Conveying cues for well timed actions
People reaction times vary depending upon the type of cue they recieve : visual or auditory. Getting the timing right requires to give clear information on the moment it can be performed. Depending upon the mastery level required and the type of interactions, cues for timings will be more or less evident.
Basic timings the player needs to learn are very clearly identified. For example, loading a heavy blow is defined both by an animation of the character, a visual and an audio sign telling the player that they’re ready to hit.
Getting the parry right requires more skill, but the cues are equally clear. They may not be as obvious. The player needs to learn the timings for each type of ennemy and each attack they can perform. It requires more time, but the consistency of the timings and signs used to convey the information – as subtle and precise as a good fighting game – allow this learning process.
Timing actions is critical …but their effects are generous
Bloodborne is a very demanding game. It is hard and punishing but fair. What players often overlook is that the game is also very nice to them, in some ways, and permissive.
While timings for attacks and parry need to be right, the invulnerability time when dodging (or rolling away from in the Soul series) attacks is quite generous.
Timing actions is critical …but targetting can be aproximative
The game also doesn’t bother players – unlike so many others – with perfect orientation towards items to be able to interact with them. If the player is close enough, he can use this lever or pick up that item, even if the character isn’t facing it properly.
Players can interact with items even when turning their back to them. And when two items are near each other, rather than forcing the player to move, it allows to easily switch between the two options using a clearly indicated input.
The same goes with the fighting system, where focusing on ennemies allows the player to focus on timing over targetting.