Discover more from The Sentence is a Lonely Place
It's been seven years since I played this video game. I've played games which are objectively better than this FromSoft game but it's still my favorite video game of all time.
First off, hello! It’s been a while and the mood here is soaked in despair and hope. So I hope you’re doing a little better than I am.
I’ve been playing Elden Ring since it came out last February and I am transfixed. I see it everywhere — from trees that look like Golden Seed locations to frequently hearing Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon’s “Ah, my beloved!” in my head unprovoked.
But I won’t ramble on about Elden Ring just yet. I want to talk a little bit about Bloodborne and how, as I’m reaching endgame in Elden Ring and have given up on Sekiro, it still remains to be my favorite video game of all time.
Well, actually, I’ll let him talk about Bloodborne:
Like this dude, my love for Bloodborne comes from the fact that it’s still the best horror experience I’ve had. I watched walkthroughs of the game because it’s so terrifying. There are creatures that jump on you from every corner — killing you and making you start all over again. That’s the thing about FromSoft games, you don’t respawn where you die, you respawn at a saving point and you have to do it all over again. Punishing doesn’t even begin to describe how hard this game is. Early in the game, you think you’ll just kill a few townies, small beasts and dodge bullets. No, they give you this beast.
The actual boss fight is great (watch it here). He jumps at you while you’re crossing a narrow bridge and you have to fight him there with little health and basic weapons. I have no idea how I survived it. When I first encountered the Cleric Beast, I quit the game and didn’t play for three months. A friend encouraged me to go on. Victory, finally and the feeling is fucking amazing. It was my first FromSoft game and claiming the Cleric Beast’s ass made me even more curious about the rest of the bosses, which turned from monstrous to downright horrifying. See The One Reborn below:
The One Reborn is a colossal mass of undead corpses made to resemble a Great One (we’re venturing into cosmic horror territory now).
There’s a point in the game where you cross the line between the living and the cosmic — you get enough “insight” to actually see the inhuman creatures populating Yharnam, such as the massive Cthulhu-like creatures hanging on the side of churches.
You accumulate “frenzy” when you are forced to “process information incomprehensible to humans, such as information about the Great Ones, Eldritch Truth, or Cosmos.” The Lovecraft influence begins to accumulate here but it becomes more apparent with the Fishing Hamlet location, which is clearly lifted from Lovecraft’s short story “The Shadow Over Innsmouth.” Here’s a lore breakdown (I love lore breakdowns. I could watch these videos for hours as there’s a whole ass part of YouTube dedicated to SoulsBorne lore):
But let’s go back to ShiniGami eater’s video and how he moved me to tears by capturing everything I love about Bloodborne. The despair that cloaks the game (yeah, this isn’t a game with a ‘happy’ ending) is what fascinates me. The ornate settings, sprawling Victorian architecture, and blood-soaked fighting all amount to a world without hope. But of course when you’re playing the game for the first time you don’t know this. You eventually carry on with the game with better weapons and a longer life bar, slaughtering all the alien and inhuman bosses without flinching. You get to the end, with Gehrman, the First Hunter, in a field of flowers, the moon illuminating their white petals. Gehrman offers you a chance to wake up from the dream or refuse. Waking up means going back to your humanity. Refusing means accepting the monster that you have become. It’s an interesting dilemma to face and what you choose is up to you and what you make of the game’s universe.
Tragedy and nihilism reign in Bloodborne. Perhaps the happy ending is making it all a dream but that belittles all the hours of hardcore playing that you’ve devoted to the game. Elden Ring is a little happier than Bloodborne but the unrelenting hopelessness I feel recently makes me nostalgic about the time I played Bloodborne. I feel that oppressiveness; a darkness that creeps up on you no matter how much light you carry. All this struggle is insignificant in the scheme of the cosmos. We don’t matter. But this is a reality we live in everyday. So maybe I’ll choose to wake up; a gun in hand and a scythe on the other, ready to fight.