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Bloodborne: The Old Hunters
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Bloodborne: The Old Hunters is a downloadable content pack for Bloodborne, and the original game is required to play. It's both extraordinarily challenging and extremely violent. Players spend the bulk of their time fighting horrific monsters -- some of which are humanoid in appearance -- with a variety of bladed weapons; each swipe and slice unleashes torrents of dark crimson blood that soak the hero's clothes and spatter the ground. One of the new levels has players wading through a literal river of blood. Though exceptionally hard, this game also has the potential to be very gratifying when players defeat difficult bosses or successfully navigate their way through labyrinthine levels to new save points.
What's it about?
BLOODBORNE: THE OLD HUNTERS is an expansion to the challenging fantasy RPG Bloodborne that adds new areas to explore, new gear to collect, new enemies and bosses to fight, and a new league to join. The new content is accessed not from the menu but rather within the world, inside the Grand Cathedral, which is about midway through the original game's maze-like map. Once the boss inside is defeated, you'll be able to enter the Hunter's Nightmare, a separate world from the rest of the game populated by hunters who have gone mad and attack anything -- monsters and other hunters (including the player's character) -- on sight. Encounters with insane hunters and other aggressive beasts occur as players work their way through a series of terrifying new locations, following a river of blood winding its way through the ruins of an old town until their reach a structure that houses the remains of horrible experiments. As usual, it pays to keep an eye peeled for new weapons, armor, and preciously rare save points along the way.
Is it any good?
A cut above most DLC, this violent expansion pack provides a healthy amount of distinctive new content. The enemies and bosses here are harder than any encountered previously thanks to their punishing new tactics and nearly impervious defenses (you'll need to be extremely careful when trying to dodge-leap by several of them). And the new locations and occasional chats with nonplayer characters provide a few more precious details about the game's lore for players who want to better understand the city of Yarnham and its troubled, horrific history. It's basically a long and satisfying concluding chapter to a long and satisfying game.
To have the best experience, however, it helps to bear in mind a few things. For starters, don't even try tackling the new content with a character below level 65 (or level 100, if you've started a New Game + file). Also, make liberal use of the new nonplayer character hunters that you can (usually) summon before major bosses. They aren’t always great fighters, but they make for useful distractions and can give you a chance to heal between attacks. Last, make sure you save and spend your weapon upgrade resources appropriately. They're limited, and not having enough to upgrade your favorite weapons is a bummer. Follow these suggestions, and you'll be in for a grueling (but ultimately super fun) fantasy ride.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in media. This game is among the most violent around, but most of the viciousness is directed toward nonhuman monsters, so is there a significant difference between games that see players killing monsters and those that involve killing other humans?
Talk about fantasy. Why do some people like to take a break from reality to explore fantastical worlds in movies, books, and games? What are they trying to escape in the real world, and what are they trying to find in the fantasy realm?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4
- Price: $24.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment
- Release date: November 24, 2015
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.