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Blasphemous 2 Review: Glory In The Grotesque

  • Delightfully gruesome art
  • Expanded weapon roster
  • Great mix of combat and platforming challenges
  • Obtuse story
  • Somewhat lacking enemy variety

You're weaving your way through a screen filled with fire-spitting floating heads and chain swinging baddies decked out in purple robes. Taking a step back, you see an opening to say a prayer, then a bolt of lightning pierces through the enemies ahead of you. Switching over to Veredicto — your trusty brazier on a chain — you throw out a sweeping flame and clear the screen. Walking through a door at the end of the hallway, you're greeted by a feeble-looking boy laying in a bed lit by a single candle. You blow the candle out, and the boy disappears.


"Blasphemous 2" supplies a steady drip of bloody battles followed by incomprehensible-yet-irresistibly-intriguing encounters. Giants with heads encased in metal will whip flames at you, blocking your entrance to a tower where a statue of a baby weeps tears of gold. A talking hand that lives in a pile of junk will sell you statues that fit into a case on your back. You might not ever figure out what any of it means, but you still won't be able to put the game down.

Beneath the mesmerizing aesthetic of "Blasphemous 2" is the same solid Metroidvania-meets-Soulslike gameplay that powered the original game. There are more weapons and abilities, more characters to meet, and a whole new map to explore, but aside from the occasional bizarre character, "Blasphemous 2" doesn't hide all that many surprises. It's exactly the straightforward sequel that you think it is, but thanks to solid mechanics and wonderfully grotesque art direction, it's engaging from beginning to end.


Serving penance

"Blasphemous 2" picks up the religious horror threads from its predecessor. Players once again take control of a silent protagonist known as the Penitent One, who is tasked with killing all manner of creatures while journeying through a world that's steeped in Catholic imagery. While searching for massive bosses to kill, the Penitent One often runs into the strange, half-mad denizens of this seemingly cursed world. Some are people who sell upgrades and perform religious rites. Others are much stranger beings, though they all have their own tools to offer the Penitent One.


The story is admittedly difficult to follow. "Blasphemous 2" has a few similarities to games like "Dark Souls," but its biggest overlap is that you can easily make it through the entire game without having any idea who your character is or what you're actually trying to accomplish. Odd lines of dialogue and brief story beats give you just enough information to remain intrigued, but actually piecing everything together requires really paying attention to occasionally baffling speeches and digging through the descriptions of the various items you'll find. Anyone who puts in the work will definitely get something out of the story, but it's bound to slide right off a majority of players.

Don't look away

Luckily for players, the text of the story doesn't need to do all the heavy lifting. "Blasphemous 2" is simply stunning to look at, and the designs of the characters and environments are more than enough to pull you into the tale. You might not know exactly what's going on, but you'll feel it all the same.


The game's holy beings and defiled humans are all intricately crafted. Whether you're looking at the sweeping arches of a cathedral or the ruined homes of the townspeople, you'll be amazed by just how much the art has to tell you about the world. The animations are equally as exciting, which is great because you'll need to spend a good deal of time watching what your enemies do and learning their attacks. The fighting is gorgeous in its own grotesque way, and there are a healthy variety of attack animations to enjoy. There will be moments you'll wish the game could play itself, just so you could focus entirely on absorbing the art.

Fighting the bloody hordes

Eventually you'll get plenty of opportunities to fully soak in the beauty of every attack because you'll be dying nearly as much as you'll be killing. Like every good Metroidvania should be, "Blasphemous 2" is a challenge. The game throws an unrelenting amount of enemies at you, but it also gives you a handful of tools to deal with them. You can eventually unlock three different weapons, and each comes with its own special abilities, upgrade tree, and movement mechanic. Mastering all three weapons will let you zip around the battlefield and violently crush your foes into pulp.


The game lacks a bit of variety when it comes to general enemies that fill the map. After moving through the first section, you'll have seen about sixty or seventy percent of all the enemies you'll encounter. Later sections have reskins of several earlier enemies, and even though these new versions come with more aggressive attacks, they more-or-less function the same as their counterparts at the beginning of the game. You might find yourself trying to skip past entire hallways as you get to the later stages of the game, but that's partly because the bosses are so well designed you'll be rushing to get to them. Each one of the game's bosses has its own great design and its own creepy lair. Even the bosses that kill you over and over again will be an absolute joy to fight.


Traversing a fallen world

We mentioned that each of the game's main weapons come with a movement mechanic, and that's one of the biggest improvements that "Blasphemous 2" has made to the original game's formula. There is a steady supply of platforming challenges that require making full use of the Penitent One's arsenal. Veredictor lets you ring bells to create platforms in the air. Sarmiento & Centella allows you to zap yourself through mirrors, and the big sword, Ruege al Alba, can smash through barriers.


It's always exciting to unlock new weapons as the game progresses while the extended movement mechanics mean that each new weapon opens up a new chunk of rooms to explore. By the time you have all three weapons, the game will be asking you to string their abilities together. Combining the abilities to fly through platforming sections while still dodging incoming enemies attacks is deeply satisfying. Outside of the epic boss battles, these platforming challenges are surprisingly the most fun moments to be had in the game.

Good and gruesome

If it weren't for the utterly unique art direction in "Blasphemous 2," the game could easily be considered a bit paint-by-numbers. The game follows the Metroidvania formula to a T, with plenty of unlockables to search out and more than enough backtracking put on the player's to-do list. On the other hand, a formulaic Metroidvania isn't a terrible thing to be, and "Blasphemous 2" overdelivers on its atmosphere, bosses, and weapons.


If you were a fan of the original "Blasphemous," then getting the sequel is a must. If you haven't checked out the series before, this makes for an excellent place to start. "Blasphemous 2" ups the ante on the original in a number of ways. Between all the new weapons to play with and nightmare-inducing moments to discover, the game can easily entertain you for a dozen hours or more. That's a solid enough foundation for a recommendation, but anyone who goes the extra mile and really invests in the secrets and unearthly stories hidden deep in "Blasphemous 2" will find their investment paying dividends. Any way you slice it, "Blasphemous 2" is a bloody good time.