Imagine Mona Lisa. Hands crossed, dark hair draping over her neck, a small smile, and an almost thousand-yard stare. The portrait is timeless.
Now, imagine Mona Lisa with dirty bandages over her eyes, a honey-golden ooze seeping out of the tight wraps. It drips onto her hands and eats through the skin, revealing a tiny egg between her bones. Something is kicking around in there. You can find out by bringing Mona more bandages to squeeze out her eyes.
Blasphemous II has many Mona Lisas that tug at your curiosity more than frighten you. Characters are again at the mercy of The Miracle, afflicted and transformed to serve its twisted purpose, yet gleaming with muted beauty.
Environments echo the aesthetic of these idyllic nightmares: an ivory citadel plagued by fiends and wax-like syrup pouring to the tip of an upside-down temple, birthing monsters in its halls.
The avant-garde spectacles in Blasphemous II are staggering treats to discover. You’ll find no shortage of surprises along the way — powers and weapons expanding how you tackle maps, hidden collectibles unearthing new secrets.
The sequel wears the accomplishments of its predecessor on its sleeve but isn’t afraid to be more. And through its attempts, Blasphemous II delivers a Metroidvania experience you don’t want to miss playing.
Blasphemous II is an incredible sequel that expands on what came before, offering fun combat with customization, fantastic powers, and enough secrets to keep you busy.
Developer: The Game Kitchen
Platforms: PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: August 24, 2023
Picking up after the Wounds of Eventide DLC, developer The Game Kitchen slings players back into the abomination-slaying boots of the Penitent One in Blasphemous II. The Miracle has returned and is preparing to birth a new child, so it's up to you to slay it and end the cycle.
In the footsteps of its prequel, Blasphemous II doles out its narrative through characters and items, painting a new treacherous world chock-full of mystery. Winding yet interconnected woods were once safe to travel, and forgotten structures are now the seats for bosses guarding The Miracle from harm.
This new installment thrives more in its atmosphere and gameplay than its storytelling; however, a dense history is waiting for you to unravel if you decide to study all it offers.
Power progression and customization are the primary appeals of Blasphemous II. Players who enjoyed the first game will immediately feel at home, slicing through nasty-looking enemies and sliding around to pass through tight spaces. Yet this time, you can swap between three weapons.
Each one has an ability tree full of crazy-fun attacks and influential passives. By spending points earned from enemies and chests, the lamp-shaped Veredicto with faces carved into it can ignite mid-air, or you can sacrifice health to empower the jagged blade of Ruego Al Alba.
You feel encouraged to expand the weapon trees to pull off savage combos, raining fiery carnage and smashing foes into a bloody paste. But it doesn’t stop there.
You can equip Altarpieces and, depending on how you pair them, drastically change the powers of a weapon or grant the Pentient One inherent benefits. Blasphemous II doesn’t spell out what combinations to use, so as you get more and experiment, you’ll unlock ways to boost your elemental damage or stop time after drinking a Bile Flask.
Altarpieces are so flexible and really ramp up the level of deep customization that the prequel was missing. The game would still be great with only the weapon skill tree and Altarpieces alone, but it gets even better.
Prayers add more complexity to combat. From fireballs to a ghostly summon to a crimson disc tearing through the floor, these are magical spells you can cast with the Fervour bar.
Since weapon abilities and Prayers share the meter, player choice factors into what you want to spend Fervour on.
Flying creatures are tough to hit, and some foes will block your attacks. Finding the right blend of abilities and spells can be like solving an amusing jigsaw puzzle that pays off massively in later locations as you unlock more things.
Cleverly, Blasphemous II dangles the prospect of progression to persuade players to explore every nook and cranny. Relic powers scattered over the dreary world contribute to these efforts, unlocking the ability to air dash or double jump. That “ah-ha” moment once you get a traversal ability is consistent with each push into Blasphemous II.
Older zones with hard-to-reach ledges and weird sparkles become accessible, where you find collectibles given to a character to increase Fervour, unique Altarpieces, or even shopkeepers selling powerful Prayers.
Dipping back and forth between maps as you gain more abilities is standard for Metroidvanias, but Blasphemous II twists the formula by adding secret questlines in those distant corners. One quest will tie into defeating swarms of enemies for rewards, while another involves finding cloaked women to unlock new functions for respawn points.
From head to toe, Blasphemous II is a Metroidvania worth losing hours to. Between its secrets, monstrous bosses, and weapon abilities, you never fall out of its addicting progression loop.
You will play the way you want and have enough enemy variety and biomes to go wild. It’s phenomenal how The Game Kitchen pulled this off, and it’s clear Blasphemous had to walk for the sequel to sprint for the hills.