Hunter’s gather! Bloodborne is now even better thanks to today’s 1.03 patch. Despite it being all sunny outside, I was tasked with stapling the curtains shut and checking out the new patch’s performance. A surprisingly large 2.75GB download later and I was able to do just that. What I found not only improved the game, but made failure that little bit easier to bear.
The new loading times are indeed much improved, with most now twice as fast. Before the patch, I’d typically expect a wait of around 40 seconds after death or nipping back to the Hunter’s Dream for fast travel or to spend some Blood Echoes. Today, respawning after death was a brisk 17 seconds and multiple trips back and forth from the hub world were also about 17 seconds. The only time it was any longer was when choosing to fast-travel to a location far away from my last one.
For example, a trip from Hunter’s Dream to the game’s opening area in Yharnam after previously being in Hemwick Charnel Lane took around 34 seconds. But that’s not a journey I’m likely to actually need to do. 17 seconds for most required loads seems to be the new normal and that’s not all that’s drastically improved.
Instead of bitterly staring at the screen at the top of this article, the loading screens themselves have been given a makeover to include information about the game’s items, sometimes including a bit of lore. This is an ideal way to get more of Bloodborne’s lore across to the player, who may otherwise have to trawl through menus or forums to see this information.
The new screens make Bloodborne feel that little bit less brutal too. Before today’s patch, the plain loading screen gave you too much time to be bitter over your recent demise. Sure, it allowed a little reflection over what went wrong, but after the tenth attempt at a boss, that’s not what you want. You just want to get back in the fight as soon as possible.
The old logo on a black screen had become an oppressive symbol to only be associated with failure. But the new ever-changing screens are much more refreshing and don’t force you to stew in your own failure with nothing else to entertain your eyes than the name of the game that is kicking your ass. Reading the lore on the new loading screens really takes your mind off things and removes the dull repetition of the plodding fast-travel or the daunting prospect of running the gauntlet of enemies to retrieve your Blood Echoes.
This hasn’t been a patch to make the game easier. But the new loading screens have tweaked the atmosphere just enough to make the whole game feel that little bit less oppressive. No doubt this will upset some of the hardcore crowd that relished their own demises and the mirror-like properties of the old screen. For others though, it might be the perfect excuse to fire the game up again if it’s dropped off your radar recently.
So what else do we have on our wish list of fixes for future patches? Being able to fast travel to locations without having to go to the Hunter’s Dream would be fantastic, but at least patch 1.03 has sped that up. Further improvements to the frame-rate during co-op should be on From Software’s radar too. Anything else? Let us know in the comments.