How Bloodborne Showcases its Technicity Through its Brutal Difficulty
Bloodborne, From Software’s critically acclaimed Playstation 4 exclusive, is a more demanding game compared to the studio’s previous Souls entries. The overall speed of combat, lack of defensive options, and the Rally system are made so that players must adopt an aggressive approach to fights if they intend to survive in the game’s Lovecraft-inspired world of Yharnam. Each of these systems allow Bloodborne to create a type of technicity where it disciplines players who are accustomed to a defensive playstyle, which was encouraged in the previous Souls games, to adapt to its combat if they intend to experience everything the game has to offer. Authors Jon Dovey and Helen W. Kennedy refer to technicity as “the interconnectedness of identity and technological competence.”, stating that “People’s tastes, aptitudes and propensities towards technology become part of a particular ‘identity’.” (Dovey, Kennedy 64) This identity that Dovey and Kennedy are inferring to can vary from player to player as there are those who can adapt to the game’s speed and combat, those who cannot, and those that fall somewhere in between where they can play competently but still need to take some time to adjust, but Bloodborne favors those who can adapt and try their best to master the combat.
One scene in the game that demonstrates this technicity to its fullest extent is the fight against the Orphan of Kos, the final boss of the game’s Old Hunters DLC. Despite his appearance, this boss is one of, if not the most, difficult fight in the entirety of Bloodborne. The speed at which he attacks, how little room there is to heal, and the amount of damage he deals will challenge even the most experienced players. As demonstrated in a Let’s Play video by YouTuber FightinCowboy (Shown above), any kind of defensive play is heavily discouraged and the game rewards those who continuously stay on the offensive. The Rally mechanic is at its best here as players are restoring their health while trying to land as many hits on the boss as possible before he makes another deadly strike. This is further emphasized during the second phase where the Orphan of Kos gains new moves and becomes even more ferocious. Fights such as this highlight how Bloodborne affords this technicity in which it disciplines players of all skill levels to play in the way it is meant to be played, allowing them to adopt an identity based on their aptitudes and experiences with the game, positive or negative.
Dovey, Jon, and Helen W. Kennedy. Game Cultures: Computer Games As New Media (Issues in Cultural and Media Studies). 1st ed., Open University Press, 2006.