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You’ve come to the right place if you want a fresh Blasphemous II review – I will start by discussing past glories to contextualize my present experience. I played and platinumed the first Blasphemous. I loved the game and its gameplay and was positively impressed by its art and theme. However, I had to scour internet forums to understand its lore and story. That’s why I can confidently state that Blasphemous II is better than its predecessor in nearly every aspect.
Blasphemous II is a Metroidvania. For those unfamiliar with this genre, it’s a game that features an interconnected world, but many sections are blocked off until the player acquires a new ability, allowing them to open new doors or access higher platforms. However, Metroidvanias are known for having a relatively large amount of backtracking, letting players to their own devices while pondering whether to continue with the main quest or hunt for hidden items or upgrades.
Blasphemous II was made this way. Like the first game, it won’t hold your hand or give hints on how to progress – at least this time, it shows the next destination for your main quest on the map. But if you’re a treasure hunter and want to gather all the collectibles the game offers, get ready to take lots of notes, place markers on the mini-map, and backtrack like crazy because the subjectivity and enigmas of the sidequests can be pretty perplexing.
Nonetheless, you will do this while having fun evolving your weapons skillset, facing unsightly enemies, and clashing against bosses that offer a satisfying mix of challenge and strategy. Here’s RPG Informer’s review of Blasphemous II, played on PS5.
An Amazing Lore but an Intricate Narrative
Blasphemous II is a direct sequel to the first game that had its canonical ending defined by the Wounds of Eventide DLC. Sneaky, I know. However, playing the predecessor is unnecessary to understand Blasphemous II’s plot. To be honest, understanding the game’s plot is an ordeal in itself. I might be navigating through murky waters here, but either I’m dumb, or Blasphemous II’s narrative structure is so confusing and filled with symbolism that it makes it hard to follow coherently.
Blasphemous II carries a religious theme. NPCs, locations, items, abilities, weapons, spells, and other terms adhere to this premise. You don’t need to be devotional to grasp it, but familiarity with certain terms could help you immerse yourself more in its concept.
The game’s lore somewhat follows the format seen in Souls games or Elden Ring. Each item has a rich description full of context, complemented by some worldbuilding. NPCs’ dialogues are cryptic, leaving their true intentions implied. Even the main quest intent is vague, leaving me questioning my purpose on this journey.
The descriptions and texts are so well-crafted and filled with religious jargon that they give me the sense of witnessing something grand, even if I struggle to keep up. It’s like watching a cult film. When I finished the first game, I skimmed various forums with “ending explained” topics to understand the Blasphemous plot. Despite enjoying what I read, I was even more stunned that I had hardly grasped any of what the fans were discussing.
I couldn’t consult external sources this time because I received the game a month in advance. Right from the start, I knew who my enemy was and confirmed it by the end of my journey. However, the reason why we’re in conflict eluded me, so I brushed it off. I decided to focus on gameplay and exploration rather than the storyline.
At least, that was my intention until I discovered the game has two endings. Ending B is the straightforward ending you’ll receive if you simply follow the markers. Ending A is the secret “good” ending that requires performing a bunch of puzzling and overly abstract actions, which is not to my liking.
I still achieved it, but I attribute my discovery more to serendipity than intelligence. No one would blame you if you looked up a guide on how to trigger Ending A. But fortunately, this ending is indeed superior to Ending B.
The Penitent One, the Weapons Three
As soon as you start the game, you can choose one of three weapons, a novelty from the first game. A hammer-like flail, a dual rapier and dagger, or a traditional sword. Each weapon has advantages, disadvantages, and an element. The heavy hammer is called Veredicto, dealing strong but slow hits. Its abilities deal with fire damage.
Initially, I started with this hammer flail. It’s slow and powerful, but its range is tremendous, hitting enemies before they even realized I was there. Against faster enemies, however, it was trickier. Luckily I could switch weapons with the press of a button and defeated these pesky creatures with a well-timed parry.
The dual weapon Rapier and Dagger is named Sarmiento & Centella. They strike fast but with less impact. However, their power gradually increases and becomes lightning-aspected if you’re agile and avoid taking damage. They start with a nasty dash strike skill that makes quick work of the enemy and the ability to parry and counter-attack enemies for massive damage.
However, it takes too long to accumulate charges and unleash its true power while being too easy to lose it all due to unfortunate damage. Also, you must charge the lightning bar to use most of these weapons skills. As soon as you use an ability, not only is the damage underwhelming, you lose all the charges.
And then we have the sword, Ruego Al Alba, which is more balanced among the weapons. It accumulates a unique gauge that allows you to activate the Blood Pact, consuming HP but dealing extra Mystical damage with each strike and stealing enemy HP when upgraded. Like the rapier-dagger-duo, Ruego Al Alba gets beefier by utilizing its gauge.
Sword strikes can get increasingly powerful with the right build and keep your HP topped if you’re a maestro of dodging. But even so, its damage pales in comparison with the hammer flail.
