Blasphemous 2

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Blasphemous 2 review
Jordan Helsley


"No need to repent"

"No need to repent"

It's telling that in a year with a glut of good, even fantastic, big-name games, it was something else that infatuated me. It takes but one look at a screenshot of Blasphemous 2 to see why that might be: the Roman Catholicism-gone-wrong aesthetic begs you to be curious, and you'll yearn for answers.

Once More Unto The Dread

You step back into the shoes and blood-filled helm of The Penitent One, immersed in another darkly religious world still based on history and legend. Immediate apparently is just how effectively lessons from the first game were internalized and acted upon. You're presented with a choice: one of three new weapons with which to begin your journey. Gone is the Mea Culpa and any semblance of the game telling you how to play, because your choice not only fuels your combat style, but also your progression through the map. A little more direction in that regard could have improved the onboarding, but it's overcome on a quick-enough timeline.

Blasphemous 2 retains its metroidvania sensibilities, and your weapon is one of your primary keys. Entire sections of the map can be locked for several hours depending on your choice, but the main focus is on how you wish to handle the punishing combat. Will it be the quick double swords, the middle ground one, or the hard-hitting wrecking ball? Taking more than a few cues from other mysterious, animation-based combat games, inaction and indecision in this world results in a swift death. Choose wisely, as your weapon plays second fiddle only to your ability to stick and move.

Art In Motion

The fluidity of combat is another in the long list of improvements. Dodges feel immediately more deadly (and improve over time), but also more vital. The same can be said for the perfect parry. Throughout the tutorial area you'll have the chance to become intimately familiar with your weapon and strategies that stem from it, but the road ahead is still long.

The satisfaction of overcoming both standard enemies and larger-than-life bosses also endeavours to avoid stagnation. As you venture forth, upgrading your weapon, abilities, and character, you'll also encounter situations where picking the right tool for the job can be the difference between success and failure. Sometimes it might take a few trial-and-error runs, but the tools are available to conquer this difficult beast.

New Adventure, New World

You can't say enough about the passionate art style of Blasphemous 2. It remains a successor to the freshman effort, while taking a few more steps away from the original pixel art into something that's as beautiful as it is grotesque. I found no issues with the cohesiveness of the art this time around, and was doubly impressed with the level design throughout. As I began to become fully enthralled in the world, I began hunting for this world's myriad secrets. By the end, I'd acquired nearly all that the world had to offer, which is a testament to not only the inviting world, but also the visual language that leads you on your way. That said, when I was finally ready to put the game down I found a few secrets I had yet to even sniff, which is as exciting as it is infuriating for my 100% aspirations.

Early on I had my doubts. A non-linear world such as this can be daunting, doubly so when the local dialect is a cryptic mix of religious scripture and vague hints, but I was lead to my destinations predominantly by delightful game design. I rarely felt lost, and when I did a little bit of unguided exploration allowed me to suss out the answers I needed. Still, at the end of my week of full-time work, I was left with several rooms that clearly had something, but their use never came into light.

Hymns Of Delight

Throughout this adventure, soundtrack and sound design remain integral. Even the cacophony of enemies and weapon impacts make a melody in sync with the backing track. It's yet another example of a soundtrack that could easily feel at home in your Spotify rotation when you're looking to focus. More importantly, the English voice track is an improvement, though I was happy to see the inclusion of the superior Spanish track on release. You really can't go wrong with the whole of the audio experience.

Collecting and Characters

Even with fulfilling combat, an enigmatic world, and beautiful audio-visual design, the potential of Blasphemous 2 would be unrealized without characters to fuel the story. While many are trapped in sin-related woe, they're just as fascinating as the set dressing without exception. They're also numerous. Many hours into my adventure I was still discovering NPCs teasing out their personal stories and connections to the larger world. They're people you'll want to return to, early and often, to get every little bit out of them.

Also returning is the focus on lore within the items you're collecting. While the purpose of many of these trinkets can be inscrutable, it remains a joy to get the background on how important it is to simply hold each item in your bag. If you seek the whole picture of this world, the bread crumbs exist to satisfy that promise, they simply require a little deduction.

Focus and Refinement

Not everything from the original makes a return. In fact, there's a lot that was abandoned in favour of this new world. I never felt those losses. Each little bit of design, old, new, and changed, served to present a game that feels more focused than its predecessor. There was no "more stuff on the pile" here, rather refinement of what worked, abandonment of what didn't, and taking criticism to heart from a game that had a shockingly-low number of flaws to begin with, considering the young and small team that made it.

Blasphemous 2 is built on the back of the insanely funded Kickstarter success of the first game, with improved visuals, an even more cohesive art style that still evokes Francisco Goya and Spanish history, more fluid animations, and an extra step up in the music and voice acting. It really is an improvement in every way, and does so without forgoing what made the introduction special. While intimate knowledge of the original entry is not required, it serves to enhance both the world of Blasphemous and the story of the Penitent One. Throw in The Game Kitchen's house-made documentary for good measure, and you've got an enthralling franchise of mystery, misery, and history, capped off by not only one of the best games of its genre, but a fine entry in all of gaming. Any shortcomings be damned, as its stellar elements do more than repent for them.

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fun score


Beautifully grotesque art style that is as cohesive with its punishing combat as it is with the darker side of its religious inspirations. Hidden within its depths are fascinating characters, stories, and implications that create an immersive adventure.


Fans of the original may lament a few of the omissions, and at times there are elements that remained a little too obtuse, especially for those looking to 100%.