Bloodborne’s fukkin easy, fam

Opinion, Video Games

Just kidding. Sort of.

Jeff mentioned in the last two Bombcasts that he felt like Bloodborne was much easier than he’d anticipated. In the discussion that followed, the bombcast crew briefly touched on the idea that perhaps this was because the Souls series’ reputation for being completely impenetrable was inaccurate to some degree. This definitely has a lot to do with it. Thanks to a combination of overbearing Bandai/Namco ads talking about how “OMG UR DEF GONNA DIE BCAUSE ITS SO HARD” and many mainstream gaming journalists consistently falling in line with this marketing ploy to some degree, what you have is a series that is unfairly passed over by many people because they just think that they wouldn’t be able to handle it.

The truth is that Souls games just value observation and patience over any form of raw skill, mechanical comprehension, or character build quality. Obviously having any or all of these things can make your time with a Souls game even easier but someone with the ability to patiently observe and calmly react to situations could make their way through the game without ever having to understand any of the admittedly sometimes overwhelming systems that are at play in these titles. And I think this is where the disconnect is for many people. Few other games ask players to be so consistently careful and even fewer games punish players as harshly for their carelessness.

This is where some of the changes in Bloodborne come into play and why the newest FromSoft title is the easiest in many ways.

From has, pretty smartly, made the initial playthrough of the game a bit easier when compared to past titles, but left the difficulty there for those that want it, locked away in chalice dungeons and NG+.

The biggest change has to be the health regain system that allows players to partially regain their health by striking an enemy after being damaged. This effectively lessens the punishment of player mistakes and somewhat encourages sloppier play. This, in turn, ensures that fewer blood vials will be used which, considering that players can now have 20+ healing items on them at any time, makes it quite easy to not have to use too many vials prior to reaching the boss. Being forced to use some of your valuable healing items on the run to the boss was a major point of difficulty in the past.

Healing is also now extremely fast, occurring in roughly a single second. Compared to the absurdly slow animation for drinking an estus flask in Dark Souls, this makes healing while in immediate danger actually feasible. Not to mention that the new dash makes backpedaling your way out of a fucked situation that much quicker, after which you can just quickly pop off 2 of your 20 blood vials. Combine all of this with the new ranged parries that are just as easy to pull off as shield bash parries in Demon’s or Dark Souls, except you can stand outside of melee range to do them. Or stand in melee range, potentially take a hit, and still regain your health off of a parry.

From aren’t stupid, though. They’ve been pretty aware of what aspects of the Souls series their fans love and these changes are, of course, intentional. They even took steps to balance them out. Armor now does little to protect you from physical damage meaning large enemies hit you harder than ever. They’ve added more random flailing to bosses which ensures that their movesets can’t be memorized as easily. NPC hunters can really take you out to pasture, too. Not to mention that the final (human) boss is one of the most challenging and enjoyable fights of its kind that the series has ever seen.

Bloodborne is certainly still quite a challenging game at times and has all of that Miyazaki “charm” in shiny new wrappings. It’s a great game and will easily be in my top ten at the end of the year, but it is far less punishing and much more accessible than what series veterans may have become used to.

The difficulty of Souls games is DEFINITELY oversold by many but, make no mistake, Bloodborne is definitely the easiest one of the bunch.

Images courtesy of Playstation.com/en-us/

Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments Critical Analysis

Opinion, Video Games

By William Chandler

Something made me take a sixty dollar chance on a random Sherlock Holmes game that I’d heard extremely little about prior to release. Well, actually… Boredom. It was probably just boredom. But it wasn’t long after booting the game up and methodically picking my way through the first case that I realized it was an extremely solid adventure game with a great deal of charm and not the ill-fated, franchise abusing drivel that I’d assumed. Chalk that one up to complete ignorance.