These two weapons are not bad per se. The thing is, Veredicto is so much better than them that I didn’t have much of a reason to use them other than to acquire two trophies or fool around in some empirical research. Still, each weapon presents a distinct gameplay that expands Blasphemous II’s combat. They also have a skill tree that increases the weapons’ moveset and provides additional bonuses, such as more stun strength or overall damage.
And it’s so easy to swap between weapons that whenever I got bored of rocking my hammer around, I switched to another to refresh my gameplay. Also, some enemies and bosses have elemental weaknesses, and wielding the weapon with the matching element was an efficient way to combat them. But yeah, with the right build, the punch packed by the Veredicto overpowers almost anything.
A Divine Punishment by Combat
The combat in Blasphemous II is the game’s highlight. The zealous nature of facing, battling, and smashing enemies is exhilarating, especially when we execute them in a bloody spectacle.
Each enemy is relatively straightforward, offering a repetitive attack pattern. Some might have two or three variations. And each of their hit hurts a lot. But once you learn their moveset, countering becomes manageable. The game requires caution and punishes haste.
Bosses are incredibly enjoyable and the pinnacle of the challenge. Initially, as I had limited HP and potions – called Bile Flasks – I needed to pay attention to every attack and be extremely cautious. Granted, once I learned the pattern, boss battles turned into a showcase of my dexterity between jumping and dodging at the right moment, but it was still amusing.
To aid in combat, the Penitent One, our protagonist, can cast Prayers, the game’s magic. There are two types: Quick Verses and Chants. Quick Verses are faster and have lower Fervor costs, while Chants are stronger and costlier.
Like weapons, each magic has an element, and it’s up to the player to wield them at the right time. When used correctly, Prayers become as deadly as, if not more than, the weapons themselves. Once I unlocked a Chant that summoned a ghostly warrior to attack my enemies, I barely needed to attack them myself, as my spectral ally could handle them alone.
Quick Verses were instrumental in defeating enemies from a safe distance whenever I was in a terminal state. As a bonus, some Prayers are really useful to capture some collectibles, like the Children of Moonlight, so that’s something to pay attention to.
Killing enemies yields two resources: Tears of Atonement, the basic currency used in shops, and Mark of Martyrdom. In a typical playthrough, you may miss Tears of Atonement to buy everything the game throws at you and may have to farm a bit.
Since I’ve backtracked like hell in search of items and killed every misfortune enemy between me and my Veredicto, I got enough Tears to buy all the items in the game way before the end. Still, most items are pretty disposable, making Tears of Atonement a not-so-sought resource.
But don’t let the Tears’ lack of usefulness discourage you from committing violence against your enemies. Unlike the first game, our protagonist has an experience bar that, when stashed, rewards us with a Mark of Martyrdom. This resource unlocks new weapon abilities or enhances other gameplay features. Extremely crucial if you want to sweeten your battle prowess. Besides fighting enemies or bosses, you can find Mark of Martyrdom by exploring.
I suspect that the amount of this resource was a bit off in the version I played since I still had a surplus of points left over after acquiring all the skills and enabling all the features. No complaints here. The thing is: remember how I said the Veredicto was far superior to the other weapons? Even if I hadn’t farmed the Marks, I would simply allocate all the points to the Veredicto skill tree and beat the game without bothering with the other weapons.
The Rosary Beads return from the first game, a type of accessory primarily providing increased defense for the Penitent One. Since I could change the accessory midbattle, it was easy to equip ones to counter a boss elemental attack, for instance.
But the game’s major innovation that dramatically expands the gameplay is the Figures. These sculptures can be equipped and provide numerous bonuses, like increased fire damage, higher critical chance, improved prayer damage, and more. The crowning moment of the Figures is their Resonance. You can equip up to eight Figures in total. Among these, four form pairs. A bonus effect is unlocked if these paired Figures create a Resonance.
For example, combining the Figure that boosts Veredicto’s damage with one that enhances miasma damage transforms all fire damage from the weapon into miasma damage, changing Veredicto’s ember to toxic incense.
My favorite mechanic by far in Blasphemous II. I tested it repeatedly with all the weapons, and yes, even then, the Veredicto kept running over my enemies like a bull. But there were so many variables that it encouraged me to hunt and buy the Figures, also motivating the farming of the Tears of Atonement.
I just wish the game would track whenever I discovered a new Resonance in some database because equipping and unequipping Figures in search of synergy is nice the first time but gets quite tiresome by the 23rd.
You Can’t Spell Metroidvania without Exploration
To unlock all these gameplay features, you’ll need to explore and explore a lot. Blasphemous II features a vast interconnected world that expands as you gain new abilities.
At first, the game presents you with three destinations, and it’s up to you to choose which one to tackle first. It’s worth noting that your initial weapon choice will also influence early exploration, as each weapon allows you to interact with certain artifacts in the stage to open up new paths.
