Yharnam is filled with gothic cities, abandoned clinics and desolate wastelands ravaged by the Hunt. but which locations are my personal favourites and which would I rather never step foot in again. Here’s my Bloodborne locations ranking part one featuring the places I really, really don’t like.
*These rankings are based on my personal opinions, this list may also continue spoilers*
20 – Altar of Despair
There’s not much to this area in Bloodborne, hidden behind a window in the Lunemflowers Garden of the Upper Cathedral Ward. The Altar of Despair is an optional area within an optional area so players embarking on the Hunt for the first time are very likely to entirely miss this location. The Altar of Despair is one of the smallest areas in the game, only containing Ebrietas Daughter of the Cosmos and a petrified alien organism which mildly resembles Rom laid on the alter itself. This mass appears to have the ability to reverse the flow of time as taking Queenly Flesh to this Alter will resurrect Queen Analise of the Vilebloods should she perish. It’s clear from the strange architecture of the cavern that Ebrietas has been trapped down here for centuries, praying to the altar to be reunited with her fellow Great Ones. Once you have defeated Ebrietas the room is left empty, hidden behind locked doors and strange overgrown gardens its unlikely that you will visit this area more than once.
19 – Lecture Building
The Lecture Building acts more as a crossroad to between two new areas which pose more importance on the plot than The Lecture building itself. The area is structured as a two-storey hall with lecture theatres connected to the body of the building which points players to The Nightmare Frontier and the Nightmare of Mensis respectively. The Lecture Building was once a part of Brygenwerth and now inhabited by Mensis, the residents of the Lecture Building have been transformed into slimy scholarly remnants of their former selves. Whilst these Slime Scholars are relatively weak they are strong in number and will often congregate in masses. In one instance a collection of Slime Scholars will be sitting in one of the lecture halls, silent and motionless as if completely unaware of their state of being or existence. In its entirety the Lecture Building is bland and empty and although you can find one of the most interesting NCP characters in this area (who ties together the Dark Souls series to Bloodborne) there isn’t much else to do here. Just like real life education The Lecture Building isn’t a place you really want to spend your time.
18 – Yahar’gul Unseen Village
Yahar’gul is easily one of the strangest places in Yharnam, during the game players can visit Yahar’gul twice, and both times in completely different atmospheres. After the Blood-Starved Beast has been slaughtered large cloaked men called Snatchers will appear around Yharnam. These enemies are extremely aggressive and getting killed by one will lead to more than just the ‘You Died’ title card. The Hunter will awaken in a prison called Hypogean Gaol, leaving this area by ascending the stairs will lead to the lamp for this area and The Unseen Village pre-blood moon. Patrolled by Snatchers, Man Eater Boars and Eye Collectors your first optional visit to this area isn’t too taxing and Darkbeast Paarl, the optional boss of the area is probably the only foe who will offer you a challenging fight. Ultimately, this area appears to follow the same formula as the ones before it, that is however until the moon changes. Once Rom the Vacuous Spider has been killed the blood moon transitions through its cycles it leaves the Unseen Village a twisted version of its former self. Now nightmarish aberrations skulk the streets, Bell Maidens continually summon enemies who appear behind, above or in front of you meaning that you must always be alert in this section. It’s not only the constant spawning of enemies which makes The Unseen Village so tedious, the colour palate of deep reds, browns and dark purples also becomes boring to look at after a few minutes in this area. And when the player has completed their tasks here and finally leaves Yahar’gul behind its almost certain that they will not want to return.
17 – The Nightmare Frontier
The Nightmare Frontier is known for being the area of Bloodborne with the repetitive brown/grey colour palate. The whole location is in fact dull and boring on the eyes. This area can be located via the 1st Floor of the lecture building and although it’s completely optional many Hunters will find their way into this dreary and miserable scene. Populated by Silverbeasts who will detonate electrical attacks, Lost Children who hurl boulders from afar and Crawlers who vomit a poisonous substance, the whole area feels bleak and miserable. For me I found it hard to enjoy these fights because they were so repetitive, spam R1, dodge the exaggerated attack wind up, rinse and repeat. The area’s boss does not redeem The Nightmare Frontier either, Amygdala may be one of Bloodborne’s most infuriating bosses with her huge pool of health, intimidating size and hard-hitting attacks. Upon defeating Amygdala and returning to the bleak wasted remains of The Nightmare Frontier many players will realise that The Nightmare Frontier has little else to offer and therefore will move on with their Hunt.
16 -Moonside Lake
The most interesting part of this location is the mystery surrounding it. Accessible only by reaching the balcony at Brygenwerth college the Hunter must jump into the reflection of the moon on the waters below. The uncertainty about jumping into the shimmering waters plays off Bloodborne’s punishments for curiosity. Even though silent Provest Willem sits behind the Hunter pointing to the vast lake there is still hesitance when it comes to making the jump below. Once the Hunter descents into the lake he is greeted by an endless field of sliver water and Rom The Vacuous Spider. The location itself acts as a giant dream catcher, in American folklore a dream catcher is a giant spiders web with catches nightmares. Fittingly in Bloodborne the Moonside Lake is literally a colossal spider web with a genuine spider used to catch real nightmares in the Hunt. The creation of this area may be fascinating, but its single purpose is to house a boss fight, and once Rom has gone its simply an endless expanse of water.
