Review by Bkstunt_31

Reviewed: 08/10/16

Welcome Home, Good Hunter!

Hail, Good Hunter! Welcome to my review for Bloodborne's DLC: "Bloodborne: The Old Hunters". Chances are that you are here because you either know about the main game or have at least played it and are interested in playing more. Both good reasons, just as long as you are aware that this review is indeed for the DLC Chapter of Bloodborne, and not for Bloodborne itself. I have actually written a separate Bloodborne review you can go check out if you wish, but it should be noted that I gave the base game a 9/10 as I found it simply incredible, but definitely NOT for everyone as the game (like most "From Software" titles) is indeed brutal and requires a learning curve to get into. Enough introductions though: if you are reading this review, you should definitely be acquainted with Bloodborne, so let's get onto the review itself!

The first thing you should know about "The Old Hunters" is that this DLC is actually NOT a stand-alone experience. It is actually an accessible area inside the main game itself. When you download the DLC, the messenger minions give you an item and instructions on how to access the game's new area, which you can do at any time you wish once you have beaten the game's third boss (or second boss... depending if you skip the optional first boss or not...).

This system is designed so you can experience the new area as you play the game. People who have saves before the final boss can get through these areas easily, but going straight to them is far from ideal. The downside to this system though is that since the game only has a single save file (assuming you didn't upload any saves to the cloud...), once you beat the main game you are immediately thrown into "New Game Plus", which means that to reach the DLC area, you're going to need to re-play a chunk of the game and then go though the DLC area with it being enhanced with "New Game Plus" stats. That or start a new game. This isn't a huge deal either way, but how the DLC itself was actually implemented is less than ideal to say the least.

As to the story itself, it is heavily rooted into the game's main story, which I'm not about to spoil here. I will say that it involves the "Old Hunters" which are mentioned throughout the main game (and even seen in some cut-scenes) but were never really encountered at all. The founders of the "Healing Church" and the first hunters... this DLC will go over what actually happened to them as it plunges you into the "Hunter's Nightmare". Like most aspects of the main game though, the story isn't exactly laid out for you: at most you are only ever given clues as to what occurred (mainly through item descriptions) and left to draw your own conclusions. If you enjoyed the story (and let's face it: it is really the lore...) of the main title, then the "Old Hunters" is going to deliver even more of that to you.

OK, onto the game play. Since this is DLC, you already know what the game is going to play like. There is nothing really new here, but the biggest change to the game is the wealth of new weapons the game delivers to you. Quite honestly, this DLC package delivers WAY MORE WEAPONS per area than the main game does. Seriously, there are a lot of new weapons here for you to play with, and each one of course lends itself to different character builds, not to mention all of the new weapon combinations. If weapon variety is something you crave, this DLC has you covered in spades.

With the new DLC of course comes new enemies and bosses for you to die horri... er, defeat. The new enemies, for the most part (the vast majority, I'd say), are different than anything you'll find in the main game, which is the entire point of having DLC, so that is one thing they definitely did right. However, the new bosses are definitely the highlight of the DLC. These bosses are very much all brand-new and definitely challenging, and some of them are among my favorite and top-rated boss fights in the entire game (the last two bosses in particular were fantastic). All in all, the game play just delivers more of the same as you're accustomed to by now, but with even more variety in weapons, enemies and bosses which cements this DLC as worthwhile if you enjoyed the main title.

The graphics in the DLC are of course magnificent, just like the main title is. The overall atmosphere of gothic horror really shines through here in spades with fantastically detailed environments and architecture. I will admit that the very first area you visit is, in all honestly, a re-skin of the "Cathedral" area in the main game where you fight the Vicar, but it soon changes into a new area (with a fantastic river...). Still, my initial reactions were disappointed seeing as the first area they put you in is a re-skin, but I'm happy to report that this is the only instance of re-skinning in the entire game. As a whole, this DLC consists of three large new areas with their own side-paths, shortcuts and aesthetics that will indeed be a joy for first-time players to explore, just as the main game was. Half of the fun is seeing what horrors await to be uncovered, right?!

The game's music pieces continue to impress me, with dark, foreboding (and gothic) tunes that just OOZE atmosphere. I'm particularly impressed by the boss fight soundtracks, which often include choral pieces this time around (the final battle's music makes me remark on how good it is every time... well that and I fought that battle MANY times). The fight in the clocktower is also particularly good with how melodic it is. Many apologies for not listing the tracks this time around, but they include boss names and I'd rather not spoil anything here, but you can search for the DLC's soundtrack if you want to have a listen (beware of boss name spoilers!). Sound effects are once again solid and will creep you out at times and overall the game maintains its fantastic audio.

When it comes to re-playability, "The Old Hunters" is pretty much a stand-alone deal. It will take you around 6-8 hours to beat (or more, depending on your skill), but it is very much a self-contained package. It's biggest contribution is likely its wealth of weapons and items it adds that you can use in the main game and any "New Game Plus" runs you do.

It is also worth noting that Bloodborne does NOT have a "complete" version of the game out in the US, but it does in Europe. This means that you really have no choice but to purchase this DLC online digitally if you're in the US. DLC rarely goes on sale, so purchasing this DLC will likely cost you the full $20. Just so you know!

Overall: 9/10

In the end, "The Old Hunters" plainly gives you more of what Bloodborne did, but with an emphasis on a variety of new weapons. The boss fights are fantastic, the environments are fantastic, the music is great... everything you loved in Bloodborne is wrapped up and gifted to you for 8+ more hours of game play. If you did not like Bloodborne at all, than this DLC is of course not for you, but if you loved it I highly urge you to look past the price and dive head-in. You'll thoroughly enjoy yourself! And remember: A Hunter is Never Along! Have fun and keep playing!

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: Bloodborne: The Old Hunters (US, 11/24/15)

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