Tales from the Borderlands Episode 3 – Shifting Gears

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Taking a break from my Yharnam hunt, I fired up Tales from the Borderlands Episode 3 – Catch a Ride. Telltale’s third act of the Borderlands saga begins to reveal a grander story. The introduction of Gortys, a Pixar-like robot, made me smile. I haven’t finished the episode yet but every plot beat has felt solid so far. Take a moment to check out the introduction:

Bloodborne: Joy In Death

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Scuttlebutt on the street is that Dark Souls games are cruel. Punishing difficulty. Death equaling toys being taken away. A regular playground bully of a game series.

Firing up Bloodborne, I expected a steep learning curve. Dying over 30 times on the first nether beast, I thought that my experience was par for the course. Maybe the game doesn’t give you weapons for awhile? My fists of fury will triumph! And they did. After many rolls, dodges, and time, the nether beast died. Joy to the world.

Death is the teacher in Bloodborne. My moment of joy pooled in blood. I can hear Han Solo telling Luke Skywalker in A New Hope, “Great, kid! Don’t get cocky.” Best advice ever.

My friend Scotto noticed that I had taken up the hunt in Yharnam. He sent me a link to a walkthrough he is using. He noted:

“Helped a ton, and the author is pretty funny.”

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My character looks like Harry Potter. Complete with wire rim glasses. Will take a screenshot of him soon.

Geared up, I restarted the game with a new character. Picked up weapons in Hunter’s Dream. The hunt begins now.

Exploring the city, I take on it’s infected denizens with ease. Silly me to think that the game was sadistic enough to hold back weapons. Rolling, coming up behind an enemy, pure mechanical satisfaction. I found myself smiling. Until I embraced cockiness and died. I laughed.

Bloodborne could be the most fun I’ve had gaming in a long time. The challenge and skill level demanded is perfection.

I walk around screaming, “Bring it, monsters!” Forgetting that the blood shed comes at a price.

I have enjoyed knocking on closed doors in the city. People answering me on the other side. Revealing a small bit of story. Hunkered down until the madness of my hunt comes to an end. Am I damned to slaughter the infected forever? As long as I have my trusty cleaver and blunderbuss, I’m good with whatever the game wants to throw at me. Roll, fire, slash, repeat. Another night, another hunt.

Bloodborne: Death As A Teacher

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I am not a fan of the horror genre. Life has enough real horrors already.

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Ah, beauty of a different sort.

The City of Yharnam has become my new prison. My attempt to break out of my gaming comfort zone and explore the Souls genre. Bloodborne demands mechanical mastery. The ability to read individual animation frames, seeking vulnerability. Discovering that sweet spot at which to sidestep evade and attack. One cannot get too cocky. Spamming attacks with Diablo-like gusto. Some attacks take a moment or two longer. Leaving your character open to damage. Death brings about a refinement of skill. Death the great teaching tool.

I think I died at least 20 times trying to take on the first monster in Bloodborne. No, no, make that 30. No weapon in hand, no help, I struggled through Death Education 101. And yet, I felt compelled to continue.

“Tab, I think this is the meanest game I’ve ever played.”

In a moment of triumph, I beat the first shadow monster and made my way outside. Only to face a man with an axe. He died. Rounding the corner, I ran into two more guys with axes. I let my guard down, just for a moment. The game tells me in a simple manner, “You Died”. Yes, yes, I did.

Bloodborne is definitely not one of those games that I will be playing in front of Wyatt. The Gothic atmosphere, showers of blood, and creepy monsters all have the makings of a fantastic nightmare.

For me, the Gothic aesthetic is just there. I had thought it would bug me with my aversion to the horror genre. Like Neo from The Matrix, I don’t really see the in-game world. All I see are moments to evade, attack, and not get killed. Bloodborne appeals to that mechanical side of me that loves pure gameplay. Gameplay that demands your absolute best.

Yharnam is my home now. A digital mosquito bite that I want to itch.