The critics have spoken in perfect harmony: Bloodborne is brilliant. Fans are already declaring it the best game of the generation so far. Yet at the same time everyone seems to acknowledge that the game is made for quite a niche ‘hardcore’ audience. Therefore it stands to reason that a lot of people will find they do not enjoy the game. So where are the dissenting opinions? Where are the negative reviews, from critics and from consumers? Are we to believe that everyone who bought Bloodborne fell in love with it? Maybe it isn’t so niche or challenging after all?
Take a look at the comments and discussion on any article or blog that dares to voice discontent with the game, and without doubt you will see “Author is lame and terrible at games and life”, “He just isn’t masculine or cool enough to be good at the game”, and generally douchery. It doesn’t matter if the original complaint centres around the difficulty of the game, or an eccentric dislike of the styling of the coats. If you don’t like Bloodborne you lack the skills to beat it, end of story. Any negative remark is immediately invalid because whoever said it is a widdle baby.
I’m going to set myself up for some of that ridicule right here: I bought Bloodborne and so far I’m just not into it. I ‘pre-ordered’ it on the digital store 1 or 2 days prior to release for a stonking £49.99 straight into Sony’s coffers, based on the stellar reviews around the internet and the general styling of the game. The first thing I noticed after meticulously creating my character is that the framerate is largely unpleasant (thank you Digital Foundry for expanding on the reason), but the world and the art carry a cryptic intrigue that made me want to explore it’s darkest depths. Then I died quite a few times, and found the penalty of an unnecessarily lengthy loading time and significant amount of ground you have to re-tread every single time wore me down. I wasn’t really having much fun at all, so I decided to go back to my on-going Dragon Age campaign. Maybe when I’ve finished that up I’ll find From Software and Sony have resolved the frame delivery issue and possibly reduced the load times, so it’ll be a better game when I return.
That “feeling of accomplishment” people like to talk about betrays a hard truth: You have accomplished nothing significant.
Now to be clear, that isn’t the GameOnDaily review of Bloodborne. It isn’t a setup for a controversial low-scoring review. Someone else is working on the review, and from what I gather he’s enjoying the game. The critical merit of From Software’s latest work is not the point I want to address at all, and the fact that some people will inevitably label me “an incompetent moron that should stick with Peggle” will only work to highlight the point I am making: There is no shame in saying you don’t like hard games, and no cause to insult people that feel that way. Conversely, beating Bloodborne (through raw talent or sheer perserverance) is nothing to be proud of, and any feeling of superiority over your fellow man is sorely misplaced. It’s a videogame, and it is intricately designed to be beatable. That “feeling of accomplishment” people like to talk about betrays a hard truth: You have accomplished nothing significant. Hopefully you have enjoyed yourself…. but that’s not really something to brag about, and certainly doesn’t justify any attempt to belittle anyone with different taste in games.
Take nothing away from the people that are running competitive speed runs, or leveraging their skill to make a name for themselves via social media. Those guys are accomplishing something very real. The thriving eSports scene is further proof that computer games can stand as a platform for real achievements that people can take pride in, and I give those people all due respect. I am only pointing out the anonymous keyboard warriors of the internet that take it upon themselves to insult others for simply having a different taste in games. Who’s the real “loser” there?
Of course this laughable behaviour isn’t exclusive to Bloodborne or even to videogames. Expand the search and you’ll find people going to great lengths to belittle others because their favourite console sold more than another, or their favourite sports team (that they are not a part of in any way) are better than another team. I suppose bragging and belittling others is just an unfortunate human trait, and people will grasp at any metric they can to have at it. I don’t want to take a nosedive into the realms of the philosophical, so I’ll steer it back round to the crux of my point.
The guys that brag about it or mock and insult others should be the real laughing stock
It is OK to like Bloodborne. It’s better than OK. I’m happy for you. It is also OK to dislike Bloodborne, even if the real reason is that you aren’t very good at it. The guys that brag about it or mock and insult others should be the real laughing stock. Those guys are bad at life, which is a more critical failure than being bad at Bloodborne. So I suppose the message at the end of it is a familiar one: Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and whether you agree with and respect it or not you have a responsibility to maintain a level of courtesy. If you can beat the challenge presented by bloodborne, surely something as easy as civilised conversation isn’t too hard?