Review: Bloodborne, Bup’s Blind Challenge

Sorry, Bup.
The Hunter’s Dream. The hubworld. I didn’t get much further than this.

On my way to my desk at the Lcom headquarters yesterday morning I was given a letter from a “B”, addressed only to “you”. The letter was actually an empty envelope, sealed nevertheless. When checking my work email I noticed a very similar item in my inbox, with the subject “you”, and no message. It was sent from Bup’s account. I responded asking what it was that he wanted, to which he immediately replied “My turn. Your assignment: review Bloodborne Handicapable Mode.”

I was about to ask what that meant but he sent another message before I could send mine, “It’s Handicapable Month, so to appeal to our differently-abled readership [his emphasis], you have to write a review of Bloodborne that would appeal to a disabled reader. Like a blind guy. Blind review.”

I tried to explain that not only was I already composing a Bloodborne review, but that a review from the perspective of a blind person for blind people would surely go unappreciated in written form, for various reasons. To this, and other repeated entreaties on his sanity, I only got the continued reply “DEADLINE, DOLLAR SIGN!” I took that as a threat of some kind.

So without further ado, my “blind review” of Bloodborne:

Affixing a sleeping mask around my eyes, I turned on the PS4 from rest mode, which thankfully booted directly into the game. From there I waited for some kind of audio feedback from the game. I had loaded my New Game+ file, so I was back in the Hunter’s Dream hubworld. The music, I had realized for the first time, is quite somber. It had been in the back of my mind throughout my initial playthrough, but I had not noticed it so clearly until now. It is very low-key, with some chanting and distant female vocals that eventually get accompanied by a string section. A soft breeze can be heard running through the branches of the trees that I knew where there from prior experience.

Walking tentatively ahead, I heard my character’s footsteps upon the cobble walkway of the small terrace that comprises the hubworld. I could not tell if I had walked up against a wall, so I decided to press X to see if I could interact with something nearby. I heard a menu noise. Pressing the d-pad up and down made another noise, which confirmed for me I was now scrolling through some kind of menu. Pressing X again produced the warping sound I had grown familiar with, and then silence.

This was a terrible idea, and I'm sorry. To everyone.
This guy’s a toughie with NO visual feedback!

The load times are significant enough that I had wondered, without benefit of sight, if I had turned off the console somehow. Eventually some new sounds rose up, and I could tell I was loaded in to another area. Moving forward made it clear I was walking on a wooden floor, perhaps the first area of the game. This would persist for some time, the area’s sparse audio-scape giving few clues—save for an eerie baby cry in the distance, another thing I had not noticed initially—until I heard a growl.

It was likely the first enemy of the game, I had managed to navigate my way around the sick beds to where the lone werewolf creature was poised to introduce players to the basics of the game. As a fully equipped level 77 character, I felt at least mildly confident I could survive. Pressing L1 to check, by sound alone, which form my Ludwig’s Sword was in, I confirmed I had it in its greatsword form, for maximum range and damage output. I went for gold, I pressed R2 and forward on the left control stick to perform a jumping strike. If I could land it, it should one-shot the target. The loud thud of the weapon on wood made me uncertain of my success, especially since it was not accompanied by a beastly cry of any sort. Instead, all I got was a series of loud swiping noises, some frantic button presses by me, and the dull “You Died” tone of the game over screen.

So, to all of my visually impaired readers(?), I feel confident yet sorry to declare that From Software’s latest effort is not a game that I could recommend. It is not entirely entertaining to simply listen to, so even a soundtrack option would probably not justify the sixty dollar price tag.

0/10

4 comments

  1. The Blind Support patch should be out next month and fix all this. As I understand it, they’re having trouble getting the Speak & Spell to cooperate as narrator.

  2. This is the best Bloodborne review yet. Kudos to Bup for his obvious humanitarian values in proposing a review that is useful to the challenged gamer.

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