Blasphemous 2 review: Penitent pleasure

by Chris Camilleri
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Before we get into our review of Blasphemous 2 I have something to say.

With games releasing at the current pace of the market, it is so easy to find titles that, if not identical, will show their inspiration and will oftentimes fail to create that special something to give it a unique identity that could take it to stardom. We have seen countless attempts at reinventing the wheel that, although promising, fall short due to being way too ambitious with their additions that they end up messing up what could have been something great.

This reinforces the notion that sometimes less is more. This brings us to Blasphemous 2, the sequel to The Game Kitchen‘s fantastic 2D platformer which earned it the notion of 2D Dark Souls.

From the get-go, Blasphemous 2 immediately shows what it is about; a game very similar to the first, with some new additions and tweaks and a whole new story, but featuring everyone’s favourite sinner, the Penitent One, embarking on a brand new journey against “The Miracle” and all the creatures which seemingly want him dead. The mystery around the Miracle and why it is the predominantly evil force continues and is definitely one of the most intriguing aspects of Blasphemous. Will the second title answer our questions from the first, or will it sow even more doubts inside our minds?

Blasphemous 2 brings back the same control setup as was in the first title, with however a change in the action/interact button which is mapped to L2 on PlayStation, and Up to save at altars. This feels like a welcome change since it makes frequent commands the focus of the face buttons, although getting used to the control scheme takes only a couple of hours, so it is not that big of a difference.

The changes from the first game start coming into play right off the bat, with the opportunity to select a weapon out of three possible ones when beginning the game. This is in stark contrast to its predecessor, where you only had the sword from beginning to end. These different weapons bring forth some new mechanics as well, like the Lance with Chain “Veredicto”, which can be used to hit bells and create new options for traversal or even new areas altogether within the level.

blasphemous 2

Similarly to the previous title, the map is one single chunk of land joined together at points, so moving can be a bit underwhelming especially if you have not unlocked that area’s portal. Conversely, though, you are immediately presented with three glowing marks on your map which indicate the three big targets to take down. This feels quite helpful to know how close you are to each of them, although the feeling of being confused as to how to progress still lingers.

It is definitely one of Blasphemous‘ unique traits, having something so frustrating becomes rewarding when you manage to find the correct path to continue your journey, and few titles out there can recreate that feeling, especially in a game as challenging and unforgiving as this.

One of the highlights of the first game was no doubt its amazing soundtrack, and it is great to see that Carlos Viola is at it again with the score for Blasphemous 2. The music is similar enough to evoque the first game but different enough to make sure Blasphemous 2‘s soundtrack stands out as its own piece. The music will echo throughout your head for long after you have finished your gaming sessions, which is a major accomplishment.

The game keeps its iconically gorgeous graphic style featured in the first game, which is already a very good start. Coupled with nightmarishly beautiful visuals, it stands out in a league of its own and emphasizes the love and attention that the design team gave the game, deservedly so. The imagery of the game weaves a beautifully animated story, one which could very well be a picture book of every single frame stitched together to create a piece of classic art.

Blasphemous 2 overall thoughts

Blasphemous 2 is everything one could hope for in a sequel to 2019’s smash hit side-scrolling platformer. Sometimes studios feel the need to heavily change parts of a sequel, but it is clear as to why The Game Kitchen chose to keep it very close to game 1. Blasphemous II retains the best parts about the first title and adds very little, but the end result is fantastic, making an amazing game even better.

Every level of Blasphemous 2 is a devilish journey that will have players definitely unhappy about dying too early for making one rash decision, but it is as rewarding as it gets when you finally learn the sequence or the pattern for that pesky boss fight. The Game Kitchen have definitely cooked.

Blasphemous 2 releases on Steam on August 24th, and you can preorder it HERE. For more game reviews, be sure to click HERE.

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