Game Review: Blasphemous

Blasphemous was gifted to me by one of my Twitch regulars because for some reason, they enjoy watching me sweat and suffer. Pain, suffering and penance are the main themes here so you could say it was the perfect gift. It’s basically a combination of Castlevania, Metroid and Dark Souls with its own unique story and presentation.

Visually, it’s a work of art. The world in Blasphemous looks and feels dark and ominous but is beautiful at the same time. From the backgrounds to the monsters, the blood and the brutal finishers, everything looks stunning in that sweet pixel art style.

During the very first moments you start playing, the game sets the tone in terms of difficulty and makes you face the facts: you’re going to get your ass handed to you more than a few times. Don’t let that discourage you however. Even though certain situations seem impossible and overwhelming at first, you eventually will prevail by learning the enemy’s movement patterns. In this sense, the game is tough but fair and victories really give you that feeling you’ve accomplished something.

I love the enemy design in Blasphemous. The world is populated with some of the weirdest and interesting monsters I’ve ever seen in a game and I really commend the developers for their creativity. Each monster type has a certain attack pattern that you will have to learn and the first encounters are, obviously, the hardest. Though certain enemies are easy enough when you face them, it’s the combinations of certain types that really force you to change tactics and prioritization. The game makes you think and it’s amazing how good you can become at facing multiple enemies at the same time.

One thing I can’t wrap my head around, is the fact that there’s no option to skip “cutscenes”. I’m totally down for the fact that bosses need a proper introduction for the love of God, Mother Mary and the Holy Spirit, MAKE THEM SKIPPABLE. After dying for about thirty times, I really don’t want to read or hear what they have to say anymore. I just can’t believe unskippable cutscenes are still a thing.

There are many side quests in the game that reward you with bonuses and special items but to be honest I didn’t care too much about them. There’s no such thing as an objective marker and don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a good thing because I’m not a fan of too much hand holding but whenever I completed a quest, I felt I just got lucky by stumbling upon the character that was in need of a certain item I acquired God knows where.

The level system and progression reminds me of Shadow Complex, which I found really interesting and fun. I feel like there could have been some more fast-travel locations and it would be nice if they added some kind of marker to indicate that you need certain abilities to progress once you bumped into a temporary dead end. There were a few instances where I traveled back to certain locations, I was painfully reminded of the fact I wasn’t able to access a part of those areas yet.

Let’s not forget to mention the soundtrack, which is spot-on. It’s there when it’s needed and absent when it’s not. This is a perfect example where music is used sparingly and in such a way that it only adds to the atmosphere.

All in all, the game is difficult but very addicting. I found myself coming back to it even if I knew chances were high I wasn’t going to make progress during that playing session and that is exactly what I look for in a game.

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