Man, Blasphemous 2 is SO f*****g good. I know, I know, I should probably give a bit of a more thorough introduction to the game than that, but from the moment I started playing, I instantly loved it… so hey, from the moment you start reading this review, you can know I love it too.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Blasphemous 2’s story carries on from the events of the DLC from the original game, so unless you played through and completed the complex tasks required to see the ‘true’ ending, you may be a little confused as to what’s going on. That being said, you may be a little confused even IF you saw the ending, because let’s be honest, Blasphemous was a very cryptic game that left a lot open to interpretation. Either way, the returning protagonist The Penitent One finds themselves awakening to face off against a new threat to the world, with plenty of religious and sin-themed drama to push the tale forward. I’m putting it in a nutshell there, but with the tale just as cryptic this time around, maybe it’s something that’s better to discover for yourself.
At its core, Blasphemous 2 feels a lot like the original game. It’s 2D, there’s a big emphasis on Metroidvania-style exploration, you’ll continually improve your skills, you’ll complete cryptic quests for the NPCs scattered across the world, and you’ll face off against hordes of vicious enemies and epic boss encounters that’ll put your skills to the test. Fervour acts as your mana and can be recharged as you attack enemies, Prayers can be used to activate a multitude of magical attacks or effects, and you’ll find and equip items that can buff The Penitent One up to make them stronger. If you were a fan of the first game, you’ll like this sequel too.
It would be a disservice to the game to say that it hasn’t innovated upon the formula in any way though, because whilst a lot remains the same, Blasphemous 2 has also evolved to offer deeper combat mechanics and more intricate exploration than before. For one, you have a choice of weapon at the start of the game this time around, with players able to choose between the rapier and dagger combo of Sarmiento and Centella, Ruego Al Alba (a big ol’ sword), and Veredicto (a mace-like weapon). Not only do these weapons each feel completely different to use with their varying speeds and strengths, but they also offer special abilities tied to exploration. For example, Veredicto can be used to ring special bells that open up new pathways for the player, whilst Sarmiento and Centella can be used to activate mirrors that act as portals between areas.
“Whilst you’ll be exploring all-new locales this time around, traversal still feels great and brings with it that same brilliant sense of mystique as you figure out where you need to go next, uncover some hidden pathways by destroying some walls, or find some peculiar NPCs whose intentions aren’t fully clear.”
It means some areas might be initially locked off based upon your weapon choice, but don’t worry, you’ll eventually be able to unlock the others weapons as you progress – just expect some early hurdles if you don’t pick a weapon that suits your playstyle, especially since Veredicto can’t even parry! With each weapon having its own upgrade tree, there’s plenty of depth to be found in their use that ensures switching them out on a regular basis can prove vital to your success. You’ll feel like a real powerhouse by the time you have access to all three, and nothing feels more satisfying than picking the right weapon for the right occasion when facing off against a formidable foe. The combat already felt great in the original game, but the added diversity offered here makes it more brutal and rewarding than before.
The magic system (Prayers) has also seen some changes, with different abilities offered based upon whether you simply press the button to use a Prayer or hold it. In the original, I often found that I didn’t use my Prayers as regularly as I could since I’d leave myself vulnerable when activating each one, but with the ability to unleash quicker magic-based attacks which can be equally effective, I felt like I was adding a whole new skill to my repertoire. It complements the already excellent combat mechanics to ensure The Penitent One has plenty of fancy tricks up their sleeve.
Blasphemous 2 has made enough changes to make it feel like a worthwhile sequel then, but I think its greatest strengths come with the things that remain the same. Whilst you’ll be exploring all-new locales this time around, traversal still feels great and brings with it that same brilliant sense of mystique as you figure out where you need to go next, uncover some hidden pathways by destroying some walls, or find some peculiar NPCs whose intentions aren’t fully clear. Seeing familiar enemies brought a smile to my face too (in that weird ‘I can’t wait to kill a bunch of you all over again’ kind of way), whilst the cycle of facing challenging bosses with deadly attack patterns to learn felt equally tantalising. The core gameplay cycle remains the same, and whilst combat and your abilities have brought with them refreshing changes, everything feels like it did in the original game – and I mean that in the best way possible.
Check out some screenshots down below:
There are plenty of other little things that I appreciated that I won’t go into here, with Blasphemous 2 offering an abundance of surprises that should STAY as surprises for the player. It’s worth noting that it’s a bit more player-friendly than the original too, with a more forgiving difficulty curve in place that saw me suffer less deaths than I did the first time around… well… up until the final fifth of the game, which did kick my ass a little. What’s most important though is that it’s an absolute blast to play. Blasphemous wasn’t really on my radar when it launched in 2019, but after playing it, it stood out as one of my favourite releases of the year. Blasphemous 2 is even BETTER.
I can’t end this review without mentioning the visuals, which are cleaner and more detailed than in the original game. This is especially noticeable in the excellent character models, though the sheer depth and creativity shown off in the morbid environments are equally impressive to behold. The religious-themed imagery is just as eerie and haunting as before, whilst there’s plenty of that sinister sense of creativity from the original game that ensures players will be left horrified by what the world has in store for them. It’s makes exploring the world all the more engrossing, even if it is full of jaw-dropping shocks that’ll regularly catch players off guard.
Blasphemous 2 Review
Blasphemous 2 is absolutely brilliant, with the game maintaining the core mechanics that made its predecessor so good whilst evolving upon the combat in a deep and strategic way. Alternating between weapons always feels satisfying, whether that’s when strategically switching up when facing off against a hulking enemy or utilising their unique traversal methods, whilst simply exploring the beautiful yet haunting world and discovering all of its secrets is just as tantalising as before.
It’s a case of ‘why fix what isn’t broken’, with Blasphemous 2 introducing plentiful changes to make it feel fresh, but also offering the same sense of familiarity that players would’ve loved the first time around. Just play it, seriously, it’s THAT damn good.
Developer: The Game Kitchen
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed), PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch