In Blasphemous 2, You Must Find Your Own Salvation in a Dark and Challenging World
In the depths of Blasphemous 2, players may be tempted to turn to real-life prayer. Kneeling before the game’s Prie Dieu altars, which double as save points, they may seek forgiveness for their past mistakes. They may pray for a slight weakening of the boss they’re struggling with or for better dodge timing. But in this dark and cynical world that takes a critical view of Christianity and organized religion, their prayers will go unanswered. They must rely on their own skills and abilities to overcome the challenges that lie ahead.
The original Blasphemous was a highly praised Metroidvania game that combined the exploration and world structure of its genre, the punishing difficulty of the Souls series, and a unique artistic style influenced by Spanish art and religious iconography. Blasphemous 2 builds upon this solid foundation, creating a sprawling cathedral filled with hidden secrets and eerie clergy. But how does it compare to other popular Metroidvania games like Hollow Knight? Let’s dive in and find out.
One noticeable flaw in Blasphemous 2 is its animated cutscenes. The original game used a distinct stop-motion style that added to its unsettling atmosphere. However, the sequel opts for more generic and higher-quality animations that feel out of place with the game’s overall tone. While the new cutscenes are well-executed and visually stunning, they create a jarring contrast with the beautiful pixel art and dark atmosphere that define the rest of Blasphemous 2. This style change seems like a misstep that detracts from the immersive experience of the game.
Weapon of Choice
Despite its flaws, Blasphemous 2 shines when it comes to gameplay. The game introduces a significant change from its predecessor by offering three starting weapons instead of just one. Each weapon has its own unique moveset, special abilities, and elemental alignment. Players can choose between the slow-but-powerful Veredicto mace, the swift dual blades Sarmiento and Centella, or the well-balanced Ruego Al Alba sword. Each weapon feels distinct, allowing players to approach combat scenarios in different ways.
The game also introduces a skill tree system, where players can use a currency called Marks of Martyrdom to upgrade their chosen weapon. These upgrades not only increase damage but also unlock new moves, expanding the player’s arsenal and providing more options in challenging situations. The weapon upgrades in Blasphemous 2 feel substantial and significantly alter how each weapon is used. Additionally, the weapons serve as keys to unlocking new areas and progressing through the game, adding an exciting element to the gameplay loop.
Blasphemous 2 wastes no time in throwing players into a boss fight after they’ve chosen their starting weapon. This approach is common in difficult games, but it is executed exceptionally well in this sequel. The boss encounter is designed to be challenging but fair, allowing players to learn the boss’s patterns and gradually improve their skills. It serves as a proper introduction to the game’s demanding combat without being overly punishing.
Overall, Blasphemous 2 is a dark and challenging Metroidvania game that builds upon the strengths of its predecessor. While it may stumble with its animated cutscenes, it excels in gameplay, offering a variety of weapons and satisfying combat mechanics. Players must rely on their own abilities to navigate through the game’s treacherous world and find their own salvation. Blasphemous 2 may not reach the same heights as games like Hollow Knight, but it is a worthy addition to the modern Metroidvania genre.