Unlike Demon’s Souls or Dark Souls, Bloodborne encourages players to rush into the action and commit as much carnage as they possibly can at all times – there’s even a mechanic to regenerate lost health through combat, discouraging Hunters from taking a step back to heal or cut some distance.
Learning how to play Bloodborne can be daunting for Souls veterans, but it’s surprisingly easy to build an overpowered Hunter. Bloodborne’s lack of stats in comparison to the Souls titles means it’s much harder to screw up a build. Similarly, Bloodborne’s early-game is surprisingly generous compared to the dangers that lurk within Yharnam.
Pick A Violent Past
Instead of traditional classes, Bloodborne opts to give players backstories which dictate their starting stats (and only their starting stats unlike in Dark Souls.) In this regard, class matters even less in Bloodborne than it does in other FromSoftware games, but that doesn’t mean they’re meaningless.
Violent Past is the best starting class for pure Strength characters, coming with a whopping 15 in Strength. That alone is a massive advantage that’ll have players doing high damage right out the gate – so long as they pick the right weapon at least.
Start With The Hunter Axe
The Hunter Axe may be one of three starting weapons in Bloodborne, but it can be reliably brought to the end of the game. With an extremely versatile move set, long reach, plenty of speed, and Strength scaling, it’s actually difficult to put down the Hunter Axe and try anything else. For any Hunter who just wants to get through the game reliably & comfortably, start with the Hunter Axe and paint Yharnam red.
Start With The Hunter’s Pistol
Strength characters realistically won’t be parrying with their firearms very often, but that doesn’t mean the skill should be outright ignored. A number of late game & DLC bosses will roadblock players if they’re relying on pure Strength alone, and parries often trigger high damage Visceral Attacks.
Making an overpowered character is more than just picking the right stats & finding the right tools – it’s learning how to play the game. In this respect, the Hunter’s Pistol is the better starting firearm. As the gun will only ever be used for parrying, there’s no real need to upgrade or replace it. Take the time to master parrying early.
It perhaps goes without saying, but no Strength build is complete without Strength. Like in Dark Souls, Strength affects how much damage weapons do. With all the strongest weapons scaling with Strength, it’s a wise idea to invest in the stat early on. Strength yields less bonuses beyond 25, but doesn’t soft cap until hitting 50 – where leveling any further isn’t exactly the best idea.
Where Stamina’s role in Dark Souls is more strategic – a resource players are meant to keep a diligent eye on while managing intelligently – Bloodborne actually encourages long uninterrupted bursts of action. Combos are an important part of the gameplay loop, and most enemies are susceptible to stagger. Stamina also regenerates much faster than in Dark Souls, ensuring that combat seldom slows down. Endurance’s benefits soft cap at 40, with Stamina maxing out at 160.
Vitality is far more important in Bloodborne than in Dark Souls, as the expectation is that players will be taking damage while dealing damage – in turn playing off the health regeneration system. Vitality also slightly increases Stamina regeneration, playing off Endurance perfectly.
Vitality starts seeing diminishing returns past 30, but doesn’t hit its soft cap until 50. From there, it’s really up to players whether to invest a few more points in Strength or pushing Vitality further. For those who take a lot of damage, stick with Vitality.
Use Any Armor
Bloodborne is often referred to as “Fashion Souls” for good reason. Unlike the Dark Souls games, armor isn’t that impactful in Bloodborne. Which isn’t to say that armor is useless – there are “good” and “bad” sets – but any competent player can be get through the game without so much as changing their starting equipment.
Wear what looks good, what feels right for the character, or just complements the weapon at hand. For the indecisive, the Yharnam Hunter Set can be purchased in the Hunter’s Dream at the very start of the game.
Buy The Kirkhammer
Reliable as the Hunter Axe may be, it’s still a starter weapon. Granted, the Kirkhammer isn’t found that much past the start of the game, but it’s an excellent Strength weapon who doesn’t want to stick with the Hunter Axe. Purchasable in the Hunter’s Dream after obtaining the Sword Hunter Badge (dropped by the Cleric Beast,) the Kirkhammer costs 3,000 Blood Echoes.
The Kirkhammer’s basic form is a traditional blade with a swift, varied move set that does Righteous damage. When tricked, the Kirkhammer does obscene damage that can interrupt & stagger most enemies while chaining combos. It also scales better with Strength than the Hunter Axe.
Find The Whirligig Saw
The Old Hunters is arguably FromSoftware’s best piece of DLC, an expansion that refines Bloodborne’s edges by adding in some of the best bosses in the game, plenty of new areas, and fantastic weapons. For Strength builds, the Whirligig Saw is a must have.
A mace that tricks into a buzzsaw, the Whirligig Saw scales incredibly with Strength while having one of the best move sets in the game. The trick weapon can be found by an Executioner south of the Nightmare Church.
Fully Upgrade The Whirligig Saw
Upgrading weapons can be a time consuming process in Dark Souls, but it’s relatively simple in Bloodborne. There are no alternate upgrade paths, every weapon upgrades with the same materials, and there’s enough Blood Stone scattered throughout Bloodborne where most players can fully upgrade at least one weapon without too much worry. After feeding it 1 Blood Rock, 16 Blood Stone Chunks, 16 Twin Blood Stone Shards, and 16 Blood Shards, the Whirligig Saw will slaughter anything in its path.
Next: Demon’s Souls PS5: How To Rescue Sage Freke & Lord Rydell From The Tower Of Latria
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