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Blasphemous

Posted by GG Goblin On September - 23 - 2019

Well, that’s all a bit grim, isn’t it.

 
With a name like Blasphemous, it’s fairly obvious from the start that The Game Kitchen’s new game is going to present some issues to certain religious organisations. With dual inspiration from both classic Metroidvania and Soulslike games, it may not be just the graphic depictions of violence and religious iconography that will cause problems for the players.

 


 
However, it is that visual style that will first hit the player, full on in the face. Blasphemous is a 2D side-scrolling game with a detailed pixel art style. Setting the scene, that pixel art is used to depict some quite disturbing imagery, all with religious undertones. The environments have a medieval feel to them, the distinctive and varied enemies that the player will face through the course of the game are all nicely detailed and suitably foreboding, while the epic bosses that the player will face are truly the stuff of nightmares. Due to the grim setting, the colour palette is understandably dark, with blood providing the only real splashes of colour throughout. There is a lot of blood and gore to be found, including an abundance of severed limbs and the like, and so this is most certainly not a game for the young or, thanks to the religious flavour that carefully avoids referencing any exact religion, anyone of strong faith.

 
So, if that hasn’t put you off, then you may well be in for a challenging ride. The story in Blasphemous is deliberately vague, offering up little to the player and leaving them to piece together most of what is going on through finding various lore in the game. The player will take on the role of The Penitent One, a survivor who is charged with saving the land from a curse. The Penitent One wears a large conical helmet, which could have been quite comical were it in a more light hearted setting, making him stand out from the crowd. Finding lore through the game will gradually fill in some of the gaps in the story, and also give the player a break from the relentless action, but the reality is that the player doesn’t need to know much more other than they must travel this land, fight enemies, and reverse the curse.

 


 
Blasphemous takes a Dark Souls approach to the combat. The controls are quite simple, and a dodge and parry move will allow the player to avoid taking damage. However, this is no button masher, instead relying on timing and being able to predict your opponents next move. It is much more considered combat, and the player will have to learn which enemy animations come before which attack in order to successfully counter them, either by avoiding or parrying, and when to actually attack. Thankfully, the game starts out fairly easy, but the great variety of enemies with differing attack styles, along with the bosses that will require a certain amount of guess work to predict, mean that it doesn’t stay easy for very long. As the player progresses, they will unlock other attacks or abilities to use, but they emphasis here is on the basic combat and mastering that will lead to success.

 
So it goes without saying that the player will find themselves dying quite a lot. This is not too much of an issue though, as they will just return to a previous save point and can continue on their journey, albeit with a slight penalty. Players will have a fervour gauge which is used to power certain moves, and dying will reduce the size of that gauge until the player can trek back to where they died. It’s not too much of a punishment though, as already mentioned the game is more about the basic combat than any special moves, but still gives the player a reason to avoid being bested. Otherwise, anything found during the game is kept after dying, which is a bonus.

 
And there is plenty to collect in Blasphemous. The game world is quite large and open, and the player will not only be finding items that are needed for the story, but also equipment and the games currency. The obvious style of the game would suggest a fair amount of platforming, and indeed there is a lot of jumping to be done. However, again this takes a back seat to the combat, but works perfectly well when required. The main puzzles in the game come in the form of the bosses and working out their patterns and how to defeat them.

 


 
Fans of the more hardcore gaming will find plenty to enjoy in Blasphemous. It has a very striking style that could potentially put some players off, or not depending on their tastes. This style is perhaps the most stand out aspect of the game. The more considered combat, along with the vague story, will appeal to the Soulslike fans. Style aside, it is a very good looking game and plays very smoothly. Players looking for a 2D Soulslike challenge will find Blasphemous the stuff of their dreams, or nightmares.

 

 ★★★★★★★★½☆ 



 

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