A HUNTER’S VICTORY
It’s more Bloodborne. But I suppose you already knew that. The Old Hunters is a dense amount of DLC that has plenty to offer Hunters both old and new to Yharnam. While the setting’s depth may be more rewarding for those who have already explored the main game, this expansion gives players plenty of reason to come back for more punishment.
Bloodborne’s plot is characterized as elusive at best. Players can venture through the entire game without ever picking up on what’s really going on beneath the surface. Sparse dialogue can seem cryptic to the wrong ears, and the scattered notes about characters and settings can sometimes feel random. But with a little training and some more digging (not to mention a healthy amount of conjecture), the plot’s web can begin to take shape. The Old Hunters does not depart from that tone. It takes place in a sort of parallel, nightmarish universe to Yharnam (yes, it’s more frightening than the original), where Hunters go to retire. Blood-addled and strong as the foes they once slew, these Hunters are dispersed throughout the Hunter’s Nightmare even more aggressive and numerous than those you may have encountered previously. Expect a challenge at every turn, not just in formal Boss form.
Vanquishing many of these Hunters does usually come with a nice reward, though. Where the original game had some players scratching their heads at the seemingly short supply of varied weapons and armor, The Old Hunters has become the armory they were missing. There’s a reason why a gold trophy was added to the game’s achievement list for collecting all of the DLC’s weapons. There are many. Alone, the pure enjoyment of swinging a steampunked, circular-saw mace may make you wish these weapons had been available since the game’s onset. Fortunately, the necessary ingredients for upgrading one of these monstrosities to its maximum level are well-supplied throughout the new world.
Those gluttons for punishment who are coming back to Yharnam after a long vacation in other game series will likely remember that Bloodborne is stingy with its cutscenes. Not so, in The Old Hunters. Various boss battles are sparked with an introductory cutscene (one notably has a cutscene halfway through, which may be a little frustrating for players finding it challenging), and some even conclude with a short cinematic. These cutscenes can be informative to The Old Hunters plot and stylish in execution. Still, for the most part, From Software allows the game’s backdrops to unfold naturally by guiding players to scenic points of interest.
Of course, Bloodborne is only as strong as its most difficult boss, and there are some doozies in this new slab of content. Without getting into the spoilery-specifics of each fight, there are a couple bosses that are likely to force your hand into ringing the Beckoning Bell (the item that allows other random players to cooperate with you in your world, which has thankfully seen some success rate improvement since the release of the DLC), and one or two that can be relative pushovers. Many of these bosses hold striking similarities in their attack patterns to bosses previously introduced, but a few stand out as being absolute heart-pounders, harrowing endeavors. I’m not sure I ever would have been able to defeat Laurence The First Vicar on my own, and my final battle with Orphan of Kos had my knees trembling with adrenaline. Just take a look at how horribly wrong my battle with Lady Maria of the Astral Clocktower went in the video below.
The Verdict: 9.6 out of 10
Yes, The Old Hunters is well worth the $19.99 price point, but its finale awakens the bitter knowledge that this will be the last piece of content released for the PlayStation 4 exclusive. The DLC distills everything that made Bloodborne a masterpiece and deals it back to players over the course of nearly 8 hours of fresh content, not to mention the newfound desire to start-up a new-game-plus just to keep tinkering with all of its shiny toys. If you’re a fan of Bloodborne, it’s a no-brainer. If you’re just starting or are only thinking about diving into the arena, steel yourself and know this purchase may be in your future.
Jordan Loeffler is Editor in Chief for MONG who drives a 2006 Pontiac Vibe with Minnesota license plates even though he lives in Portland, OR. She’s seafoam green, and she drives like a wave. You can also follow him on IGN and on Twitter.