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Bloodborne: The Old Hunters

Developer: FromSoftware Publisher: SCE
24 November 2015
Bloodborne: The Old Hunters - cover art
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677 Ratings / 5 Reviews
In this DLC for Bloodborne, the player-Hunter is transported to the sinister Hunter's Nightmare, a demented place where hunters who become drunk with blood are sent to. The brave Hunter must battle incredibly difficult enemies, including 5 new bosses, in order to uncover a massive secret and solve the mystery of the Hunter's Nightmare.
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I don’t think anyone would argue that Bloodborne isn’t a challenging game. However, The Old Hunter’s expansion makes facing the challenges in the base game look like a walk in the park. Even after you conquer everything the base game has to offer, you still might not be prepared for the horrors present in the DLC. Every single aspect of the DLC is a test of might and patience that is unparalleled by anything from the base game. The difficulty of the Old Hunters DLC might even be unparalleled by anything from the Soulsborne series. It’s a brutal affair. With all of this in mind, is it still worth the struggle? Absolutely. The Old Hunters rivals Artorias of the Abyss as the supreme FromSoft DLC output, and Artorias of the Abyss is an exemplary piece of DLC content. Like Artorias of the Abyss, The Old Hunters adds new levels, enemies, bosses, weapons, and fleshes out aspects of the lore that weren’t present in the base game. While Artorias of the Abyss is difficult, it is not nearly as demanding as The Old Hunters. Every stretch of this expansion demands the player’s maximum level of Bloodborne prowess.

A misleading mistake some players make when trying to tackle the DLC is based on how early you can access it in the base game. The DLC can be accessed as early as defeating Vicar Amelia in the first half of the game. When I purchased the DLC, I was eager to experience more from this game and was relieved that I didn’t have to play through most of it in order to access the DLC. Little did I know, I’d have to level up enough in the base game not to get annihilated at every point in the DLC. Prepare for the DLC like you would prepare for a final boss. Immediately, the bizarro Cathedral Ward area known as The Hunter’s Nightmare proves to be a substantial endeavor. The place is crawling with saif hunters, hunters in the DLC that look like Gehrman and fight like him too. These enemies are similar to the hunters if they were built like club bouncers and had the tenacity of them as well. You will encounter one at every step of the way in The Hunter’s Nightmare, making getting past each one the biggest obstacle in this first level. Reposting is practically mandatory for these enemies. The Hunter’s Nightmare is also home to some of the most ruthless standard hunters in the game and the area as you trek through all of this without encountering a new lantern for quite a while. I stuck my proverbial toe in the water that is the Old Hunters DLC and got stung by a proverbial jellyfish. I learned that the DLC content was not to be treated as a lark and prepared immensely afterward. I didn’t get to the next lantern in The Hunter’s Nightmare until beating The One Reborn in the base game.

Once you overcome the odds and discover the Nightmare Church for relief, you are in good standings to fight the first boss, Ludwig. Along with Gehrman, Ludwig was one of the first hunters. He’s obviously seen better days as he’s transformed into an abominable horse creature the size of a house. To give you a scale of what the Old Hunters has to offer, Ludwig is not the hardest boss in the DLC. He is however harder than any of the bosses in the base game. His movement is incredibly erratic, the hardest boss to find a window to attack. He caught on to my backstab strategy implemented on most giant bosses in Soulsborne games and launched me across the room with his hooves. His landing move is difficult to time because he plummets so quickly and he’ll even emulate a train to run you down and deplete most if not all of your health bar if you get caught in it. The saving grace of this fight is it’s much easier if you summon an NPC hunter to help you given that Ludwig will be distracted half of the time. His second phase is triggered by a cutscene in which Ludwig gets on his hind legs and brandishes a lurid green greatsword. This phase is much easier because Ludwig’s backside is finally vulnerable, but his sword slam attack will kill you even at full health if you get caught in it. If you thought Ludwig was a hectic fight that tested your full abilities, he’s merely a sampler for what is to come.

