Spill the wine, not your blood
Bloodborne can get pretty rough at times. All Souls games can. To help you ease from the frustration to the fun zone, here are a few tips to help you on your way.
General non-spoiler tips will be frontloaded at the top, but the progression-spoiler ones will be in the second section. Note that no bosses or story elements are spoiled, just navigational tidbits in case you get lost.
- Once again starting classes (“backgrounds” here) do not matter outside of the obvious last handicap option. Pick whatever you want. Health and stamina will help your survivability, and the attack and arcane stats will help your damage and utility. Note there is a downplay on magic in Bloodborne — there are only a few spells, though most of them are useful.
- Be cautious: look around for potential ambushes. They’re always the same if you die and repeat a level, with the exception of Insight changes in Bloodborne, which may slightly alter layouts as you progress with the game. Without a shield you’ll have to be more vigilant, so always have your finger on the dodge button.
- Speaking of dodging, Bloodborne is an action-oriented game. Stamina is more plentiful, and there is no “weight” stat — you’ll always dodge at the same speed the entire quest no matter what items you have equipped. Get used to dodging often early, and make use of the slight invincibility frames it bestows. The shield has some uses, but it’s mainly a joke item. Try to use a gun in your off-hand, as it essentially replaces riposte.
- You can fast-climb or descend down ladders by holding the Circle (run) button.
- Suicide loot runs are still a thing, and are more effective than ever. Since dying doesn’t give you a “spirit or Hollow” form that reduces your health in Bloodborne, you can engage in suicide dashes to pick up as much loot as possible more often without reprisal. Likewise, you can often pick up items as you’re dying, so if you’ve had a bad suicide run, mash that button and don’t give up after death.
- The starting shop (the fountain near the spawn point) will sell you pretty much everything you could want, and more items will be stocked as you encounter them in the game world. It will scale with your level and become more expensive over time.
- “Regain” is a new mechanic that can work in your favor. After taking damage, you can heal a portion back by doing damage within a window of a few seconds. This applies even if you’ve taken damage from another source, like falling. Keep in mind that most enemies will actually have an “active” corpse even after death, so keep attacking to regain a few more slivers of health if you need it. This last bit is pretty crucial as you can use this tactic every 30 seconds or so.
- Pick a weapon and stick with it. Try not to upgrade anything above +5 until you find out your favorite loadout — then get it to +10 as quickly as you can. There are far less weapons in general in Bloodborne so it pays to specialize.
- Always trigger shortcuts, including elevators, first. Bloodborne has a huge emphasis on shortcuts (more than any game before it), so prioritize opening them up before anything else. 90% of the time elevators go to past areas and are generally safe zones.
- Wondering what to spend your money on? Try to increase your level as much as possible, and use the rest of your cash on blood vials.
In Bloodborne, any items you acquire past your maximum equipment limit (in the case of vials, 20 by default) will go to your storage, and upon death or re-entry to the hub, you’ll automatically restock using said storage. It pays to overstock vials as you may be using 10-20 per boss fight — if you have a ton of them saved up you won’t need to farm for more and can keep progressing.
Bloodborne tips (gameplay/progression spoilers):
- Farm enemies early on for vials, and try not to waste too many of them before the first boss fight. Learn a big fight and the mechanics of each attack before burning through your supply. Keep in mind that the Cleric Beast is the second big foe you should fight if you’re having trouble with him. It seems like Cleric should be first since you encounter him first, but Priest Gascoigne is actually linked to progression.
- Lost? Here’s what to do, eliminating any non-required bosses. Go to the chapel after defeating Gascoigne and defeat the boss there at the summit. You’ll acquire a password that you can use in the main terrace (with all the giant enemies) right outside of the chapel checkpoint, near the large staircase that leads up to the main summit. For easy directions, just head down the large stairs, go through the gate, and turn right.
Head down into the Forbidden Woods, defeat the trio boss, then further into the path you’ll find the spider boss. From there, you can go back to the chapel checkpoint (inside, where you fought the boss), head down the stairs, go left, and into the door previously blocked by the big enemy. After the spider you’ll be teleported there anyway. It’s self-explanatory from there, as the last major hub is just ahead.
- The Forbidden Woods is a great place to farm for mid-to-endgame. Go to the Woods lamp, head across the bridge, down the hill, and kill 10 or more villagers. Repeat. You should earn enough money for a level-up per run depending on your level, or a large stock of vials to use on bosses.
- Chalices you place will carry over with New Game+, so don’t be paranoid about restarting your progress. Also, keep in mind that when it feels like the game should end, saying “yes” to a question in an extra zone in the starting hub will end the game instantly and save a New Game+ clear. You have been warned.