Blasphemous was one of the prettiest and most atmospheric Metroidvania's we've seen in recent years. With its major strengths being its visuals and lore, it managed to immerse us in a torturous, journey of redemption, in a world that riffed on symbolism and imagery from Christianity, eschewing direct references to it. Four years later, humbly, without any particular promotion from its makers, comes the sequel. What does it have in store for us this time?

Blasphemous 2 picks up the story after the events of the Wounds of Eventide DLC. In a perpetual cycle of martyrdom and punishment for the absolution of humanity's sins, the Divinity known as Miracle prepares to bring to life the last of its children in a series of unsuccessful attempts at creating the perfect being. The Penitent One, whom we take control of once more, awakens from his resting place in order to end this mockery of "in the image and likeness" that holds the faithful shackled to a reverential consciousness shaped by theocracy concepts and obscurantism. Blasphemous 2 impressively continues in the pattern of its predecessor, in terms of writing. It's pithy, almost poetic and as vague as it needs to be to give you a view through the keyhole of shut doors, behind which hubrises are commited and rituals of atonement are performed. The influences from the Souls titles are also present here, from the cryptic dialogue of the npcs, to the descriptions on the items.

Rise Warrior!

In terms of the basic gameplay elements (Beads, Prayers, death penalties, etc.) that have remained the same, I urge you to check the review of the first game. Blasphemous 2 takes some significant steps beyond that. The Mea Culpa sword has been replaced by 3 weapons: the convex sword Ruego Al Alba, the knife and rapier pairing Sarmiento & Centella, and the flail (whose head looks like... a censer) Veredicto. The first is the most balanced of the three and favours parry, the second is the fastest and relies on dodge and quick reactions, while the third is the heaviest of the three, with a wide range and gets more powerful by consuming Fervour. Each of these has its own distinct skill tree, with both passive attributes and an extended movement set, which are purchased with Martyrdom Points. These are either accumulated through an atypical experience points system from the opponents we defeat in battle, or stashed away in chests scattered around the game world.

Veredicto at work.

Tears of Atonement only serve as credits in Blasphemous 2, for the purchase of various items. Among these are the various wooden sculptures we place in the Altarpiece of Favours we carry. They give some very useful properties, and if we place adjacently those belonging to the same groups, we get some very hefty bonuses. The level design has been changed for the better. Aside from the larger map to explore, the areas are interconnected masterfully. These areas have their own identity, both visually and in the underlying lore. The shortcuts that offer alternate paths, as well as the secrets which are a delight to discover, contribute to an unforgettable Metroidvania experience.

In the sequel, the world is open from the start, with little handholding, and we can easily ignore the main objectives and head wherever we want, as far as our abilities will allow. This world created by the Spanish artisans gives you the incentive to keep going to see a little more, to leave no stone unturned. Blasphemous 2 aptly represents the genre, with all the trappings it should have! The control is delightful. The Penitent One is more versatile this time around (I don't want to spoil specific abilities we are going to possess) but the combat still has the necessary weighty feedback. The game has a respectable variety of enemies, with very few instances of reskined models, and the bosses are exemplary, again, both as imposing spectacle, as well as set pieces.

The bosses are some of the greatest moments of Blasphemous 2.

The complaints I had voiced in the presentation of the first game, focused on backtracking and the lackluster map. More specifically, returning to formerly inaccessible points (though optional most of them) could become a chore after a few hours. As for the the map, it had a completely basic legend, without any option to place pins on the interesting points we had found. I'm happy to report that the folks at The Game Kitchen gave serious consideration to the players' input and rectified them. The teleporters are more and better allocated, and later on, depending on how meticulous we were, we can also unlock the ability to move between Prie Dieus, which greatly improves the pace. There are markers with different icons now, so we can pin something we can't currently interact with without fear of forgetting it later. There were also some complaints from the community, about some pixel-perfect jumps towards the last 1/3 of the title, where a possible mistake would lead to instant deaths, something we won't see in Blaspehmous 2.

Platforming requires quick reflexes in many cases, especially when it comes to switching between weapons, but nothing too demanding.

The visual aspect of the title is as captivating as ever. In fact, if memory serves, in this case, it seems the game has even more detail. The anticipation of how much the designers' imagination runs wild from one character or boss we meet, to the next, is unbearable. The soundtrack is once again sublime, with the spanish guitar tunes lifting our spirits amidst the melancholy piano notes and the evocative organ. In the original game, voices for the characters were added in Spanish after I had imprinted my experience in digital ink. To be directly comparable, my playthrough for Blasphemous 2 was done with voice acting in English, and unsurprisingly, it's again an excellent job done, standing toe-to-toe with larger productions.

The art direction is ageless and contributes greatly to our ascent to Calvary with the Penitent One.

Blasphemous 2 is, without prevarication, among the finest samples of the genre since Hollow Knight. The creators put all their heart and soul into it and worked hard to make sure we get an improved sequel in all departments. This was achieved by firmly building on the foundations of the first title and correcting its flaws, without experimentation that deviates from the basic formula, offering more quality content. Metroidvania fans, your attention please: we have found our next haven!

Go to discussion...

RATING - 92%


Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Bigger, better, avoiding the mistakes of its predecessor, Blasphemous 2 is one of the most faithul to its tenets, sequels we've seen in recent years.

Παναγιώτης Μητράκης

As a kid of the 80's, he began his journey into gaming with coin-ops and the classic Game Boy. He found some respite with his beloved SNES and got into PC gaming in 1998, with landmark games like Half-Life and Baldur's Gate. He doesn't steer clear of (almost) any genre but has a predilection for RPGs and survival horror and tries to introduce others to Silent Hill, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and the creations of Looking Glass and Obsidian.

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