After scouring a long, dark prison hall and riding the heaviest elevator ever, you will arrive in the Research Hall. It’s an architecturally interesting area as a winding spiral staircase towering in the center of the building. There are about three or four different levels in this place with many rooms on opposite sides of the staircase. The Research Hall is the living quarters of Iosefka’s patients, forlorn abominations created as the result of failure. They look like humans in hospital gowns, but with a gigantic, hideous growth that looks like a blotchy scrotum protruding from their heads. Some of them are even reduced to being sentient blobs. They constantly throw tantrums like toddlers to defend themselves because they have very little control of their senses and faculties. You’ll find many of them in the side rooms of the Research Hall crying out in anguish, resting on sodden beds in total darkness. Some are even restrained in chairs. It’s a genuinely disturbing site. What’s even more disturbing is that they cry out for help from Iosefka, the person who put them here in the first place. The large door in the center of the hall takes you to the Lumenwood Garden where you’ll fight the Living Failures, more cases of Iosefka’s medical catastrophes. Their fight is like a bulkier version of the Celestial Emissary except that the Living Failures have a collective health bar and magic attacks.

The next boss is located at the center of a clock tower right next to the garden. You approach a woman sitting in a chair at the center of the room when she grabs you unexpectedly. This is Lady Maria, another hunter who was also in league with Ludwig and Gherman. The doll in The Hunter’s Dream is also modeled in her image. She fights in the same fashion as the other hunters, swiftly dodging your attacks and waiting for a chance to strike while dual-wielding cutlasses. After a certain point, she adds blood and fire as collateral to her sword swipes. Lady Maria is my favorite fight in the DLC, and it’s not because she’s much easier than the other bosses (except for maybe the Living Failures). The level of ease in this fight is a testament to your proficiency with reposting. If you don’t repost or you suck at it, Lady Maria is a formidable foe. If you have practiced the art of reposting up until this point, Lady Maria will be at your mercy. I experienced a fair amount of difficulty when I couldn’t repost but was proud of myself during my last playthrough when I eviscerated Lady Maria with countless visceral attacks.

The next boss in The Old Hunter’s is the bane of my existence. I do not lose hope and give up easily on a boss in any video game, including Dark Souls. However, the countless failures at the hands of this boss matched with the cyclical monotony of running back and forth between the lantern and this boss time after every defeat was starting to drive me insane. The numerous failures made me fall to my knees and I felt like I couldn’t beat him. He was relinquishing my confidence as a gamer. He is my Achilles heel, my kryptonite, my dark star. To this day, I still feel a sense of dread and intimidation with this boss like confronting an abusive step-father.
...No, I’m not talking about the Orphan of Kos. I beat that ugly shrimp on my third attempt (although I was not so lucky with him upon subsequent playthroughs). I am referring to none other than Laurence, the first Vicar, the only optional boss in the DLC.

Laurence is obviously an incredibly important figure in Bloodborne’s lore, essentially the creator of the scourge that plagues Yharnam. His importance makes it imperative that he’s actually present in the game, and his boss fight certainly reflects his role. After scrounging up a few key items, you’ll go back to the mirrored version of the cathedral where you fought Vicar Amelia in Hunter’s Nightmare. You’ll see Laurence resting upon his throne, a wild beast after imbibing the blood of the great ones and a reflection of his folly. If you’re a determined completionist like I am or batshit crazy, you’ll wake him up. You may notice that Laurence looks exactly like a flaming version of the Cleric Beast, the first boss in the game. If you think that this fight is going to be a cakewalk because the Cleric Beast was an easy foe, your naivety will be your downfall. Laurence is incredibly unpredictable. The frames to attack him are wider than Ludwigs, but failing to properly time them will punish you more severely. Laurence has about fifteen different ways to strike at you with his hulking stature, all of these are aided with his fire AOE damage that will stagger you if they hit. This is provided that they don’t kill you in one hit even at full health. Laurence also likes to combo his moves so if the first one doesn’t kill you, the immediate second or third swipe certainly will. He’s also a giant damage sponge. The middling damage I do to him matched with the rare opportunities I have to hit him without being punished for it severely grated on my patience. Once you think you’ve finally got a hold on him, his second phase throws you for another violent loop. Laurence loses the lower half of his body and crawls around the arena with his giant arms. His backside is no longer a vulnerable spot because it’s constantly gushing molten lava at every waking moment, so the windows to hit him are even more narrow during this phase. The lava that falls out of his backside becomes a stage hazard, and it will always be present during this phase, so you’ll have to work around it instead of directly avoiding it. Laurence will also vomit lava at some points as if the constant expulsion of lava from his ass wasn’t enough. His arms are as long as redwood trees and will use them to chase you down the entire perimeter of the arena. If that fails, he’ll slam his arm down on you that, you guessed it, its hard to avoid and will kill you at full health. Like with Ludwig, you can summon an NPC hunter to help you, but it won’t do any good. The first phase is slightly easier, but the NPC is guaranteed to die soon after the second phase starts because he doesn’t have the sense to avoid the lava. This leaves you by yourself with a more durable Laurence for about half of the fight, giving you a total disadvantage to fighting him on your own. After failing against Laurence several times, I went back and grinded to level up in the base game. I felt like Rocky in Rocky IV training for his rematch with Ivan Drago. Eventually, once I beat Laurence, I still did it by the skin of my teeth. Bloodborne is all about nightmares, right? Well, Laurence the First Vicar is my fucking nightmare.

