I like to think that I know what I like, especially when it comes to video games. I’ve been playing long enough at this point to have tried a bit of everything. I’ve also been playing long enough to have decided which types of games I’ll pay attention to. It’s a mindset that’s served me well over the years, but also one that’s caused me to summarily disregard many popular games without so much as a second thought. I likely would have continued like this, but something unexpected happened: my friends got me to sit down and play Bloodborne. It was a game that I not only didn’t think I’d like, but one that I actually didn’t want to like. Yet, here I am rethinking everything because, crazily enough, I’ve actually warmed up to Bloodborne now.
I was adamantly against playing the game at all, to be honest. I thought I wouldn’t like it, so I figured that spending time with it would be a waste. The only reason I started playing at all was because I’d made a deal with a friend: I’d play Bloodborne if they played Okami. With the deal struck, I had no choice but to play. Still, I was dead set against liking the game even as I started playing. Every little thing that could be considered an annoyance was front and center in my mind. There was an initial grind, it wasn’t very clear what the goal was or where I was supposed to go. Oh, and I died a lot; that didn’t help. Still, the deal was that I had to get half-way through the game, so I was going to be here awhile whether I liked it or not. I held on to my attitude though, convinced that there was nothing this game could do to make me like it. However, that all changed as soon as I took on my first boss.
The Father Gascoigne encounter was one of the most intense fights I’ve had in a long time. It wasn’t nail-bitingly hard like I thought it would be, but it did something that I wasn’t expecting: it demanded my full attention. Any lapse in attention meant defeat. Failure to analyze his attack patterns would mean the same. I couldn’t just sit back in safety and wait for the the damage phase or the chance to trigger a take-down animation. Instead, I had to take the initiative. I had to be the one to guide the flow of the battle, and I had to be the one who decided when I’d go on the offensive. I can’t remember the last time I was given this kind of control over a boss encounter, much less having a game demand it of me. It took a couple of tries to finish the fight, but I eventually emerged as both victor and fan. Now I play with eager anticipation rather than annoyed resignation.
My adventures in Bloodborne are only just beginning, but the surprises just keep on coming. I did my first cooperative boss fight just yesterday, which was a whole other kind of fun! It’s exciting, but I kind of feel like I’m the butt of my own joke somehow. I felt like I would always know if I could like a game before playing it; I was even certain of it. Yet, here I am: a enthusiastic fan of a game that I didn’t even want to like. If that isn’t irony, I don’t know what is!
Have you ever had your expectations flipped by a game? What did it do to win you over?
Image captured by Hatm0nstar