When Bloodbourne came out in 2015, it drew comparisons with the Souls series and with a good reason. Both games were made by FromSoftware, with their now signature difficult combat accompanied by a good story and creative design. The battles in these games are really tough so we compiled this brief walkthrough with some key tips and tricks to help you enjoy the game to its fullest.
One of the most accurate ways to describe Bloodbourne is as a sped-up Dark Souls in that you can dodge, parry, and attack in pretty much the same manner, but the action is a lot faster.
Although the opening hours of the game can be quite frustrating, we urge you to try to power through. Yes, it's a little annoying that the game doesn't give you a lot of pointers at the start, but that's why we're here for. Because each boss in this game is a story of their own, we'll focus on some general tips and tricks as well as some more specific stuff.
General Tips And Tricks
As this is a rather immersive game full of features, we'll further divide this section to help you navigate more easily. Furthermore, some of the tips here will be geared more towards beginners while some things may be more useful to experienced players.
Hunter's Dream area is your home base. This is the area that you will be taken after you die for the first time at the start of the game and no, you shouldn't worry about dying almost immediately. Although this is technically an area that you can freely roam, there are no enemies here and you'll be able to adjust your weapons and your character at peace. Consider it as a safe zone.
There are two main ways to access Hunter's Dream area with the first one being already mentioned - just die. However, you should be aware that if you enter the dreamland this way, you won't have access to most of the loot in the area.
The other way to access Hunter's Dream is through the Central Yharnam lamp which is the first lamp you will come upon. This is a better way to enter Hunter's Dream area as you'll have almost full access to all the goodies that can be found here. That is especially useful as you'll find your first set of weapons here. Another useful thing about accessing Hunter's Dream early on is that you'll be able to circle the area for a bit and find notes about the controls and gameplay mechanics in general.
After you play the game for a little while, you will be able to access more stuff in Hunter's Dream area so make sure to visit it regularly.
When you gather at least one Insight, you'll be able to level up from Hunter's Dream area by speaking to a doll of a woman on the left side of the spawn point. During this interaction, you'll be able to spend Blood Echoes in order to level up your character.
To the left side of this doll is a fountain which you can approach and interact with a Bath Messanger. These guys can be found all throughout the game and they serve as shopkeepers, selling items like Consumables, Materials, Weapons, Attires, and Chalices. This particular Bath Messanger uses Blood Echoes as currency while some others will use Insight.
Atop the hill in Hunter's Dream you'll find Hunter's Workshop where you'll be able to fortify, repair, and upgrade your weapons, but also store items. Sometimes, there will be an old man hanging around Hunter's Workshop and you'll be able to interact with him to progress the story.
Fun fact: Hunter's Workshop is based on the Abandoned Old Workshop. If you wish to check this out for yourself, you can do so by going down from the first floor of the Healing Church Workshop and looking for a dim room full of planks and ropes.
Let's talk a bit about Lamps in Bloodbourne. If you have played Dark Souls then you're likely already familiar with the concept. Essentially, you can look at Lamps the same way you would look at Bonfires in the Souls series as they are the gateway to Hunter's Dream, but also as a checkpoint and a fast travel location. But, be forewarned that if you return to a Lamp from Hunter's Dream, all the surrounding enemies (except bosses and few unique enemies) will respawn. Where Lamps in Bloodbourne differ from Campfires in Dark Souls is that you can still touch them and not trigger enemies' respawn.
The good thing about Lamps is that when you travel back to the real world, your health will replenish. The Lamps also need to be lit before they can be used which means you'll have to discover and activate them before being able to use them for fast travel.
What Is Insight In Bloodborne?
Insight is a stat that can be earned when encountering bosses with the interesting fact here being that you don't actually have to defeat the boss to earn Insight. It's enough to engage them in combat and the Insight is yours.
This stat can be used to summon other players into your world with the Beckoning Bell and as of patch 1.07, you have to spend it if you want to use the Old Hunter Bell which will summon friendly NPCs to assist you. It can also be used for equipment at the Messengers.
It's important to keep in mind that there are certain enemies called Brainsuckers that can steal your Insight and that it can't be recovered from them. When encountering these enemies be very careful as they are very tough and can very easily grab you.
Gaining Insight will reduce frenzy resistance and beasthood while losing it will increase them. Below is a list of ways you can get Insight and also the amount you'll gain.
