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Bloodborne Strategy Guide Review and Highlights Part I

April 22, 2015

This is the first of a 2 post series on the Bloodborne Strategy Guide which was just released.  The first post will cover my initial impressions and describe the guide and its layout.  The second post will highlight unique knowledge and information not available prior to release of the guide, or helpful clarifications of some of Bloodborne’s obscure (dare I say “arcane”) game play elements.  I will also give a final review of the guide.

First impressions

This is a beautiful and heavy hardbound guide, over 500 pages long.  The cover depicts the hunter carryll rune on the front and back.  It comes with digital download codes for a dynamic theme (with graphics similar to the front cover) and the digital guide, which will be updated with patched or new content.  The downloads add extra value in the form of an exclusive theme and an always-current digital guide.

The original release date was pushed back to include day 1 patch content to make the guide as accurate as possible.  Supposedly, over 100 pages were added.  Personally, although initially disappointed at the delay, I applaud this decision since day 1 patches can have significant additional or updated content.  The new subject matter keeps the guide from being obsolete at the game release date.  Black is the predominant color, giving the guide an elegant look while tying nicely with Bloodborne’s dark theme.

The guide is divided in 6 sections or chapters:

Chapter 1 Training Manuals explains the HUD, menus, stats and has tips for newbies and experts, including formulas for attack rating and damage plus hidden damage bonuses.  There is also a section for multiplayer online interactions.

Chapter 2 Hunting Grounds offers detailed maps of each area as well as a progression guide.  The area sections list enemies, insight, time-of-day effects, blood echoes available, even gems and chalice dungeon materials and a difficulty rating for the enemies.  Each area has a map with a legend listing important items like upgrade materials (where do I find those rare chunks????).  Labyrinthine areas are illuminated via explanations of paths and figures of key locations.

Chapter 3 The Bestiary describes enemies and bosses for the normal game areas and the chalice dungeons.  Weapons, armor and drops are listed along with background information for normal enemies.  Bosses receive the royal treatment.  Besides the basic boss info on equipment, there are sections for recommended preparations and an overview of the bosses attack patterns.  Each phase of the boss is explained in detail.  Advice for the boss encounter is listed on a separate and highlighted Key Strategies section.

Chapter 4 Chalice Dungeons delves into the depths of the dungeons.  There is an initial section that enlightens the rather complicated and convoluted chalice ritual system with required chalice materials.  Basic and Root versions of the dungeons are clarified and contrasted, with the basic layouts explained.  Each basic dungeon has its own section with listings for enemies, and a map with an item legend.  Because the dungeons are maze-like, especially the jumbled deeper layers, progression is documented via step-by-step directions leading to the boss.

Chapter 5 Arsenal & Attire is devoted to weapons, armor (attire is actually a better descriptor of the armor) and all of the game’s items.  The weapon section is replete with technical details of attack speed, ratings, stamina consumption and movesets for both normal and transformed modes.  Strategies and tactics for each weapon in different attack modes, along with suggested upgrade gems are covered.  This section adds to past guides for “souls” games.  For the first time, there is an in-depth “technical” discussion of each weapon related to stamina consumption, rolling, moving and dashing attacks, invincibility frames, armor breaks and even hidden bonus damage with different attacks.  This information is not available in full for Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls or Dark Souls II.  A lot of it has been learned and compiled in wiki’s through the activities and research of the community but not until enough time has passed for the game’s full exploration.  However, some aspects of hidden damage and exact multipliers have never been revealed to the community for previous “souls” games.  This guide makes intricate attack calculations available and clarifies actual damage formulas in full for Bloodborne.  After the weapon section, items are depicted along with their in-game descriptions, along with a location and intended use.

Chapter 6 Hunter’s Appendices is the last section acting as a catch-all for a number of unrelated but important game elements.  An event timeline lists the advised progression to interact and complete the NPC’s story arcs.  Each NPC has a proper section that includes the character background and equipment, the entire story line, interaction events and rewards. Next come the shops with all items and costs presented in easy-to-read tables.  The section is rounded out with a description of Wandering Nightmare locations and drops, and a trophy and gesture guide.  The last few pages are devoted to an in-depth interview with the game’s creator Hidetaka Miyazaki, with large game concept illustrations.  For some, this exclusive examination of Miyazaki is worth the price of the guide by itself; in Miyazaki we trust! The Index and Credits & Thanks sections make up the last few pages of the guide.

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2 Comments
  1. Domino permalink

    Thanks Tech for this in-depth review of the guide. Although you can get complete walkthrough with all items shown (which often is easier than reading maps), I find this guide worth its price because it’s absolutely gorgeous. I love the art work and the love they put into the guide. I look forward to your part II review.

  2. Finished Bloodborne through NG6+ and found Ludwig’s holy blade viable. You’re the only and first person to know which weapons are viable at NG7+. Have you found one for Dark Souls 3? I’m using the Flamberge which is actually underwhelming, though a lot of people recommended. I was upset with the Great Scythe as it doesn’t seem to be as good as DS1. Thanks very much Tech!

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