The entire Mexiverse is in danger and it's up to the last surviving Juan Aguacate to set things right. Guacamelee 2 called the superheroic luchador back into action, reintroducing players to his Metroidvania-style mazes, challenging platforming sequences, and bone-crunching combat.
For the latest edition of Final Score, Shacknews revisits our review of Octopath Traveler, while also pitting up against reviews from our gaming compatriots from other outlets. Check out the melting pot of opinions and decide for yourself whether it's time to step back into the ring.
Shacknews 9/10: "Drinkbox Studios didn't set out to reinvent the wheel with Guacamelee 2, but rather built further on the original's formula and crafted a new story around it. Fortunately, that original formula is still wildly fun, with fluid combat, a vast world to explore (with numerous fast travel points), and secrets hidden all around. All of it is wrapped around a hilarious story that never takes itself too seriously, but does offer up some sincere heartfelt moments to balance itself out.
"Those looking for a lengthier Guacamelee story than the original will be disappointed to hear that this story clocks in at well under 10 hours. That's perfectly fine, as it prevents the game's premise from wearing thin. There's also a big challenge ahead in finding everything, which should keep those hailing from the Perfectionist Timeline busy for while."
Game Informer 8.75/10: "As you might guess from the abundant references, the narrative never takes itself too seriously. However, amid the jokes, the sincerity surrounding the relationships Juan has with his friends and family are treated with a great deal of respect. Seeing different versions of characters in different timelines is interesting and both of the endings are satisfying in surprisingly sweet ways. If you plan on seeing the best ending, I highly recommending beating it once before hitting 100% in order to see both ways the story concludes. It's worth it.
"Guacamelee 2 is one of the best executions of the Metroid formula. Juan’s adventure stands apart in a crowded genre, even if it stands apart in the same ways as his last outing. Combat is always exciting, the upgrades change the way you fight and navigate the world in meaningful ways, the world is well-designed, and the optional challenges are substantial and rewarding."
Gamespot 9/10: "Structurally, Guacamelee 2 maintains a balance between Metroidvania and side-scrolling beat-'em-up, and it doesn't feel like either genre is being lost in the mix. Just strolling into a room to lay the smackdown on skeletons still feels big and brutal, the way a wrestler slamming an opponent into the pavement absolutely should. A split-second fiesta in the upper right-hand corner that rewards you for big combos is the chuckle-worthy cherry on top of a savage job well done. Hours upon hours later, it never gets old watching the numbers rack up.
"The magic lies in how the deadly physicality of your moveset directly feeds into where and how you can explore. Every new move--a frog slam, a flying uppercut--is more than just a way to lay waste to the undead menace, but the keys to mastering your environment. Taking care of a stone barrier between you and the next room, where the solution isn't some key you picked up clear across the map but the overkill of a big, booming punch or a massive headbutt, is satisfying like little else--especially coupled with the innate Metroidvania joy of being able to backtrack into an area and open up a route you couldn't take before with extreme, gratifying prejudice."
Push Square 8/10: "Like the first game, the story establishes some great characters and an easy to follow plot, but keeps you in the action most of the time. A silly sense of humour also returns to the dialogue and the environments, though the infamous memes have been replaced with gaming and pop culture references. Occasionally you may still see something that'll make you roll your eyes, but there are some wonderful homages to other titles that should definitely put a smile on your face.
"In fact, you'll probably be wearing a big grin for the majority of the game's 12-or-so hours. Guacamelee! 2 is pleasingly light-hearted and colourful, and it moves along at a fair lick, meaning you'll find it hard to tear yourself away. A steady stream of power-ups provides you with new things to toy with constantly, and the labyrinthine maps are dotted with blocked paths and out of reach items you'll be itching to return to. A lot of Juan's powers return from the original, but they're still great fun to use, and the way they apply to both combat and traversal is still an inspired design choice."
USGamer 4/5: "Guacamelee 2 builds on the same charm and platforming core as the first game. The Metroid-style adventure returns with its luchadore flavor, a host of pop culture references, and some vicious platforming. The art style is the same, but the levels look absolutely stunning now and the music plays heavily with Latin influences. Having special moves bound to directional and button inputs means your chosen attack can get lost in the heat of battle and sometimes it feels like the game isn't responding to certain inputs. Despite those problems, Guacamelee 2 is still a great sequel."
BONUS UNSCORED REVIEW - Rock Paper Shotgun: The second half of Guacamelee! 2 sees a real plateau in the learning curve of the game. Despite having an array of super-moves, you find yourself trapped in meta-jokes that serve no purpose, and dungeons that seem to have no end.
It peters out, is what I'm saying. The game over-reaches in pursuit of substance, when instead it works best relishing shameless fun and hijinks.
The gorgeous Mexiverse and hotheaded combat and puzzles are entertaining, but overall Guacamelee! 2 lacks the tightness that made its predecessor such a hoot from start to finish. A criticism levelled at the first game was that it was too short, but on the evidence offered here I think the series is better off lean and speedy. There isn’t enough substance to keep you wholeheartedly engaged otherwise."
Guacamelee 2 is available now on PC and PlayStation 4.
Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Final Score: Guacamelee 2