Hi. This is my second post on this subreddit. That's not really important, I just wanted to mention that I don't talk a lot here. This is probably going to be a pretty incoherent rant, but I wanted to talk about it before I forget. Also, possible spoilers, if you don't already know about the late, final game bosses.
I'm a pretty low-commitment souls player, playing Darksouls III through ng+, and starting bloodbourne but putting it off because I had other games to attend to (I'll get around to it, I swear.) I my first play through of this game a little over a week ago, and posted a photo of the trophy you get for beating sword saint isshin. It hadn't occurred to me until a few minutes ago that sword saint isshin was one of the few fights in this game I didn't totally cheese.
Now, I admit, cheesing is kinda stupid. Sure, it lets you beat the boss, but most of the time it totally takes away from the feeling of accomplishment you get for winning. I'm not proud of the fact that I cheesed some bosses, but it's true that I did. I think, like many people, I cheesed for two reasons. The first being that I didn't have a lot of time to play and didn't want to sink hours into the game, and the second, more obvious reason, was that I wasn't especially good.
It was around the Genichiro fight at ashina castle that I decided to give up cheesing, mostly because I found learning the fight itself easier than mastering the cheese I'd found, and it felt goddamn amazing. The intensity you feel when mashing the deflect button, dodge, strike, is unlike any other, the adrenaline sucking you in while some little part of you recognizes the sheer awesome-ness of your fight. The feeling of breaking a bosses posture by deflection, or mikiri counter, and landing that final deathblow is unlike anything I've ever felt in a game (oh yeah and it was also during the Genichiro fight I learned how to Mikiri Counter, how I managed to play before learning it? I don't know.)
I'd forgotten how good these games felt upon learning a fight, and beating through sheer skill and perseverance (or, in Isshin's case, pure, pure luck.) With Genichiro, and many other bosses, it was learning to take the safe shots. To learn when I could dodge and recover posture, and when I could engage and get a hit, or damage posture. Perhaps my biggest Eureka moment was recognizing the little animations signaling enemies attacks, like Genichiro's little blade whirlwind combo, or Isshin's first phase side dash or charge, or even realizing bosses attacks that get triggered upon you using a health item. The realization that you can predict their moves and react accordingly, through your own reflexes and ability, is thrilling.
Isshin was by far, my proudest moment, as I'm sure is the same with everybody else on this sub who has had the pleasure of beating him. I won't spoil anything, but from the first fight against him where you can't even land a hit before draining 4 of your gourd sips, to getting to his final phase with 1 or 2 left (or, in my case, 0, of any healing items.) I will admit that when I first played against him, I tried to cheese him, to much failure, and I eventually gave up on that and "got good." And when you fight isshin legit, it's fantastic, a whirlwind of dodges, sparks, mikiri counters, and frantic button mashing. But even as I jerked in my chair and cursed on each hit and mistake, I realized I could tell his movements. How I could tell after his second phase close-quarter combo attack, when he would do his stab for a mikiri counter.
I'm nowhere near as good as some others are (believe me, I've seen somebody destroy isshin, genichiro + isshin phase, in
) I feel like I'm better for it to have managed to beat the sword saint without resorting to exploiting his attacks or his AI.
Just to be clear, I'm not shaming cheesing. This game is awesome, and to be unable to progress the story simply because you can't beat a single boss is a royal pain in the ass, especially when it seems like you've done all you can to prepare. Hell, I was a cheese-er once too, and still am, when I can't be bothered to "git gud." But hear me out. This game is a beautiful, in story, combat, lore, and progression. Hell, there is a reason it got GOTY, and while cheesing does let you experience the game's story, I feel like it does a bit of a disservice to yourself to resort to cheesing a boss because of how difficult it is.
Thanks for reading, if you still are. I've probably just repeated what's already been said a lot in this sub, but I wanted to offer my two cents. This game is a masterpiece, like all FromSoft Games, and I'm a tad bit ashamed I didn't see that sooner.
Tl; dr: I cheesed when I first started playing. Around halfway through, I gave up on cheesing, and learned just how amazing the combat and game play in this game truly is.