand one thing first: Yes, it will be painful to climb the steep learning curve, but once everything clicks…it’s worth every second. From that point on, you can truly enjoy the experience—yes, it’s hard, but it’s a challenge, and you can overcome it.

Honestly, if you’re intimidated by these games, I really encourage you to give them a chance, because they’ve given me some of my most rewarding gaming experiences of all time. Bloodborne, in particular, is a masterpiece in every sense of the word—the combat, the artwork and environments, the enemy and level design…it’s all incredibly memorable, and even after all these years, it stands the test of time. And it’s the perfect game to play around Halloween. It will scare you in more ways than one!

The Nightmares Caused by Bloodborne

Connor: Speaking of scares, there’s one nightmare from Bloodborne I will never forget, and he’s the Host of the Nightmare: Micolash.

Need I say more?

But for real, he caused me so much pain and agony in my first playthrough, and I don’t even know why. I literally can’t think of Micolash without cringing.

But aside from that one truly horrific moment, I love the gothic aesthetic of Bloodborne and appreciate the combat: it’s all about being on the attack, as opposed to being defensive, and it makes everything so much more intense. It really makes you think about how you play games, and I love that.

There you have it: our most terrifying moments from Bloodborne. We hope you enjoyed, and apologies if we dredged up any terrifying moments from your own playthrough!

What’s your scariest moment playing Bloodborne? Feel free to share in the comments! And if you liked this article, you should check out my post on the Dark Souls trilogy: Dark Souls Trilogy: A Retrospective of Swords and Souls.

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