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Bloodborne: The problem with multiplayer

After having just unlocked the Platinum Trophy for Bloodborne, I have to admit that I'm now at a bit of a loss with the game. It didn't take me as long as I expected it would to do everything, and I feel a little shortchanged. I anticipated stumbling across more ways to stretch out Bloodborne's longevity but with the online multiplayer being so awkward, I think it's time for me to remove the disc from my PlayStation 4 and let it retire.

I distinctly remember spending hundreds of hours trawling for Trophies in Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2 and enjoying much jolly co-operation as a Sunbro, but with Bloodborne? I'm done. Three play-throughs, in two of which I made sure to collect every piece of available loot, visited all optional areas and destroyed all compulsory/non-compulsory bosses, and one quick run for the final ending. Not a record breaking speed run, but extremely quick compared to my first attempt. However with armour, and weapon choices in particular, being so limited when compared to Dark Souls, and with spells having been almost entirely removed, there's not actually many things to seek out, collect or unlock.

Numerous times we've all been encouraged not to compare Bloodborne to the Souls Series; Demon's and Dark, but let's face it, the comparisons are inevitable. The monster designs, character move-sets, sound effects, level intricacy and the overall ambiguity of the storyline is all incredibly reminiscent of the previous titles released. So, why does this one not offer me the same lure? What's missing from it? Why isn't it as tantalising as Dark Souls? My main gripe is that the Multiplayer aspect, for me, is incredibly broken and sometimes I'm not even sure if my game is actively searching for other people to connect to, due to the fact it stops announcing that it's even looking.

For those of you not in the know, Bloodborne uses a unique system to connect players. If you want people to pop into your game you ring a "Beckoning Bell" and if anybody in your immediate area has rung a "Small Resonant Bell" there's a slim chance you'll connect to each other, providing you're both of a similar level. Short of a small symbol and some haze around your character's feet which, apparently, means you're currently searching for other players, there's not really any further indication. Occasionally somebody will arrive, and then begins the arduous task of finding each other, but more often than not, nobody will arrive at all. 

Personally, having waited several hours without even a whiff of any other players, on various occasions in level appropriate spots, I'm not terribly confident in this particular system. At least with the Souls games you could actually see who was available to play with due to glowing symbols on the floor. These symbols would also denote the exact spot of another player's arrival in your world, saving you the hassle of spending over half an hour looking for each other. On no less than three occasions while attempting co-operative play in a dungeon, I heard people spawn, get hit, scream and die within seconds and I still don't know how or why. Were they spawning directly on a huge demon, I wonder? It's certainly possible, as I once spawned into another player's world directly onto a trap trigger and got thrown off of a cliff; EPIC LOG FAIL. While I can appreciate that not all games need a multiplayer aspect, if it's going to be added, I expect it to be done well.

It could be argued that the developer didn't want to encourage co-operative play, as it makes the game ridiculously easy, so I'm curious as to why it was added at all. Why not leave it out completely? Bloodborne received most of it's hype for being incredibly difficult. The challenge it poses is it's main selling point, but that challenge is entirely removed when two or more players get together. This all makes me assume that co-operative play was added to allow the game to appeal to a wider audience, who have now been alienated further by how shoddily the multiplayer functions. Or doesn't function at all.

An interesting addition to the game, using the word "interesting" quite loosely, are Chalice Dungeons. Completely optional areas, where you can find slightly different monsters and bosses, variations of weapons you probably already have and nothing else. Well, one weapon you cant get elsewhere, better gems to reinforce your equipment with and more chalices to produce more dungeons, but absolutely nothing else of note. I thought they'd be my co-operative mecca. I hoped all the other players were secretly hanging around in the Chalice Dungeons and I was late to the party, but the online play in these zones is absolutely abysmal. Despite entering dungeons many Bloodborne communities claimed to congregate in, using specific glyphs to make sure I was in a populated area, I had no luck whatsoever. (Yes, I've sorted out my PlayStation 4 ports and made sure I'm eligible to connect Worldwide, without passwords.)

Despite my reservations regarding the online aspects of the game, I have actually enjoyed my time in Yharnam, which is why I'm even more disappointed with the lack of replay value. I feel this anticlimax could have been entirely remedied with reliable multiplayer. I'd still be playing it now, instead of writing this, if I could actually connect to other players. It's a great buzz to get summoned into somebody else's world and to completely decimate whatever they're having trouble with, but if summoning is going to be so sporadic it's absolutely not worth the wait. I could sit here all day fighting or aiding one person every three hours, or I could move on. Preferably to Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin. You'll find me next to a bonfire, which is so full of Ascetics, it reeks of death.

Words by Abbie J Middleton.

Edited On 01 May, 2015

( 9 )
JoeToots's avatar
JoeToots 2 years ago
Enjoyable read this. I'd love to see more articles like this Joe.
Joe2120's avatar
Joe2120 2 years ago
Abbie is going to do us some more. I'm sure me and Ash will write some too when we have something to say. I do occasionally :D
Joe2120's avatar
Joe2120 2 years ago
Have something to say I mean :D
Danny_936's avatar
Danny_936 2 years ago
Even you need an edit button lol :D
Joe2120's avatar
Joe2120 2 years ago
Too true :D
AJMiddleton's avatar
AJMiddleton 2 years ago
I shall endeavour to write more! It's about time I got back to it. Thanks for the encouragement and feedback. Much appreciated. :)
PrometheusFan's avatar
PrometheusFan 2 years ago
"Bloodborne received most of it's hype for being incredibly difficult. The challenge it poses is it's main selling point" - Really? I was under the impression the game being enjoyable to play was it's 'main selling point'. I know that was my main concern.
Anonymous user's avatar
ronnie 2 years ago
Interesting read that!! Good work, v helpful as I'm a massive dark souls fan
Anonymous user's avatar
LEE 2 years ago
I'm 7 hours in on my third playthrough and almost ready to face the final boss. This game is nowhere near as difficult as the souls games.

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