First trailer I saw for this, I really, REALLY wanted to love this game.
But...it's okay. Not bad, not great.
Easy stuff first. GraphicsFirst trailer I saw for this, I really, REALLY wanted to love this game.
But...it's okay. Not bad, not great.
Easy stuff first. Graphics are good. It's pixel art, yet very detailed. Art style is GREAT. The macabre, gothic, and gory setting is really cool. Nice to immerse yourself in and explore. Music is okay. Nothing noteworthy, nothing bad.
Now the gameplay. This is why it's so hard to recommend.
Metroidvania's usually give you a plethora of weapons and abilities to play with. In Blasphemous, you get the one sword you start with. Already a bad start. You get other abilities, but they are heavily gated because of high cost, meaning you get to play with a new skill just once in a blue moon. To make things worse, the abilities don't really add much further depth to the gameplay. To make things even worse, the combat abilities are highly situational; you're just better of playing it safe by using the standard 3-hit combo. They added a parry, though, which is nice and satisfying.
The biggest issue with Blasphemous is that it simply doesn't have that same steady and satisfying progression Metroidvanias tend to have. In Castlevania, and the recent hit Bloodstained, you're always being rewarded for pushing onward, without making you OP. You're always unlocking abilities that let you access areas that were previously inaccessible to you. You're constantly unlocking new armor and weapons to try, and then to possibly keep, if you like. In Blasphemous, your character feels EXTREMELY static. No new armor. No new weapons. You'll kill enemy after enemy, boss after boss, and you won't feel like you've achieved anything. You wont' feel like you've gotten stronger at all despite toughing it out for so long. Maybe it's an artistic decision - it's a dark game, so apply a dark and heavy feeling by keeping your player character weak? There are beads to give you buffs, but unfortunately they are as insignificant as it sounds. They add very minor buffs to you that you really won't feel. Sounds good on paper, awful in practice. Additionally, they add instant game overs from pitfalls and spikes. Not cool. It feels really bad to fall into a pit and die despite having worked so hard to preserve your life and healing items. Even the old school Symphony of the Night didn't do this. In SotN, you take heavy damage instead so that you don't have to repeat from the last checkpoint. Bad decision to add instant game overs.
Tying in to progression, Blasphemous imitates Dark Souls' grim and vague storytelling. Vague storytelling is fine if done right. However, in Blasphemous they take it too far. Item descriptions often barrage you with terms and characters you're not familiar with. The NPCs in the world often do the same, referencing weird terms and characters...and you're just expected to nod along. It's weird. Not good storytelling. Perhaps it's a metaphor for religion as a whole, such that you are not meant to understand - you are simply meant to not think, but to only accept and obey? I don't know. On paper sounds promising, but in practice it's just bad storytelling.
Blasphemous suffers from being made by a small team, I think. I'm tempted to give this a 6, but I'm giving it a 7, because small teams are awesome and they deserve love for this amazing world and concept they built. They've got something really promising here. I hope this game makes enough money to warrant B2; and hopefully then, they'll expand operations so that they can accommodate all the things that make Metroidvanias great.… Expand