Blasphemous II Review (PC) A Metroidvania Game that will Test your Skills
We live in a world where we get so many different varieties of video games, one genre that has been on the rise in popularity in the past years is Metroridvania. And we are close to the release date of one of the most popular Metroidvanias that many fans enjoy playing, and that is Blasphemous II which is published by Team 17 and developed by The Game Kitchen. The first Blasphemous was released back in 2019 and even now it is still one of the most positive and popular Metroidvania games.
If you wanted a Metroidvania that, did it right for once, then Blasphemous II is it. After exploring the new areas of this game, I believe that this updated version has all the elements that a Metroidvania lover would seek. From exploration to platforming, upgraded weapons and attacks as well as puzzle incorporation, finally a game has created a perfection of a pixelated souls-like.
Blasphemous II begins its journey sometime after the final DLC of the first game. I assumed that we were going to get a completely new character in this game. However, the Penitent One returns in the second game awakening in a strange land and on a mission to uncover the mysteries of something known as “The Miracle”, who is about to give birth and thus, you are awakened to stop it.
The lore of the game is challenging to understand, it is comparable to that of games such as Hollow Knight where to understand the game in-depth, you would need to play through the game to uncover its mysteries. Nevertheless, as usual, Blasphemous does not disappoint in the amount of dark fantasy and eerie discoveries. It is more grotesque and horrific, with even more blood and gore than the last game.
The Battle System and Abilities
You begin the game by being offered three weapons. It doesn’t matter which weapon you choose, only that this reflects on the path you will take at the beginning of the game. You will eventually uncover the other two weapons that will help you further advance. Each weapon has its own abilities, whether it is using the bells scattered around the map to unlock platforms, activate mirrors, or breakthrough floors. These weapons vary in strength as well as weight so if you’re looking for a smoother combat from the start, my suggestion is to go with the Ruego Al Alba, which looks like a one single-handed blade but isn’t as slow and still packs a powerful punch.
You also can upgrade your weapons, just like when you’d find the Mea Culpa Shrines in Blasphemous, the only difference is you no longer have to visit these altars and can upgrade your weapon abilities right from your menu screen. However, instead of spending tears of atonement, you are spending Marks of Martyrdom, which you receive after killing a certain number of enemies.
There are many other ways to strengthen your abilities. For example, we see the rosary beads return in this segment which works very similarly to the previous game. As well as the prayers from before that provide additional abilities such as thunder attacks, fire attacks, teleporting, etc. There are also shorter abilities that work like prayers but are known as chants (which I have yet to utilize so not sure how strong these abilities are). And finally, in this successor, a new feature has been created where you provide tools to a Master Sculptor who will give you statues for upgrades known as the Altarpiece of Favours. When placed next to each other, these figures will react in mysterious ways in the altarpiece.
The game is challenging, and while its combat and enemies are not very merciful, overcoming the challenges through puzzles and platforming becomes very rewarding. No longer are you just platforming and attacking, here you must utilize your brainpower to overcome very difficult challenges. From exploring to difficult platforming and racing against time through unlocked doors before they shut close, this is going to make any lover of this genre feel like they finally are playing a game that is worth their time.
Based on Spanish folklore and religious influence, Blasphemous II incorporates a dark and mysterious environment. Drawing inspiration from music, literature, poetry, and painting sculptures, The Game Kitchen created this intricate world that explores the religious fate and the Spanish culture and made a world worth exploring. You will find certain named areas of the game to be direct areas of Blasphemous, with similar environments and enemies, which I thought was great. Roman Catholic architecture is shown throughout the world of Cvustodia with paved streets and rubble and debris to show the aging of this beautiful city. The cut scenes in its successor have major improvements with beautifully colored pixelated art and grotesque terrifying scenes that felt eerie, fulfilling its expectation of a true dark fantasy.
The music has improved, and I loved standing in the different locations of the game to just listen to the strumming of the Spanish guitar. Composer Carlos Viola, during a Q&A even mentions that he had used a wider range of instruments for the score, which you get a feel for in the game. I even noticed some similarities to Blasphemous OST but with more breadth and depth this time around.
Steam Deck Playable?
There has been no confirmation yet from The Game Kitchen if Blasphemous II is verified for steam deck compatibility. We know that Blasphemous is currently verified so there is a chance that maybe post the release date will be verified by then. However we still gave the game a test on the Steam Deck and we have to say, it ran smoothly without any issues at all. The game was steady at kept between 50-60 FPS, the load time between areas was great, there weren’t many delays at all, and during combat, we didn’t see any delays or glitches. From what we experience so far, we enjoy playing this game both on the PC and on the Steam deck.
Comparison to Blasphemous I
Many complained of the rigid controls and heavy battle system in Blasphemous, comparing it to fast, action-packed controls to games like Hollow Knight or Ori. As a result, many people who never picked up a Metroidvania and started with Blasphemous might have dropped the game only 30 minutes into gameplay. This is because, with its unforgiving, souls-like battle system and its heavy controls, Blasphemous was not for the beginner Metroidvania player. However, Blasphemous II makes everything right from the very beginning. From being able to start with the weapon of your choice, to the smooth controls and easy attacks, Blasphemous II supports even the beginning Metroidvania player.
Blasphemous II is a smarter, faster, and more innovative Metroidvania. Don’t get me wrong, the boss fights are more challenging, with even more demanding trials and you will need to utilize your abilities and weaponry to get through each battle. However, this game shows us that if developers of a game work hard from start to finish, perfection can be achieved. I am impressed by how beautiful Blasphemous II is and I know many will feel the same way once they pick up this game.
Would like to say Thank you to Team 17 for providing a review code for this game.