- By entering most Boss arenas. (amount varies)
- By beating Bosses. (amount varies)
- By defeating bosses as a summoned guest in multiplayer. (+1)
- By successfully killing another player using the Sinister Bell. (+1)
- By consuming a Madman's Knowledge. (+1)
- By consuming a Great One's Wisdom. (+2)
- By consuming a One-Third of Umbilical Cord. (+3)
- By consuming a Blood Dreg. (+1)
- By being grabbed by an invisible force outside the Oedon Chapel in Cathedral Ward. (+1)
- By sending quest NPCs to the safe haven at Iosefka's Clinic. (+1 for each, +2 if you send all)
- By entering the Abandoned Old Workshop. (+2)
- By entering Iosefka's Clinic from the Forbidden Woods back entrance. (+1)
- By entering Yahar'gul, Unseen Village in a bag. (+1)
- By finding Lecture Building 1st floor lamp. (+2) (Tonsil stone NOT needed.)
- By entering Nightmare Frontier from the Lecture Building. (+2)
- By entering the Nightmare of Mensis from the Lecture Building. (+3)
- By entering Forsaken Cainhurst Castle. (+2)
- By finding Annalise, Queen of the Vilebloods in Cainhurst Castle (+2)
- By discovering Patches the Spider's true form. (+2)
- By "talking" to Master Willem. (+2)
- By seeing Arianna's Infant. (+3)
A Walkthrough Of Items In Bloodborne
Items usually play a big role in every RPG, but in Bloodborne, they have an especially important meaning. They can be found in three main ways.
One of the ways you can use to obtain items is to kill enemies because most of the time, a slain enemy will drop loot. The best way to know if you're about to get some goodies is to wait until the enemy's death animation is complete and then look for a white flame. If at that point you don't see any items, then you can move one.
Likewise, any dead body can contain items, and due to the sheer brutality of the world of Bloodborne, you will find a lot of corpses on your journey. The same logic applies as before - if you see a white flame, then there's loot and if you don't see it, then there isn't any loot.
The last way to get items is at specific locations like altars and tables. In some cities, you'll find a red lantern on a window or a door of some houses which means that there is someone inside. If you knock and talk to the person inside, they might give you something or give you a quest.
An important note: items obtained from dead bodies or specific locations do not respawn.
There are several different types of items and they are pretty basic in terms of RPG items, but let's list them out just in case you're unfamiliar with the genre.
- Consumables - these are the items that deplete with use and they're mostly found around Yharnam, but also on the corpses or purchased from Messengers.
- Tools - although the game lists these items as Consumables, they do not deplete with use and have some specific uses.
- Projectiles - as the name suggests, they are weapons that thrown at enemies with various effects.
- Chalices - now these are a bit different from the usual RPG items. They can be used to perform a ritual in Hunter's Dream which will create a Chalice Dungeon where the challenge is beating multiple respawning bosses and collecting the loot. Sort of like a bonus level.
- Materials - you use them to perform a Chalice Ritual or fortify your weapons at the Workshop. Primary upgrade materials are Blood Stone Shards and Blood Gems and can be found in Chalice Dungeons, in chests, on corpses, or as mob drops.
- Multiplayer items - you will use these to either invite people to your game or join their game. You can also invade another Hunter's world and check the scoreboard and communicate with other players.
- Key items - most of the time, these are actual keys but can be other items as well. They are used to open doors or grant passages to certain areas.
- Badges - killing a boss, completing quest lines, joining a covenant, or finding them in the world are the ways that you can use to obtain a Badge which you can then use to get some new gear from the Messengers.
Blood Echoes are both an item and a stat in Bloodborne and can be used to level up, upgrade your weapons, perform Chalice Rituals, and trade with Messengers. You can get Blood Echoes from killing enemies, but how much you get depends on the enemy's level and type. You can also acquire Blood Echoes by consuming Coldblood, or by selling items to the Bath Messenger in the Hunter's Dream.
What makes Blood Echoes unique is that if you die, you will lose them. However, they are not lost for good. You may be lucky enough to find them on the ground in the place where you died, but more likely, an enemy will pick them up. If an enemy hasn't gotten to it first, you'll be able to pinpoint their location by looking for a small, red pillar of light.
Neither a boss, nor his summon, can pick up your Blood Echoes, which is a good thing, but if they aren't on the ground, you should look around for an enemy with a light purple glow in their eyes. Another good thing about this encounter is that the enemies aren't stronger because of Blood Echoes, but you will still have to defeat them to retrieve your Blood Echoes. Remember that every time you die, enemies will respawn. So, if you die in a boss fight, you will have to go through all enemies you already beat to get to the location of your Blood Echoes.
An important thing you have to remember when it comes to Blood Echoes is that if you die again before retrieving them, they will be lost forever. Also, if you quit the game by choosing the "Exit Game" from the menu, your Blood Echoes will be gone as well.