Upon defeating Maria, a new location is revealed behind the opened clocktower arms. This rainy, dilapidated place is the Fishing Hamlet, a location inspired by the H.P. Lovecraft story, “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”. Mutated fish creatures of all sizes make up this fishing hamlet and just like the ones from Lovecraft’s story, they worship a deity that lies at the shore of this area. This is the notorious Orphan of Kos who is the dark secret kept in the Fishing Hamlet. Apparently, the hunter’s killed the Orphan’s mother who then cursed them, marked by the dark moon the lights every corner of the DLC. I’d feel more sorry for the Orphan if he wasn’t such a bitch. This boss is said to be not only the hardest boss in Bloodborne but the hardest boss across the entire Soulsborne franchise. He’s another unpredictable boss with a large array of moves but as I mentioned previously, I beat him on my third attempt when I first played this DLC. Once I played this DLC again, he kept kicking my ass. I’m not sure how to explain this, but becoming better at Bloodborne made me worse at this boss. Playing passively worked wonders when fighting Orphan of Kos on my first playthrough when it didn’t work so well with other bosses. The Orphan of Kos punished me for being more aggressive where that aggression made other bosses more manageable. Fortunately, the Orphan gives you plenty of opportunities to attack and he can be easily staggered. He also gives you plenty of opportunities to repost. His second phase is a lot more chaotic, but I managed to find clear windows to attack him all the same. Once you beat him, the DLC is complete and you have a gorgeous shore view to look upon as you marvel at your achievement.

The Old Hunters DLC follows the same direction of descending deeper into the nightmare just like in the base game. This time around, your journey uncovers the horrifying truths kept secret by the essential figures of Bloodborne as you venture onward. It’s a bit of a linear excursion, but I didn’t mind in this case because the progression is excellent. I felt like I was diving deeper into the rabbit hole, resulting in a satisfying dead end at the shore. Everything in this DLC made me feel like I was being pummeled by four mack trucks coming at me from all sides, but I appreciate it for presenting such a stark challenge (except for Laurence. Fuck that boss). For some reason, I think The Old Hunters DLC is the most substantial part of the whole Bloodborne experience. While the levels and bosses in the base game are consistently enjoyable, there’s just something special about what’s presented in The Old Hunters. I don’t know if it’s the level design, progression, or bosses that make this so, but it’s something that is definitely felt after overcoming the excruciating odds. Artorias of the Abyss feels removed from the base game of Dark Souls and feels supplementary to the whole experience while The Old Hunters feels like getting to the core of Bloodborne. Experiencing The Old Hunters DLC feels mandatory. When the DLC almost eclipses the base game, you know that it’s worth every cent.
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Erockthestrange 2018-02-17T04:42:07Z
2018-02-17T04:42:07Z
8.5
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Lady Maria
Seeing a DLC in the top 10 games of all time always confused me. Could this 8-10 hour chunk truly be better than 99% of games? In short yes in long YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.

I don't get how Fromsoft continually puts the best parts of their games in the DLC and that has nothing against the base game, if the base game is a 5-star meal, the DLC is like the perfect dessert. And this has happened in Dark Souls 1 and 2, where I am already blown away by the game and then they just throw a perfect side story in there.

It feels wholly unique compared to the base game, the new weapons are a nice three but I could write a whole review on how much I love the Lady Maria Fight. It is everything I love about the souls games rolled into 1 fight.

