Blasphemous II – Review
Follow Genre: Metroidvania
Developer: The Game Kitchen
Publisher: Team17
Platform: PC, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Switch
Tested on: PC

Blasphemous II – Review

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Good: Satisfying boss battles
Bad: Story is difficult to follow
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Although Blasphemous II was actually released in late August, the game quickly disappeared into our backlog, as 2023’s release schedule is as densely packed as the average Moving Out 2 level. However, with the spooky season in full swing, our hands were itching to get to grips with a truly disturbing game, and given how amazing the first Blasphemous was, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to see what developer The Game Kitchen had cooked up with the sequel. So armed with our trusty sword, we descended into the depths of our Steam account to see whether Blasphemous II is the definitive title you should play this Halloween.


The story that Blasphemous II presents is probably the game’s weakest element overall, mostly because of how difficult it is to follow. Central to the plot is of course the Penitent One, the protagonist of the previous game. As the last surviving member of a religious order that has been dealing with a phenomenon called The Miracle, a godlike force that births abominations into the world, the Penitent One is resurrected once again to deal with the evil monstrosities. From what we could gather from the story, The Miracle is about to deliver a so-called Miracle Child, and the Penitent One must do everything in his power to prevent this from happening. The issue here is that the story is delivered in the most convoluted and confusing way possible, often through dialogue with insane NPCs and written in Ye Olde English. Fortunately, the plot doesn’t stand in the way of both the gameplay and the audiovisual presentation. It’s a bit of a shame because we do see the threads of a compelling story here, but the way it is relayed to the player doesn’t quite work.


While the first Blasphemous already impressed us with its gorgeously detailed pixel art, Blasphemous II definitely kicks things up a notch here. The monster designs in particular are genuinely unsettling, with the bosses a particular “highlight” looking like they were ripped out of a nightmarish fever dream of Hieronymus Bosch. Even within the limitations of pixel art, Blasphemous II manages to outright disturb, from kill animations where monsters are ripped apart by birds to a bearded man breastfeeding wax to an infant or an NPC that bleeds honey from gaping wounds, attracting bees. The Game Kitchen doesn’t compromise and constantly flirts with the limit of how far they can push things. Within the context of what the game sets out to do, this can only be considered a good thing, of course, but if you’re not a fan of body horror, this might not be a game that is up your alley.


The disturbing gruesomeness of the visuals is further emphasized by sickening squelching sounds and the screams, howls, and cries of the various creatures. Blasphemous II also boasts an impressive voice cast, but the star of the show is without a doubt Carlos Viola’s original soundtrack. The tracks fit the horror atmosphere perfectly, and alternate between haunting, sadness-filled melodies during story scenes and exhilarating music accompanying the boss battles.


The original Blasphemous offered a very solid take on the Metroidvania genre, and with the sequel, The Game Kitchen stuck to the old adage of ‘if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it’. As such, Blasphemous II brings the same 2D Metroidvania action to the table, bolstered by an arsenal of new weapons to experiment with. The main difference between the sequel and its predecessor is that there is slightly more focus on platforming and light puzzling here. The puzzles in particular give players some much-needed breathing room, and break up the overall monotony of continuously chopping up monsters, for as much as that could be considered monotonous, of course. This shift in focus doesn’t diminish the overall feeling of fast-paced action. From the get-go, the game thrusts you into corridors filled with the worst of what the demonic underworld has to offer, and forces you to hack and slash your way to survival.

Fortunately, the game hands you the necessary tools to deal with the horrific monsters that plague you. Where the original Blasphemous armed you with a sword known as the Mea Culpa, this has disappeared in the sequel, and you’re left with three different weapon setups instead: the balanced single-handed blade Ruego Al Alba, the slow but heavy two-handed spiked ball Veredicto or the dual wielding combination of daggers Sarmiento and Centella. Alongside these different weapons, you have magic spells at your disposal, and everything can be upgraded, eventually turning your character into a Holy Warrior capable of dealing with the worst of what Blasphemous II has to offer. There is a great flow to the sense of progress, and the pace with which new and improved gear and abilities are rewarded remains satisfying throughout the game’s runtime.

Of course, Blasphemous II is more than just a glorified power trip, and everything you unlock has its use. The game can be brutally difficult at times, with bosses, in particular, relying on trial and error as you figure out their movesets and attack patterns. Minions pose less of a threat, and we would have liked some more enemy variety, with the real difficulty in between boss fights actually coming from the environment. Making your way around Blasphemous II’s platforming sections is deceivingly difficult, and we suffered more deaths from falling than at the hands, claws, or tentacles of our enemies. Given that there are plenty of secrets and rewards scattered throughout, often in hard-to-reach places, you are encouraged to backtrack and explore, like in any good Metroidvania title. This means that mastering the platforming challenges Blasphemous II poses is essential to success, especially if you’re a completionist. We’re not quite sure just how long Blasphemous II actually is, mostly because of the many attempts it took us to defeat certain bosses padding our run time. We can assure you, however, that if you do decide to go on this harrowing journey, you’ll be getting plenty of bang for your buck, and we imagine that anyone looking to discover every secret the game has to offer has dozens of hours to look forward to.


While Blasphemous II isn’t a massive step up compared to the first game, there wasn’t much room for improvement here in the first place. The gameplay feels more varied, thanks to an expanded weapon arsenal and a shift in focus where exploration and platforming are more prevalent. The audiovisual presentation is as gruesome as ever, in a good way, but the convoluted story doesn’t quite succeed in tying everything together. That said, Blasphemous II’s gameplay remains as fun and challenging as ever, with boss battles being a highlight in particular. Although the game doesn’t revolutionize the Metroidvania genre, what’s present here definitely deserves a place in the library of any self-respecting fan of horror games.

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