In the name of the Father
In 2019, Blasphemous The first of the name had left its mark on its release with its atmosphere of 2D decorations and stylized pixel-art which was reminiscent of the works of Hieronymus Bosch mainly, but also of Caravaggio and Johann Heinrich Füssli. (with a hint of Francisco Goya, more pronounced for this new opus), all in a universe inspired by an Andalusia imbued with a dystopian and extremely violent religious faith. The whole thing gave a dark fantasy aspect to the most beautiful effect, mixed with the game mechanics of a Metroidvania and the studio The Game Kitchen was therefore eagerly awaited for this sequel.
The Penitent is back, ready to do battle again with the Miracle (a powerful entity to whom most of the inhabitants worship), who has not kept good memories of your intervention in the first part. Your goal is to prevent the birth of her child by traveling the world of Cvstodia while defeating its Guardians.
Basically, the writers didn’t stretch themselves too much in terms of originality, and this repetition of the story will unfortunately do the game a disservice, even if the artistic direction remains as magnificent as ever, although less inspired than that of the first part.
Of the Son
As soon as the start of Blasphemous 2, we find this graphic style with its still astonishing decorations and a fluidity of animation which has improved further. It is also on this technical aspect that there has been the most progress. However, we also note that, unlike the sticky universe of the first, the fact of now having more budget has created within the animations, and especially the cutscenes, a more comic book side, with brighter colors and a more pop atmosphere.
We also note a rather welcome rebalancing effect in terms of Gameplay. The weapon of the character you play, for example, is no longer unique. There are three available (a pair of daggers, a saber and a large flail) and each has its own abilities. We start by choosing one of them, then we start looking for the others throughout the first part of the game, without forgetting in the process to face the first three bosses. Each of these weapons develop additional abilities which will allow you to unlock new areas via rather inventive mechanics.
Add to this a lot of improvement bonuses spread all over the world which will boost your character and help him obtain other more classic abilities (climbing walls, double jump, aerial dash, etc.)
It is moreover in this first part, in a world more or less open to Simon Quest and the very mystical atmosphere, which we find the best moments. Not that the second part is bad, but it is much more linear and, in a way, has fewer surprises – including side quests similar to the first Blasphemous (The rosary, liberation of the angels….), which is quite a shame.
And the Holy Spirit
All the more unfortunate that, as you progress through the game, the difficulty increases, so much so that only fans ofElder Ring and others Bloodborne will not give up. Worse, it’s not your enemies, including the bosses, but these abominable platform passages that will put your nerves to the test, especially since you will have to go back and forth a lot if you want to finish the game in full.
The bestiary encountered turns out to be quite close to the previous part, but remains varied and the bosses with their always very particular design remain a pleasure to discover (even if those of Blasphemous 2 have on average less charisma than those of the original and less unhealthy designs).
The sound design is captivating and the animations have undergone such a refresh that the game may be punishing, it remains accessible to the most perseverant, who will be rewarded by a brilliant final third of the game – particularly its last level.
Finally, Blasphemous 2 turns out to be an effective platform game, which does honor to the Metroidvania genre, but which struggles to match the success of its predecessor. Although he improves the mechanics, he loses in return on the sick and deliciously perverse universe of his ancestor and thus becomes more consensual (even if many passages remain unhealthy), to the point of waiting for the second part of the story to painfully connect the wagons with that of the first opus when, in reality, the scenarios are almost identical (and perhaps a little too cryptic as well).
However, it would be a shame to ignore the pleasure and if you are a fan of a tough challenge, then you will without hesitation dive back into the fascinating world of the Penitent and the Miracle.