This review was originally posted at Goodreads and imported here later with next to no spell/grammar checking.
This is a fan-based exploration of the lore in Bloodborne (a video game for PlayStation 4). Even more than Dark Souls, Bloodborne is almost never explicit about anything and understanding what’s going on in the game world is a matter of meticulous reading of item descriptions, paying attention to the architecture, enemy placement and chatting to the occasional NPCs.
As such, it is easy to miss things and even if you don’t, turning all that into a cohesive picture takes a lot of time and effort.
I have loved the game but missed pretty much everything about its history, characters, connections and the deeper lore (BB starts as a gothic horror game, but eventually turns into a fully-fledged cosmic horror).
I saw The Paleblood Hunt being recommended to people who finished the game and wanted to understand it more and I was not disappointed. It is a combination of an encyclopedia and speculative world-building. Each chapter presents the readers with "solid facts" — pieces of dialogue or other knowledge that’s explicitly in the game. And follows up with the author’s interpretation of said facts, building a picture of what happened, who these beings were and why they did what they did.
Each chapter is mostly independent. The final one is pure speculation building on everything from the previous chapters.
And it fucking blew my mind. The conclusions The Paleblood Hunt makes are absolutely mindbogglingly fantastic. I’m still trying to process it and put it into a context. But with cosmic horror, you can’t, can you? This is not something the human mind is equipped to handle. I’ve never read any Lovecraft, but if this is the kind of stuff his stories get to, I’ve got to start.
Unfortunately, this document is only aimed at people who have finished (all three endings of) the game.
It expects you know the world, character and overall story and spends no time on it. Which means it will be incomprehensible to the people who never played Bloodborne (and don’t want to / can’t because of it’s difficulty, length, PS4, or whatever). If you’re that person and want to know what Bloodborne is about, this won’t help in the slightest :-(.
And for people who did play it, but didn’t finish, it’s chock-full of massive spoilers. Nothing is sacred.
But if you’ve finished Bloodborne and want a guide to put it all together, The Paleblood Hunt is a fantastic resource. I could not put it down and it drastically changed the way I look at the game. For the better.