The time of resurrection is nigh. Blasphemous 2 is the direct sequel to the original, critically-acclaimed 2019 action platformer by developer The Game Kitchen. More specifically, it is the continuation of the Wounds of Eventide DLC, a free update released in December 2021 for the first Blasphemous that introduces a new canonical True Ending to the game. At an event held by publisher Team17 behind closed doors, I had the chance to speak with the developers and experience the opening section of Blasphemous 2, which sees the return of the Peninent One in light of the rumored rebirth of The Miracle.
“For twisted are, were, and will be, the paths of The Miracle.”
If you haven’t played Blasphemous before or know very little about the lore, this sequel could be intimidating. The series uses a lot of religious symbolism and iconography, as inspired by the Spanish Inquisition and Catholicism in general. It also follows the template of a Souls-like in that the story is conveyed primarily through sparse but detailed dialogue and numerous item descriptions.
The developers understand that this can be overwhelming and assure that Blasphemous 2 has a standalone plot where players don’t need to know the particulars of the original game. But if you understand the guilt-ridden journey of the Penitent One and the supernatural “blessings” bestowed by The Miracle that often manifest as divine suffering and twisted, arboreal punishment, you’ll have far more context in understanding the themes of this follow-up adventure. You’ll also be more familiar with the naming of items, where health potions are Bile Flasks and save points are Prie Dieu altars.
After awakening from his coffin, the Penitent One swiftly meets an angelic figure that tells him that preventing the rebirth of The Miracle will require him to defeat a group called the Archconfraternity. A cutscene briefly shows Eviterno, Father of the Penitents, leading more than several followers that the hero will need to face. This includes a list of bosses with lengthy names, like Lesmes of the Confraternity of Incorruptible Flesh, Orospina of the Confraternity of Embroiderers, and Benedicta of the Confraternity of Endless Orison.
“Forge your punishment and nail it deep.”
Where The Game Kitchen hopes to improve upon the first game is making Blasphemous 2, at least in their eyes, a truer Metroidvania. The developers admitted with some humility that the original game was more of an action platformer. But as they have become more comfortable with the engine, they believe this sequel is closer to its source inspirations, like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
A part of this is the new ability to select one of three weapons at the start of the adventure, instead of only the Mea Culpa sword from the original game. This includes a sword called Ruego Al Alba, a dagger and blade combo named Sarmiento and Centella, and a heavy flail-like war censer dubbed Veredicto. I chose Veredicto in my session and quickly found that I needed to be careful with the lumbering power of the weapon. While it deals the most damage among the three options, any attack with it requires a certain degree of commitment due to its long wind-up time. And unfortunately, my lack of experience with the weapon led to me dying to the bladed strikes of the first boss.
On my second attempt, though, I was able to evade the enemy’s attacks and trigger the Veredicto’s inherent charge move to deal a ton of damage in retaliation. From that point, I was able to traverse the rest of the level pretty much unscathed by using the war censer’s range to smash foes from a fairly comfortable distance. Along the way, I also found a magical chant that conjured a straight line of fire for a handy secondary attack.
Like the original game, Blasphemous 2 will feature multiple endings, likely depending on how thorough players are in finding all of the game’s secrets. It is slated to release on August 24 for PC, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and Nintendo Switch. A version for last-gen consoles, namely PS4 and Xbox One, is planned to launch at some time afterwards.
This preview is based on a hands-on build for PC at a private press event held by the publisher.