Low-key one of my most anticipated games in this busy, hectic, fulfilling and varied month has been Blasphemous 2.
The original game scratched an itch I never knew I had – a vintage styled Psygnosis, Amiga-era Metroidvania platformer that gives me Shadow of the Beast vibes. Crossed over with Dark Souls.
Oversized, grotesque and unusual creatures that are proportionally oversized compared to our lead, leading toward some epic, satisfying conflicts that stick in the memory.
In this new-ish sub-genre of side-scrolling souls-likes, Blasphemous really stood out for its powerful, poetic imagery, unsettling score, and hard-hitting combat. So it should come as no surprise that Blasphemous 2 is more of the same. Only better.
It’s bigger, bloodier, better and a whole heck of a lot more creepy. The Game Kitchen have taken everything good about the first game and expanded it, improved upon it, and find smart ways to iterate upon it.
First up, the boss battles are much more grandiose and memorable. The real stars of the show make for some tough action, depending on your weapon/s of choice. Dual swords, a hefty flail with a large reach, or a singular blade with defensive properties. However you want to dive into the game, you’re guaranteed some great moments that get the heart racing and blood pumping.
That’s actually another big thing the sequel gets right – diversifying the combat. The dual swords really suited me as I loved hacking and slashing with reckless abandon, cutting through enemies like butter, almost speedrunning through the game with its slides, jumps and swipes.
The flail slows down things a bit, but gives you wider reach and power. While your solo sword is great at parrying, deflection and striking a balance between the two. Best of all, each weapon has its own tree to expand and develop, which really lends itself to replayability, but equally ensures the action stays dynamic and fresh.
Environmentally, the game is much better laid out as well, as you travel through broken-down villages, tunnels and open greens, running alongside a sunset. The atmosphere is both subtle and every moment feels you with this sense of tension and dread. Especially when you encounter an entity you’re not sure will be friend or foe and you’ve already traveled too far down the beaten path.
It blends well with the game’s strong religious tones, really delving deeply into history, scripture and art. They partner perfectly to craft something quite distinct, different, and dare I say daring in the space. Blasphemous 2 has an identity most games only dream of.
But the game is also really well-balanced and finessed. The difficulty has some uneven spikes here and there but generally it feels stable and satisfactory as fight against flying insects and shielded statues. All the way through to those intimidating battles that are sure to be life and death.
The attack patterns mix things up just enough so that you need to keep paying attention and not mindlessly fighting, but also give you enough room to experiment, work to your strengths and take advantage of yoru environment, especially as you acquire new abilities to explore the wider areas.
Blasphemous 2 goes deeper still, though, through its sculpting and verses, new ways to freshen up your stats, combat approach and items so you’re always keeping up with and even surpassing the onslaught. These effects can be purchased, but also found in chests and from defeating certain enemies.
This is a game that just improves upon its foundations, adds fresh ideas and really expands the lore and world building present from its predecessor. There’s some backtracking and repetition, as well as a few frustrating sequences that stop this game achieving the perfection it desperately craves.
However, with stunning animations, gripping score, finely tuned combat and some excellent decision making and choice-based mechanics, The Game Kitchen have refined their magnum opus and built something truly special.
Blasphemous 2 is a bold, bloody, brilliant sequel that betters everything that came before it. The Game Kitchen have polished, refined, and re-energised this franchise, crafting a fantastically unique and compelling souls-like, metroidvania that may just be one of the best things Team 17 have ever published.
+ Stunning, affecting animations and visuals
+ Well chanelled and refined combat
+ Creepy, under the skin score
+ Weapon variety really mixes up the action along with prayers and verses
+ Environments are well laid out
– Some backtracking and repetition in movement
Blasphemous 2 is out August 24th on PC, Xbox, Switch, and PlayStation
Code Kindly Provided by Team 17 for review purposes
Played on Xbox Series X