Blasphemous 2 Review – Brutal, Beautiful, and Brilliant (PC)

Blasphemous 2 comes with gratifying combat, smooth platforming, and gorgeous visuals to satisfy new and old fans alike. The 2D action platformer is the work The Game Kitchen and is a resounding success for the sequel of the acclaimed original.

Blasphemous 2 Review – Brutal, Beautiful, and Brilliant (PC)

The Game Kitchen have knocked it out of the park with their sequel, Blasphemous 2, which has in review, improved on the original and provided a great mix of combat and platforming. Not only does the game play great, but it looks and sounds great as well, with a wonderful soundtrack and fantastically designed sprites and backdrops. It’s best described as a hybrid between Dark Souls and Metroid in the best possible way. It’s a must play for fans of souls-like, and well worth picking up, even if you aren’t usually into 2D games.

Blasphemous 2 releases on Steam/PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and Nintendo Switch on the 24th August for $30.00.

Blasphemous 2 | Preorder Trailer

Story – Awaken to a New World

The Spanish roots of the developers are on clear display through the Catholic inspirations and gothic style that influence the story and art alike. The core of the story begins where the Wounds of Eventide DLC ended, with a giant heart appearing in the sky. This heralds the return of the mysterious deity known as the Miracle, which will birth a new Miracle Child. The Penitent One arises from the grave to slay this child, and any other monstrosity that gets in his way. You are given the location of 3 bosses who hide a secret relating to the God and it’s offspring and sent on your path of pain.

The story takes you across the beautiful but accursed land

The story takes you across the beautiful but accursed land

The story for Blasphemous 2, in a similar style to the Souls series, has a large portion told through hard to decipher means. There are cryptic conversations with the many NPCs such as a blind sculptor, a golden masked man baby (literally) and a lady who wilfully has her hand flayed. The characters come with side quests and mysteries to solve through careful exploration.

There are also the fanciful item descriptions.  These shed light on the world and it’s lore. Whilst the enigmatic story telling may be a turn off for some, it’s an aspect that can be engaged with as much as, or as little as, the player decides. The lore is deep and dark and well worth the reading. However, you can always wait for the inevitable hours long YouTube videos to clue you in.

Gameplay – Slick and Visceral

The Tools

Blasphemous 2 is a 2D hack and slash platformer, with a few changes to the original that offer more variety in approaches to review. First, you have a choice of three weapons, as opposed to the single sword, Mea Culpa, in the original. This time around you have a choice of three to pick at the start: Veredicto, a large flail which is slow but strong, Sarmiento and Centella, a pair of swords that are fast but weak, and Ruego Al Alba, a large blade that offers a balance between the two.

Each one interacts with the environment to access new areas, for example Sarmiento and Centalla can be used to strike floating statues to teleport. You’ll acquire all three as you go, with quick switching required for platforming and for taking advantage of the enemies. Each weapon can be upgraded to unlock new attacks or improvements to damage. This is a nice way to upgrade your character. You don’t boost your stats like you typically do, but get to add new moves to your skillsets that make you feel your improvement much more viscerally.

Fast travel is only available at these gates

Fast travel is only available at these gates

Other mechanics to note are the prayers, which are your magic attacks, which give you some much needed range. Rosary beads offer buffs to your attacks or defence. There’s also the altar upon your back, which you can place idols in for more buffs and boosts. These idols also interact together, with new abilities unlocking that will massively improve your killing power.

All of these work together to give the player much more choice in how they want to approach combat. Personally, I went for a heavy damage build with Veredicto, pumping up my fire damage to get the most out of the weapons burn damage when using its special ability.

Combat and Platforming

Combat works similar to the Souls series. Enemies are punishing and mistakes often lead to death, but there’s real satisfaction to be had once you figure out what to do. It’s a delicate dance, but it feels great as you ride the learning curve. There is a strong variety of enemies, often coming in groups, which prevents the game from feeling monotonous.

You have bile flasks, which only replenish when saving at the altars. You also have fervour, which is essentially mana. This is charged by landing attacks, however each time you die the bar gets smaller and smaller. You’ll need to visit the confessional NPC to replenish it, which adds weight to each death.

Alone the candlestick wielders are easy, but are troublesome in groups

Alone the candlestick wielders are easy, but are troublesome in groups

The combat is blended with the platforming, especially in the boss fights. Incoming attacks need to be dodged or parries, and some bosses even have bullet hell style attacks which take deft skill to survive. The platforming is excellent as well, with some initial difficulty giving way to smoothly dancing through the levels. New abilities will unlock new routes and the developers have made a great use of verticality to make up for the limitations of the 2d format.

Overall, the gameplay is phenomenal. If there is one nitpick to make, it’s that the vendors are spread out, rather than being centralised to one location. This means it can be a little tedious when you need to make multiple stops, but you end up moving so fast that it isn’t a major problem.

Graphics and Audio – Stunning and Surreal

Blasphemous 2 is an astoundingly good-looking game, and there are two areas to gush about for this review. First are the sprites. The game’s sprites are well designed and animated. The movement is incredibly slick for a pixel art game, which pairs well with the quick flow of the gameplay. The pixel style has not limited the developer’s ability to great some gory and unsettling imagery. It’s a brutal game, and the art doesn’t shy away from that, with some stunningly gross imagery. The small details add a lot, for example you can see your character breathe. You also have the savage executions and dramatic death animations which are different for each enemy.

There are moments of beauty to be found amongst the violence

There are moments of beauty to be found amongst the violence

Then there’s the backgrounds. All the locations have some great art that establish the settings. Whether its the deep catacombs, grand churches, or overgrown forests. You’ll likely find yourself stopping regularly to admire the backdrops that perfectly set the tone. It truly elevates the visuals to a new level. There are also cutscenes that feature a fairly simple style that offers a nice break. All in all, the visuals are a highlight for this review of Blasphemous 2.

The audio is also a great. The fast-paced guitars add a sense of urgency that meshes well with the speed and flow of the game. There are also more solemn pieces that befit other areas and the occasional moments of silence. The music is great, although there could perhaps be a bit more variety. The same could be said for the diegetic sounds of the characters and combat. They are perfectly serviceable but could perhaps use more flair. However, that’s just being nitpicky for a game that excels both visually and audially.

Blasphemous 2 was played for review on PC with a key provided by the publisher Team 17.

Blasphemous 2 is a fantastic sequel. The smooth gameplay, wonderful world building and awesomely gory and strange art make this a must play for fans of the genre and new acolytes looking to test it out. It improves on the original with some excellent streamlining and platforming to go with the combat. It plays, looks, and sounds great, and is a must play for anyone even slightly intrigued.
  • Smooth and Engaging Gameplay
  • Great World Building and Lore
  • Fantastic Visuals and Audio
  • Backtracking is a Little Inconvenient

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