If you reload the save after you die, you can find your Blood Echoes on the first floor in front of the lamp room in the Lecture Building. You should also know that there is a glitch in which you'll be unable to find your Blood Echoes anywhere (including the Lecture Building), but the good news is that there is a relatively simple fix. Simply go to Hunter's Dream and then back to the spot where you dropped them. Now you should be able to either find your bloodstain or the enemy that has absorbed them.
Due to this high-risk nature of Blood Echoes, we suggest using them up as soon as you can to avoid having to redo a part of the game.
A Walkthrough Of The Signature Bloodborne Combat
Like any other game made by FromSoftware, Bloodborne sports that signature hard but rewarding combat. After all, it was the reason the original Demon's Souls stood out in the then-oversaturated action-RPG market and FromSoftware appears to follow the good old doctrine of not fixing something that isn't broken.
Most of the time the combat can be quite predictable but that doesn't make it any easier. Of course, the difficulty spike is there for harder enemies and bosses, but even their movement can be predicted.
The first thing you should know about normal-sized enemies is that you can stun them with your basic attack (R1 button). You don't even have to follow their movements, wait for them to attack, time the dodge correctly, and then attack. It's as simple as walking up to them and smacking them.
On the other hand, larger enemies cannot be stunned by your standard attacks. Instead, you'll have to wait until they are just about to attack and then use your gun to stun them. However, the timing of this can tough, but it can still be learned.
Basically, you want to follow the enemy's attack animation and stand right in front of them, and lock-on by pressing the right thumbstick button (R3). Yes, this is a high-risk move, but it's also your best chance to get the stun. When the enemy starts its attack animation, that is when you want to fire, but be careful with the timing as you will not get the stun if the enemy finishes the attack (and you'll also get hit).
As always, there are exceptions to the rule. Sometimes you may not stun the enemy with the gun attack and there are some things you should pay attention to before shooting your shot. The two most important things to pay attention to are making sure you're directly lined up and that you're locked in before taking your shot as these are the two most often reasons for a misfire.
Another reason for missing is that your timing was simply off, but this is a skill that needs to be learned so there's no reason to get frustrated over it. Also, make sure to not use this tactic when on uneven ground, such as stairs, as these can also make the gunshot ineffective.
So, when you hit the enemy with the gunshot and land a stun, you should simply walk up to the enemy use your normal attack which will initiate the critical strike animation that causes a good amount of damage. Keep in mind that in order to land the critical strike you have to be directly in front of or behind the enemy. Of course, the enemy needs to be stunned.
This tactic will work on every larger, non-boss enemies, but you will have to find a different way to defeat a boss as each one of them has a unique pattern of attack. You have to observe them individually and look for a spot to attack.
There is another way to stun enemies and that is the charge attack from behind. To get this attack you must hold down the heavy attack button - R2 - and allow it to fully charge up. Once the charge is full, it will automatically trigger the charge attack and if you positioned yourself correctly in order to stun the enemy, you will be able to use the normal attack and get a critical strike.
However, if you do not fully charge the heavy attack or don't use the charge attack from behind, the enemy will not be stunned most of the time. You might get a stun but this happens so rarely that you can't consider this a reliable option.
As we mentioned way earlier, Bloodborne is faster than Dark Souls so if you're coming from that game (or any other in the Souls series) you should be prepared for the jump in difficulty. The key to coming out on top in combat is to remain calm and patient, but also be ready to aggressively strike when you get an opening.
This doesn't mean that Bloodborne combat differs too much from Dark Souls combat. You can still exploit your environment to its full extent and you shouldn't engage two enemies at the same time if you can avoid it. You can also heavily dodge if you understand how and when to use it. It can an extremely effective way to manage the distance between you and the enemy. You can even use it to get closer to your enemy and attack.
Bloodborne Weapons Explained
To add to the combat conversation, we can't stress enough how important the weapons are. Not only knowing which weapon does what, but also when to use them and against which opponent.
You always have two weapons at your disposal - a regular weapon and a gun. Furthermore, your regular weapon can be long-form or short-form and you switch between these by tapping the L1 button. The long-form weapon allows more damage but is slower to execute while the short-form is the opposite, it lets you attack more quickly but it will generate less damage.
As discussed already, the gun is the perfect tool for getting an enemy stunned, but you have to know when to use it. You should also be aware that you're limited to 20 Quicksilver Bullets through the entire game which means you will have to be careful in knowing when to use the gun. There are some other options though, like acquiring a Pebble and throwing it to distract the enemy before engaging. This tactic is very useful when wanting to separate an enemy from its pack.
You should make sure to upgrade your weapons regularly. To do this, you need to visit Hunter's Workshop in the Hunter's Dream. There you will find the list of all the necessary items you must acquire before upgrading your weapon. We strongly advise you to spend a lot of time here and try to figure out which weapon will work best for you.