Excellent sprite work, wonderfully crafted world building, impeccable voice acting. All of this is let down by the quite frankly frustratingly shitty combat, which leaves a sour taste in its wake.
This review contains some minor spoilers.
1. Bosses
It's very clear that this game draws an astronomic amount of inspiration from Dark Souls in every nook and cranny of the game, all the way down to the design philosophy of the bosses. Unfortunately, it fails to recognize what makes the bosses of the Soulsborne games any good. As a result of the 2D plane this game utilizes, the combat suffers heavily from bosses that use moves which necessitate an eagle eye to determine what course of action to take. Many bosses have moves that use the same animation as a startup for different attacks. Many of your deaths will be purely through RNG and the inability to telegraph what move the boss will use to strike you. It's a majority of guessing until the last frames of the startup, where you can actually determine the attack to be used.
Another facet of the boss that leaves behind a feeling of discontent is the lack of awe they bring. Consistently, vanquishing a boss in most of the bosses featured within the Soulsborne franchise will leave you feeling like you've overcome an insurmountable foe. That triumphant feeling of overcoming a boss is absolutely not present in this game. On every single one I fought, I audibly groaned at my victories. Displeased with the revelation that none of the bosses I encountered were interesting or captivating in any way at all. Beating them just had me feeling like “that's it?” it was upon my 3rd hour playing the game where I came to this realization, regardless, pressing on another 13 hours to actually beat the game. The final boss being the worst offender of this, I won the fight in less than a minute on my first attempt.
1.5. Mobs
Mobs and enemies encountered in the over world are an absolute joke. Genuinely futile. The only difficulty comes from the occasional abominable platform placement. Many times, the platforming will be your enemy more so than actual enemies. More on this later.
2. Combat
The upgrades are absolutely inconsequential, and I wholeheartedly believe you could beat the game without upgrading your weapons at all. The extra moves you get are so trivial, the best of the worst being the ranged weapon or the dash slice. Plunge attack, charge slash, and either of the combo finishers are completely unnecessary and have very few use cases during gameplay. You have to actively look for a scenario to use these because their usefulness depends on your determination to actually find a way to utilize them properly. The plunge attack especially is terrible because your vertical vision is so reduced and isn't helped much by the fact that changing your camera doesn't give much leeway for faraway vision.
3. Exploration
One of the few things about the game I actually enjoyed. Inevitably leading to its detriment. For some inexplicable reason, the entire upper half of the map has no waypoints whatsoever. Once you start truly exploring the lower half of the map, the devs decided to start hurling all the necessary waypoints, entirely neglecting the lack of northern waypoints until the midpoint of the game. Traversing elevators gets especially tiring when you have to run through the elevators with no way to simply teleport up to either of the important northwestern regions. Exploration as a whole is COOL!!! As stated earlier, this is one of the few parts of the game I found enjoyment in. Entering new areas fills you with a sense of awe. The backgrounds are wonderfully crafted. Musical references to its culture are beautifully incorporated. Many areas are eloquently made in reference to Spanish Gothic architecture and design. When you're able to pay no mind to the awful gameplay, it's truly a beautiful experience.
4. Platforming
Platforming in this game is quite honestly one of the BIGGEST fumbles this game makes. Throughout the entire exploration experience, I can absolutely safely say that one area of many gave me an actual challenge with its platforming. The rest of it is piss easy. Often times, the devs opt to use terrible enemy placement or bad obstacle placement to make platforming difficult and a chore to traverse. Namely, the swinging axes of the “Sleeping Canvases” area. Their inclusion is so extraneous and makes 0 sense for being present. Not much else to say other than what has been said. Bugs are also prevalent in quite literally only the platforming. Countless times, I have grabbed ledges from a noticeable distance above or below, failed to grab a ledge my character was pressed right up against, and teleported through floors. Bugs impact purely the platforming throughout my playthrough.
5. Music
Incredibly graceful.The use of Spanish instrumentals paired with the Christian symbology is unquestionably the best part about the game. Cantes de Confesión, Entregarás Tu Rostro a La Señora, and Coplas de Incienso are by far my favorite tracks the OST offers. Simply beautiful work.
6. Story & Sidequests
Not delving into the story/lore because the way that it is handled, it's pretty removed from the actual progression of the game outside the content that is spoon-fed to you through required interactions. That being said, it was okay, I suppose. I feel that too much information is packed into the “lore” button for items and weapons, which is quite annoying. Talking with the dead is a pretty cool mechanic, and some side quests provided a very cool dive into the world of Blasphemous.
Unfortunately, this is a game that doesn't stand up to the expectations that are set by the promotional content. I'm overall displeased with the game and moreover disappointed with the juxtaposition of eloquent visuals & music alongside terrible buggy gameplay. It manages to rope you in and keep you hooked until you realize that it's disappointing overall.

Reviewed on Feb 13, 2023