Play Report: March 2018 – Return to Yharnam

Includes spoilers for Bloodborne.

My return to Yharnam came as a surprise when Sony announced Bloodborne would be one of the titles included in the PlayStation Plus lineup last month. As one of their most successful first-party titles, I figured they would keep heavily discounting it on the store, but nevertheless many hunters new and old started the hunt early March.

Immediately upon creating a new character and starting my journey, I quickly remembered why Bloodborne is one of my favorite games of all-time. The atmosphere and tone the game sets in the starting area is just a taste of the strange and macabre you’ll face on your journey.

The game draws inspirations from the works of H.P. Lovecraft and Bram Stoker’s “Dracula.” There’s giant Cthulhu-like creatures clinging to buildings, and even a gothic castle to explore.

The gameplay is fast-paced and always has your heart pumping, either from the anxiety of a boss or danger of the unknown. There’s always one enemy waiting to get the best of you in each area.

Like Dark Souls, Bloodborne has safe areas designated by lamps. Lighting these lamps almost acts like a checkpoint, and from here you can teleport back to the Hunter’s Dream. There you can level up your character, purchase items, strengthen your weapon, or place a chalice upon an altar to explore the labyrinths under Yharnam.

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The Origin of the Hunt

Under the city of Yharnam lies a labyrinth carved out by an ancient civilization known as the Pthumerians. The Pthumerians were a humanoid race who resided in the dungeon and worshipped divine beings known as the Great Ones. As a result of coming in contact with these Great Ones, the Pthumerians were marked by the Eldritch Truth, and then took on a more zombie-like appearance. Some of the Great Ones ascended and left, while some stayed behind.

Yharnamites first discovered this civilization after scholars from the school of Byrgenwerth found special chalices, which unlocked new, deeper areas of this labyrinth. At the end, they discovered the Old Blood. The Old Blood had powerful healing properties, but with a downside.

The discovery of the Old Blood drew a rift between Master Willem of Byrgenwerth and one of his students, Lawrence. Lawrence wanted to use the Old Blood for its healing properties, and believed it could grant humans greater knowledge, but Master Willem was skeptical and feared its use.

As a result of the falling out with his master, Lawrence founded the Healing Church, which used the Old Blood on citizens of Yharnam. It wasn’t long until word spread of Lawrence and his Healing Church, and soon many came from far away to Yharnam just for this blood. However, Lawrence’s use of the blood would have dire consequences.

Yharnamites infused with the Old Blood soon began to go mad and turn into beasts. As the plague continued to spread throughout Yharnam, a new division was formed in the Healing Church, the Hunters.

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Hunters were deployed to the streets of Yharnam to stop the spread of the plague no matter the cost. The first hunter was Gehrman, who also founded the Healing Church Workshop. There he developed new weapons specifically to hunt beasts and train new hunters. It wasn’t long until Hunters began to form in other areas of Yharnam, such as The Choir and School of Mensis – thus beginning the long hunt.