It was then that I’d done a bit of research and found that this turned out to not be much of a chance at all, as Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments is actually the seventh primary game in a long running series about the titular detective on Baker Street, which has been the flagship franchise for primarily Ukranian developer Frogwares since the series’ inception in 2002. Then my brain decided to dredge up this old youtube video that I’d seen ages ago which poked fun at the fact that Watson, in the 2007 release Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis, has no walking animation but instead appears to just creepily teleport alongside you, eternally transfixed on you with his steely gaze.

So, I actually had been familiar with the series in passing. And during this research I read that these games had pretty much always been quite enjoyable little adventure titles. I dunno, man. I guess I’ve just never been the guy eagerly eyeballing the list of upcoming releases under the “niche adventure games” category.

The presentational quality is decent enough but, judging by the earlier games in the franchise, has seen a pretty drastic increase in some of the latest titles. That said, there are certainly still some quirks. Tonally, Crimes and Punishments is all over the place. The menu screen features Holmes in the foreground of a moody backdrop of rain or a fireplace while seemingly appropriate orchestral music booms in the background and the game sometimes embraces the tone set by this initial impression, but it is interspersed with a feeling of silliness that often comes from the sheer idiocy of those around Sherlock.

Inspector Lestrade is portrayed here as not even a basically competent officer of the law and, at worst, a lazy and bumbling moron whose position of authority raises many questions about those in charge of promotions at Scotland Yard. Even Watson is not saved from the apparent brain damage that has taken hold of the cast of Crimes and Punishments, as he is often merely along for the ride and very rarely says or does anything even remotely useful. I suppose I’m a little too used to the 21st century BBC representation of Sherlock Holmes where they make the detective seem smart by showing how decently intelligent everyone around him is, and then showing the fact the he’s so far beyond even that. This game attempts to accomplish the same by simply making everyone stupid which doesn’t really feel right.

MY ADVENTURES IN CLICKING: THE BOMBSHELL WEBSITE

News, Opinion, Video Games

by Bipol Alam

They did it.  Everything I love in the world encapsulated on one page.  Is it real?

Yes it is.

Image

As #Xhristian pointed out, The Division (Tom Clancy Dystopia Training Simulator) has been pushed back to Q? 2015.  I fear that by the time of its release, nuclear war will have already happened, and the training manual will be of no use to us anymore.  However, do not fret my fellow armchair-mad-max-wannabes for our savior has come, and her name is SHELLY “BOMBSHELL” HARRISON.

The Gods at 3D Realms have crafted the perfect sexy lady badass who happens to be equipped with all the knowledge we’ll need to survive Fallout 4.   Unlike the boys at The Division, (who apparently want us to die in 2015), 3D Realms has PROMISED a ROCK-SOLID release date of Q1 2015.

I know what you’re wondering – Bipol, how did you get all this information?  Well, let’s just say that I’ve been designated a prophet by our Lords in 3D Heaven, for they have given me our bible :  http://bombshellgame.com

With a click you’ll be baptized in the glory of HARD ROCK MUSIC and EDGY STEEL INDUSTRIAL TYPOGRAPHY.  If this doesn’t evoke the lame out of you, scroll down.  In the words of our savior, Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison: “PREPARE YOUR FACE”.

Is that a video in the center of your screen?  Fuck yeah it is.  If you can bear stopping the HARD ROCK MUSIC for the 3 minutes and 27 seconds then go for the click, I sure as hell couldn’t.  If someone in the comments could tell me what happens in that video, I’d appreciate it.

EDIT: Alright, I decided that my journalistic integrity would be tarnished if I didn’t watch the video.  Unfortunately they opted for some weird deus ex sci-fi kind of beep boop stuff.  Not my cup of Daniels Jackson.

WAIT – THIS IS A VIDEO GAME?  A VIDEO GAME ACTION RPG FEATURING “INTENSE STORYTELLING ACTION”?!  HOW DID THEY KNOW?

This “brilliantly brutal” top-down RPG X-core shooter is coming soon to your PC or PS4.  You should be excited.