I can't see playing bloodborne and not playing this because it is just more of one of the best games ever.
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StoneColdScrin 2020-04-27T19:38:35Z
2020-04-27T19:38:35Z
5.0
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A good mixed bag
+ some of the best bosses ever created by from software (Ludwig, orphan, Maria). The boss fights here really bring out all the best about bb‘s amazing combat and if you haven’t mastered it up until this point you will now.
+ some of the best boss themes ever created for a game (Ludwig, lady Maria)

- level design lacks compared to main game. If you’re looking for the masterfully interconnected level design of Bloodborne you’re at the wrong address here. Exploring and finding new shortcuts and paths is almost absent here. Every path pretty much only exists to lead you to the excellent bosses.
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mindmastermoe 2019-11-11T08:37:30Z
2019-11-11T08:37:30Z
4.0
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Old Hunters is a pretty solid DLC and for me a little bit of a mixed bag but mostly good. The DLC is basically 5 additional bosses plus a few new areas. The new areas are designed okay, nothing too different than the main game, except the Hamlet area, which I enjoyed. The areas sort of just act as segways to the bosses, and none of the areas did I find to be too difficult, maybe only slightly more difficult than the most difficult areas in the main game. The bosses on the other hand are some of the most challenging and intense bosses in the Souls series, 3 of the 5 bosses in here are incredibly challenging and took me dozens of tries to beat. One of the bosses in this game I may even consider a contender for most difficult boss in the Souls series, I had more trouble on him than I did with my first attempt at Ornstein and Smough, Flamelurker, or Fume Knight. But its challenging in a fair and fun way, and each time I took on these bosses I improved and learned their patterns. Yeah the boss fights are intense and require great reflexes and reactions but once you beat them it is far more satisfying than any of the core game bosses. The only bosses in the core game that really put up any challenge were Logarius, Gehrman, and Gascoigne, and Orphan of Kos mops the floor with all those bosses. I mean outside the bosses, the areas are okay, there are some new enemies, some which are mildly frustrating, others which are pretty cool, none which I'd say stand out too much. There are some fun new weapons and guns to play around with, but thats basically what the DLC is, extra bosses and lore, and at its core the Souls series is mostly about the intense boss fights and 4 of the 5 bosses in here are really well done and some of the best in the series. Yeah this isn't the greatest DLC and yeah does it not have much value outside the bosses, but it still is a great addition to the main game and at this point I wouldn't consider Bloodborne worth playing without this DLC included.
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jweber14 2017-07-21T20:05:16Z
2017-07-21T20:05:16Z
4.0
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You may use the doll
more greatness its what it is. The DLC is not that long in terms of single player, with only a couple of bosses and areas. However whats here is really well crafted, with suberb atmosphere and level design. Specially the latter areas. On top of it they added a whole lot of interesting weapons that are seriously making me consider another playthrough of the game to test them out. I dont really play online, but i can imagine it will give the vs mode a bit more depth. I do have some issue with a couple of the bosses, which seemed a bit too hard. I played it on a NG++ character so im not too sure though. On the whole im really satisfied with it, its probably on the same level as the Dk2 DLC, and only a couple of inchs below Artorias of the Abyss simply because of a few weak bosses.

Gets the same rating as the main game because its essencially the same level of quality as i see it, and it even ends up making the main course better due to the new weapons and lore.
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Threntall 2016-12-29T23:37:06Z
2016-12-29T23:37:06Z
5.0
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Between Bloodborne being nominated for GOTY at the game awards and this new DLC dropping I've had more than enough reasons to jump back into the nightmare that is Yharnam! Man, in an age where most DLC and expansion packs are total rip offs these Japanese developers really know how to dish out valuable content. For 20 bucks you're getting two brand new areas to explore (plus an extended portion of Yharnam called the River of Blood), 5 new bosses, and tons of new weapons and items. For me, it was all about the new beast mode joint, I got a freakin gattling gun now and a sword with a large saw at the end of it!!! The Amygdala arm was a pretty sweet weapon too with a monstrous attack range but I rarely used it. I'd recommend playing this DLC AFTER you've completed the main game because these areas/bosses are hard as balls and you're gonna want your character to be pretty stacked before going in!!!

The River of Blood was a challenging section because there were a lot of really large and aggressive enemy types thrown at you, and you may or may not run into the Blood Starved Beast again...... Stay away from that mysterious looking cave is all I'm sayin...... The Research Hall was the creepiest looking area in this DLC but I thought it was a pretty easy section outside of the annoying acid traps. But the Fishing Hamlet was prolly the most brutal section in the game, not only because of these massive anchor wielding fish-man dudes but also that annoying hunter that keeps invading your game!!! This DLC also has some of Bloodborne's most challenging bosses, Laurence and the Living Failures weren't too bad but the first boss Ludwig was an absolute jack a** once he starts wielding the moonlight sword, and Lady Maria is a problem when she starts hurling blood at you and doing that crazy fire sh**! But it's the last boss, Orphan of Kos that f***ed me up the most, when he goes into his second form I don't even know what's going on, there's just s*** flying at me in all directions!!!

