Just what is “The Miracle”? We’ve played two Blasphemous games now and we’re still not entirely sure. In any case, it doesn’t seem good. Not being good is not something you can say about this sequel, however, which takes everything we loved about the first game and expands on it. This is Blasphemous but bigger and better – and that’s is all you can ask for, really.
Blasphemous 2 reunites us with the Penitent One, who finds himself fighting once again but this time in a mysterious new world. Anyone that has played its predecessor will feel right at home from the outset, but the obscure nature of the story means you can probably jump right into this sequel without playing the original if you wish. It’s the gameplay that is by far the biggest draw here, as well as the game’s eerie atmosphere.
While Blasphemous had Metroidvania elements, here they feel fully embraced. Blasphemous 2’s world is larger, more varied, and more interconnected. By exploring your environment, you’ll find a wealth of abilities and objects that spark a Eureka! moment in your mind, prompting you to revisit areas you’ve already been through to pick up new treasures or more. Though there are also some discoveries you’ll make that might just leave you dumbfounded. That’s what makes a game like this great, though: it makes you think.
Alongside its more open, non-linear world, Blasphemous 2 has some other features that elevate it above its predecessor, too. You can now gather an arsenal of three weapons, for example. Do you want to use lighting-fast double swords, a fiery mace, or a singular large sword that you can empower with your blood? It’s up to you, and ultimately you’ll be able to instantly switch between them.
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Each weapon aids your exploration is some way as well. The mace, Veredicto, can be used to hit large bells, for example, which turns certain blobs of what appears to be liquified metal into platforms. And you now have more options when it comes to upgrading your weapons. Each basically has its own skill tree, allowing you to gain new abilities and perks by spending Marks of Martyrdom. These Marks of Martyrdom tie into another new feature as well: an Altarpiece on your back on which you can place figurines.
Your Altarpiece can be improved to be able to equip more figurines over time, and each figurine confers its own benefits. There’s some strategy to it as well – certain combinations of figurines can provide additional benefits such as powering up a specific weapon. It pays to not only seek out as many figurines as you can, then, but also improve your Altarpiece as much as possible, and experiment with figurine pairings.
This is all in addition to the upgrades that carry over from the first game. You can still find objects that allow you to raise your health, for example, and increase your number of Bile Flasks, allowing you to heal more often between visiting Prie-dieus. Rosary Knots are invaluable in that they allow you to equip more stat-boosting beads, too, and a whole host of Prayers can be obtained that expand your combat options and provide other benefits.
Blasphemous 2 is largely more of the same, then, but with a bigger world and more gameplay elements to consider that give it more depth. And to be honest, we’re happy with that; why try to reinvent the wheel? In terms of its theme, art and soundtrack, there’s nothing else quite like this out there, and we’re simply overjoyed by the fact we can indulge in them all over again. Some of the new enemies here are simply fantastic, too.
While it’s unlikely to win over anyone that tried the first and didn’t vibe with it, Blasphemous 2 is undoubtedly a treat for fans wanting to spend more time with the Penitent One. With more variety in terms of both visuals and gameplay, this is a confident sequel that builds on the foundations of its predecessor. And while its story may be confounding at times, we can’t help but be mesmerised by its dark and mysterious world.