Reviewed on: PS4
Distributor: Ster-Kinekor Entertainment
Developer: From Software
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: 24 November 2015 (PSN) 25 November (Game of the Year Edition)
Bloodborne: The Old Hunters is the first and last piece of DLC hitting the game in 2015, and promises to take players to new locations where they will fight new enemies and face some of the hardest trials to date in the game.
To say that Bloodborne: The Old Hunters is a small chunk of DLC would be a lie. It is a solid experience from start to finish and it adds a couple of new weapons and tools to the game that changes the way you approach combat completely.
In order to access the DLC all you have to do is beat Vicar Amelia. This is a boss in the early parts of the game and if you’ve beaten her already, you will be able to access the new locations. In The Old Hunters, you enter a nightmare of an old, deceased hunter. It is here that the new locations, enemies, bosses, and weapons can be found. Once you enter the Hunter’s Nightmare you are welcomed to a massive landscape of familiar locations from the main game, the Cathedral Ward being one of them.
This time however the location has been deformed and combined with a few new elements and enemies. While exploring the DLC you will often come across a set of stairs or a building that will instantly be recognizable from the main game, and it is nice to piece it together as you explore it and try and remember what the original looked like.
Bloodborne: The Old Hunters is not only about its old locations as the DLC has some gorgeously twisted locales to explore from a blood river swarming with Bloodlickers, to a garden that is home to giant cannonball shooting brutes. To take on these new enemies you will need a new weapon, no? Bloodborne: The Old Hunters has a few of them on offer that are pretty unique in their play style. The Whirligig Saw is a massive bladed shield that gets morphed onto a chainsaw-like hammer. The Boom Hammer is a slow weapon that can be set on fire to deal additional damage. You can then slam it down to cause an earth shattering blow in front of you.
There are a few more weapons that are improvements on past weapons like the Beast Cutter which is handled like the Threaded Cane, but instead has a slower attack and a greater range. Bloodborne: The Old Hunters also introduces new firearms like the Gatling Gun that deals devastatingly piercing shots and staggers your enemies. All these weapons are scattered around the DLC and need to be found or looted off an enemy. The battles are tough, but the rewards are worth it.
Enemies in the game are typical Bloodborne fashioned. Overpowered and hard to beat. There are some returning beasts that were bosses in the main game that now guard rare loot in the DLC. Yes, they are as hard as before and you are now in a different area with obstacles in the way, which forces you to re-asses the situation. It is tougher to stagger enemies compared to the main game. Sure the axe brutes have the same attack pattern as before, and they stagger the same, but when it comes to the hunters, which are the main enemies, they are tough to get around.
Bosses in the DLC are great. Ludwig being the only one that I want to mention for spoiler reason. He is twisted and disgusting, and to see him, after reading up on the lore and using his blade, a boss, just made my day. The boss fights are sectioned, meaning that after a set amount of damage, the bosses then transform into harder versions. Again, no spoilers so you will just have to play it and experience it yourself.
Besides the new weapons, enemies, and locations, patch 1.07 introduces the new Covenant, The League. This Covenant focuses on co-op play and is available for anyone, regardless of owning the DLC or not. Upon joining the League you will get a new Caryll Rune called Impurity. It will increase your max HP by 2% when playing co-op and grant you a new item called Vermin when you complete successful co-op sessions. This Covenant really helps as it will improve your co-op sessions by increasing the amount of people nearby, which is especially useful when playing the DLC as the bosses are tough.
Overall Bloodborne: The Old Hunters is a great DLC package with a handful of new bosses and an area to explore that will not have an impact on your main game’s progression. The weapons are varied and give you new ways to tackle combat, and the new enemies are as tough and twisted as ever. For R299 it adds around 8-10 hours of play, and with the new weapons and Covenant, you will surely be going back to the main game and trying these new items out on older bosses too.