This is how to do DLC, and what a fantastic way to celebrate the masterpiece that is Bloodborne! I do wish that this was just a tad bit longer but honestly the stiff challenge kinda makes up for it! If you own Bloodborne you'd be crazy not to play this!!!
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serpedi Bloodborne: The Old Hunters 2022-09-27T15:42:06Z
PS4
2022-09-27T15:42:06Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Jazqa Bloodborne: The Old Hunters 2022-09-26T09:58:41Z
2022-09-26T09:58:41Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
intermisson9 Bloodborne: The Old Hunters 2022-09-26T05:43:28Z
PS4
2022-09-26T05:43:28Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
PS4
likefigureskating Bloodborne: The Old Hunters 2022-09-24T15:44:22Z
2022-09-24T15:44:22Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
WildfireHeaven Bloodborne: The Old Hunters 2022-09-14T23:33:04Z
2022-09-14T23:33:04Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
2015glime Bloodborne: The Old Hunters 2022-09-06T08:55:37Z
2022-09-06T08:55:37Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Katla_Bun Bloodborne: The Old Hunters 2022-09-05T15:04:51Z
2022-09-05T15:04:51Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
GaryDoesStuff Bloodborne: The Old Hunters 2022-09-03T20:27:02Z
2022-09-03T20:27:02Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
AlmostAverage Bloodborne: The Old Hunters 2022-09-02T16:59:37Z
2022-09-02T16:59:37Z
5.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
JoinTheDots__ Bloodborne: The Old Hunters 2022-08-30T12:09:26Z
2022-08-30T12:09:26Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
PS4 DLC
MrKerfuffle Bloodborne: The Old Hunters 2022-08-22T04:01:17Z
2022-08-22T04:01:17Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
patobravo Bloodborne: The Old Hunters 2022-08-10T21:23:56Z
2022-08-10T21:23:56Z
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  • Previous comments (39) Loading...
  • lychees 2022-04-06 18:57:33.29731+00
    maria and ludwig are 10/10 bosses
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  • BloodBorne 2022-04-08 19:19:53.794075+00
    finally played it. its beeeen years waiting to played this dlc
    reply
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  • Swordfishtrombone 2022-04-11 12:43:25.866351+00
    Living Failures (5 tries and basically cheesed it using only viscerals) was much harder than Kos (2 tries) to me for whatever reason. I suck with multi-enemy fights.
    reply
    • Swordfishtrombone 2022-04-11 12:51:33.958785+00
      Ludwig kicked the shit out of me like 25 times though. His first phase is just nuts.
    • mindmastermoe 2022-04-13 19:09:04.809545+00
      i had exactly that same experience, 2 tries kos first time and 1st try ng+ i dont get whats all the fuzz about. i struggled with both ludwig and laurence though
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  • mindmastermoe 2022-04-13 19:08:08.832903+00
    it´s a good dlc but massively overrated on this page and stands no chance to the original game which is way superior especially in regards to leveldesign
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    • OscarTheGrouch 2022-04-20 05:09:33.128227+00
      I agree w moe, dlc is great but not number 3 oat. The research hall is the only truly great area and I didn’t like how linear it all felt, plus it was a very noticeable area 1, area 2, area 3 format as opposed to a more seamless design.
    • jake7 2022-04-24 06:56:57.817682+00
      Disagree. Hunter's Nightmare is a really good twist on the Cathedral Ward and introduces the DLC perfectly in terms of themes. It's pretty linear, but it does wrap around into itself a couple of times and has a few side paths. Not to mention great enemy placement and fun NPC hunter fights. Fishing Hamlet is also great in terms of atmosphere and especially enemy design. The well was a cool idea and the level has a pretty engaging design all around. The level design is a bit "safe" I suppose, but it makes up for it with fantastic enemies, thematic brilliance, great atmosphere, and a fun progression.
    • OscarTheGrouch 2022-05-08 03:32:00.119071+00
      You make some great points, I wasn’t thinking about the enemy design but you’re right, the enemies of the fishing hamlet were very cool and unlike anything in the main game
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  • breakdownbbe 2022-06-03 03:17:08.032261+00
    I think Ludwig, orphan and Maria are all perfect bosses
    reply
    • ThrashingFairy 2022-06-24 06:12:44.215357+00
      I can't even be the devil's advocate here...
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  • moonisharp 2022-06-30 16:21:35.361521+00
    Fuck Laurence
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  • GaryDoesStuff 2022-09-03 20:36:54.097389+00
    kos ruined my life
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