15- Healing Church Workshop
Although this area of the game reveals an important aspect of the Hunters Dream and the origins of the Hunt, its limited in what else it has to offer. The path to the Healing Church Workshop opens once The Bloodstarved Beast has been defeated, and following its trail at that point of the game will lead to the discovery of a spiral staircase which leads to a locked door at the summit. Players will be able to return here later in the game to unlock the Upper Cathedral Ward but for now the Healing Church Workshop can be used to reach another interesting area of the game. Carefully dropping down from the rafters of the Healing Church Workshop will reveal a hidden door many meters below. Reaching this door is no easy feat and requires adequate health to survive the lengthy drop to the ledge far below. However, once Hunters have survived this perilous drop they can expect a surprise on the other side of the door. The Abandoned Old Workshop resides here, the exact template for the Hunters Dream this old Workshop was created by Gehrman The First Hunter who created the Doll and the numerous trick weapons for future Hunters to use during the Hunt. This may be the most interesting reveal within the Healing Church Workshop and because it’s an entirely different area I’m not sure I can even credit it with that.
14- Upper Cathedral Ward
13- Forbidden Woods
The Forbidden Woods is easily the largest area of Yharnam, filled with secrets, lore and hidden shortcuts this area of the game seems alluring, however, myself and many other players have more than a few problems with it. Firstly, why on earth is there only one lamp? New Hunters who stick strictly to the path are likely to miss the shortcuts and while there are a lot of them when found ease accessibility from different levels of the map they’re not the simplest shortcuts to find. The player will have to explore decaying houses, face powerful enemies and make life or death jumps just to open a door, operate a lift or kick down a ladder which might not even help the in the long run. Of course, on the other hand the lack of lamps forces players to explore and in the Forbidden Woods there is a lot to be discovered. Most of the hidden caves and area’s however house something a lot nastier than secrets. Snakes riddle this area, whether that be snake balls, large snake balls or snake parasites the Forbidden Woods are a hot spot for serpents. The woods are responsible for one of Bloodborne’s many difficulty spikes as the player will find themselves surrounded by foes at every twist and turn, the trodden path will often lead the Hunter to the traps or writhing snake nests. Exploration is the key for surviving long enough to open the multiple shortcuts which will ease accessibility when you do inevitably die. There is a lot to be found in the Forbidden Woods, a shortcut to a underground cave, strange alien-like creatures who don’t seem to belong and numerous NCP characters. The Forbidden Woods aren’t a bad area but it isn’t an area I enjoy facing either.
12 -Nightmare of Mensis
If it weren’t for the Brain of Mensis ruling over this area inflicting frenzy on all who enter the area, the lower level of the Nightmare of Mensis might not be such a bad location. Frenzy infliction may slow down the progress of the Hunter but thankfully this aliment also damages enemies, allowing for an equal playing field. And they don’t have sedatives. The upper levels of The Nightmare of Mensis however are not fun and make this location a chore rather than an enjoyable few hours. Firstly, the initial boss fight of this area with Micolash Host of the Nightmare is one which is undeniably annoying. Secondly, there are numerous challenging enemies in these upper levels including several Shadows of Yharnam, Giant Maneater Boars with hundreds of eyes and even Winter Lanterns. These clusters of powerful enemies will easily overpower you if they spot you and the large concentration of them in these areas means that the odds are not in your favour. The Nightmare of Mensis however is a great spot for farming blood echoes and is the only location in the main game which hides the illusive Blood Rock, which is essentially to level your weapon to +10. The dark colour palate for the Nightmare of Mensis alludes to the progression of the moon cycle, therefore it makes sense for this final area of the game to be one which is twisted the furthest with corruption and evil. Although the immense ratio of enemies makes this area an infuriating one (one which will cause you to pull your hair out) its definitely one of the locations in Bloodborne which showcases the effect of the Scourge allowing me to forgive it, slightly.
11- Iosefka’s Clinic
Iosefka’s Clinic is the initial starting point of the game and although it may not seem like an important location of Bloodborne its key to future quest lines as well as guaranteed passage to Forsaken Castle Cainhurst. If the player returns to the 1st Floor Sickroom before entering The Cathedral Ward they can return to the clinic where they will meet Iosefka, a kindly practitioner who aids the Hunter with blood vials and advice at the start of the Hunt. From this point in the Hunt the area is renamed Iosefka’s Clinic and remains shrouded in mystery until you get deeper into the nightmare. Most players will forget all about Iosefka’s Clinic due to it being the opening area of the game, but returning to Bloodborne’s opening area will reveal delectable secrets. Keen-eyed players will notice that Iosefka (who hides behind the door to the clinic) dramatically changes mannerisms and characteristics during the Hunt. Her ethos changes from not letting anyone in to prevent contagion to asking the Hunter for those seeking shelter, her aim is to cure them but her sinister tone alludes to more than just that. From a path that branches off from the Forbidden Woods Hunters can travel through an interconnecting series of underground caves. Delving deeper into these tunnels reveals a ladder which emerges above ground around the back of Iosefka’s Clinic. Breaking into her Clinic reveals the truth of Iosefka’s identity and what she’s being doing with the innocent souls you’ve sent her way. The clinic is dark and filled with scientific equipment and the results of some of Iosefka’s experiments. Depending on if you visit the clinic before or after the defeat of Rom the Vacuous Spider Iosefka (who is in fact an impostor) will either be aggressive or incapacitated. This area is one which is made in-depth by its NPC impostor Iosefka and because of this it’s a very enjoyable area to play through more than once.
That’s it for now, keep on checking back for the second half of this ranking where I discuss the areas in Bloodborne which even years later still give me shivers.