But that feels more like a placebo effect than an actual choice because as soon as you reach one location where the platforming requires a specific weapon, you can be sure the game will hand the respective weapon over to you in a few moments.
Unlike the first game, Blasphemous II’s level design is more user-friendly and creative. There are no more breakable platforms during frustrating gusts of wind. The stages have intricate puzzles that add to the level design, though they are generally easy to solve. That is unless they are trying to kill you off gratuitously.
I died more to cunningly placed traps or trap-like enemies than in actual combat, which was totally my fault. Yet, some enemy placements are too awkward and can hinder platforming sequences in an unfair design, frustrating your jumping efforts, no matter how seamless they are.
Upon death, Penitent One accumulates guilty, a recurring mechanic from the first game. Only now, in addition to blocking your Fervor bar and decreasing Tears of Atonement gain, Guilty increases your damage taken but increases Mark of Martyrdom growth. Sounds like an interesting mechanic, but it’s not. As I said before, I got so many Marks of Martyrdom that I saw no reason for this high-risk, high-reward system.
In an interview, the developer A Game’s Kitchen mentioned they wanted to add more Metroidvania elements to Blasphemous II, and I dare say they succeeded. You unlock up to four movement abilities that further expand exploration, both for advancing in the game and hunting for new treasures.
And like many Metroidvanias, if you invest a lot of time exploring, upgrading skills, maxing your gauges, and acquiring the most potent Prayers, the game might become a walk in the park, as it happened to me.
The Art Direction, Goodness Gracious
It’s impossible to discuss Blasphemous II without mentioning its art direction. God, it’s so good. It’s impactful and shocking but in a good way. I’m not religious, so I didn’t feel offended by its depiction – and I don’t know if any devout person would. But I believe that the entire game’s design and art are there to show the consequences of blind faith and extreme devotion.
The NPCs, monsters, and bosses are spectacularly designed. They’re bizarre but oddly pleasing. They fit the game’s universe and are believable. I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts after they meet Cesáreo.
The art direction also aligns with the game’s lore. Since we play as the Penitent One and are about to face the Miracle – which, as far as I understand, is the world’s supreme divine being – it’s as if all our actions are being judged by those who believe in this entity.
The stages and backgrounds are majestic and blend well with the soundtrack, shadowy and melancholic. It’s a visual delight, but I can picture my religious aunt being terrified watching me play Blasphemous II and begging me to go back to Diablo IV.
Blasphemous II is a punishing action game with platforming and Metroidvania exploration. If you’re looking for more games like this, consider checking out my recommendations:
- Hollow Knight
- Metroid Dread
- Salt and Sanctuary
- Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
- Record of Lodoss War-Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth
Blasphemous II presents a brutal setting, exceptional art direction, and an unusual religious theme in games, which is a sacred breath of fresh air to the table. The combat is engaging and challenging, but each new gameplay feature added from its predecessor helps make each encounter more manageable. The Metroidvania exploration enriches and provides a sense of accomplishment with each discovery, motivating you to scour every corner of this flawed, shattered world.
The lore, though rich and detailed as it is, doesn’t justify the unclear and imprecise storyline. It’s easier to engage with the subplot of the sculptor and his fantasies than to understand why The Penitent One was reawakened, bears tree powers, and is heading to face a godly offspring. I know there’s a captivating story behind all this enigmatic disorder, but if I fail to grasp it for any reason, its intent is lost.
- Improved the strengths and tweaked the weaknesses of its predecessor
- The art direction is vivid, gritty, and jarring
- Gameplay gets better over time
- Exploration is rewarding and meaningful
- Switching weapons and creating builds is strategically satisfying
- It’s hard to keep up with and understand the plot
- Excessive backtracking can slog the game
Murillo played for about 22 hours, achieved Ending B and Ending A, acquired all Figures, Children of Moonlight, health, fervor bar, and Bile Flasks upgrades, enhanced weapons to the maximum, and explored 99% of the map – still hunting for that sneaky last percent. In his save data, the game indicates a completion rate of 99% of all content.
Question: What is Blasphemous 2 about?
Answer: Blasphemous 2 picks up right after the canonical ending of the first game’s Wounds of Eventide DLC. The Miracle has a new child on the way, and it’s up to us to give that divine baby a beating.
Question: Is Blasphemous 2 a hard game?
Answer: Somewhat. Initially, it isn’t easy. Then, as you grasp the game’s mechanics, it becomes more manageable. I defeated half the bosses on my first attempt but struggled against the final one. Also, I died more to traps and platforming than to monsters.
Question: Do I need to play Blasphemous 1 before Blasphemous 2?
Answer: Not really, no. I’m a sucker for playing game series in sequence because I love seeing all the technical improvements and understanding the references. Unless you’re like me, playing the first Blasphemous before delving into the second one is unnecessary. If you play the first and then Blasphemous 2, you might catch some Easter eggs, like the names of specific figures, but that’s it.