It’s tough being the only hero in the world when you’ve got a whole host of enemies looking to take you down.
Fortunately for Wryn, she’s also the best. Well, by default that is. She wiped the rest of the heroes out in Bleed 1. That’s the problem when you’re in a bid to be called the greatest, you get the extra responsibility that comes along with it.
Bleed 2 is the arcade action follow-up to Bootdisk Revolution’s popular 2012 shooter and the good (possibly bad) news is not much has changed. Wryn’s still got pink hair. She still has an infinite supply of bullets but also an amazing knack for slowing down time. Seriously, she makes Neo look like an amateur!
Bleed 2 is more assured and polished than it’s predecessor, and it really shines in the visual department. The entire aesthetic has had a much needed, very welcome upgrade. There’s more happening in the background with smoke pillowing out of chimney tops and alien spacecrafts floating ominously overhead. Compared to Bleed’s mostly static environments, the look of the sequel is a breath of fresh air.
As for the action happening on the screen, Bleed 2 certainly likes to keep players busy. On the harder difficulties, it becomes almost impossible to see the screen for the amount of bullets coming your way, even though Wryn’s character model is bigger, faster, and more responsive. You’ll still need to make use of well-timed deflections with your katana and last second jumps to make those crucial misses.
As before, Bleed 2 comes with 7 levels packed in, each one filled with multiple boss fights, some of those having several different phases. Bleed 2 also offers the same amount of replayability as its predecessor with four difficulty settings, enabling you to unlock many new characters, abilities and weapon types, more than Bleed 1. Hidden unlockables, such as Wryn’s rival and a rocket launcher are among the many things you’ll get for beating the games’ story and fulfilling other set conditions.
Bleed 2 is also unafraid to let players’ test themselves. You don’t just have a rock-hard difficulty to fight through in story, you can attempt to fight through the game in one life on Arcade mode, and even fight three bosses at the same time in a totally unbalanced, unfair, and unreal Challenge Mode. Believe me, the state of some of these bosses, that is no easy feat.
There’s even the brand new Endless Mode which lets you dive into a series of multiple, procedurally generated levels with random enemies and bosses scattered throughout.
Unquestionably, there’s plenty to keep you occupied in Bleed 2. Not just because each character is different and all weapons change the way you approach each battle. Not only because there’s multiple modes and the games’ difficulty is unrelenting, but Bootdisk Revolution have truly perfect and nailed the side-scrolling shooter but given it enough of a modern twist that it is comfortable releasing in 2018.
And the thing that really gives it the edge is the epic boss battles. Some phases are surprisingly creative and while it’s almost always clear what you need to do to beat an enemy, you’ll be in awe of some of the techniques they pull off and the ways they can continue to hurt you when you think you’ve got a battle wrapped up. Although, don’t be surprised if some of them look a bit familiar as there’s certainly been a little bit of regurgitation from the original.
All that said, the story can be blasted through in one sitting, and replayability through the same levels may not be for everyone, though the clever way the game has been designed makes it so each playthrough experience feels different enough to justify that second, third, even fourth look in.
And if you just want a bit of fun you can even add some mutators for some quirky benefits (and restrictions)
Bleed 2 does what it does very well. It’s accessible, entertaining, sometimes tactical, other times infuriating, but it’s still one of the best modern day side-scrollers we’ve played.
+ Great visual upgrade
+ Brilliant side-scrolling fun
+ Plenty of replayability if you want it
– Some repetition from original
– Story can be blasted through quickly
8 out of 10
Tested on Playstation 4