This game broke me. I rarely play games, and especially not AAA games, where I am genuinely unsure whether I can finish them. Returnal had multiple of these moments where hour long intense runs would come crashing down in an instant of brutal punishment and were it not for the incredible game feel and atmosphere I would have quickly abandoned it many times over.
But I didn't. In the end it was quite an anticlimactic final stretch where certain lucky perks meant that I was essentially invincible, rolling through the last two biomes and final boss after struggling for days on end beforehand to even make any progress. This inconsistency of experience is certainly an issue that frustrated me, cursing at the screen after being stuck with a run-killing malfunction (a risk system tied to certain items and chests where you can get a random penalty ranging from mildly inconvenient to disastrous, the removal of them being tied to equally random challenges, ranging similarly from easily doable to completely out of your control) or losing to a random enemy after not finding any health pickups in three rooms.
The intense difficulty combined with insanely long runs also heavily discourages experimentation, which is a shame because the weapon system allows you to unlock certain perks for weapons you use, heavily modifying the feel of a weapon. In the later runs this meant for me that I would always use my faithful carbine with four unlocked perks instead of trying my hand at a new weapon where I still have to unlock perks one by one. The randomized distribution of weapons of course means you won't always get the weapon you want, which lead in turn to cool moments of unlocking a perk like Full Auto on the rocket launcher, which wasn't a weapon I favored at all now becoming an absolute killing machine, completely altering the weapon. I just wish there was maybe an option to choose your starting weapon, encouraging experimentation at least a little bit more.
In conclusion, this is a fantastic game with extremely rough edges that fully envelops all of its mechanics and interactions in its haunting atmosphere and world building, surely to be appreciated even years from now.
13 hrs ago
I would lie if I said that I could follow any of the lore in this game even in the slightest, it went way over my head. Still, I can absolutely appreciate the worldbuilding achieved and admire the depth and consistency present in every aspect of the storytelling, even if it isn't the most digestible narrative. It certainly feels fresh in the mythology and cultural background used, even if the tone and gruesome nature mirrored in the gameplay is familiar in the genre.
What drove me to almost 100% this game is a really tight gameplay loop where most collectibles serve an in world purpose and are hidden at a perfectly balanced rate, where you actually feel like you can totally collect everything without investing dozens of extra hours searching every corner. This is also helped by a strong map that removes frustration by showing you when a room is or isn't a dead end if you pay attention.
The boss fights are definite highlights, offering creative mechanics and making the fights clearly accessible to master with the moves available to you, avoiding big frustration points often present in these tough Souls-likes. As tight as the combat is, the platforming didn't work that smoothly too often, unfortunately, even if the added speedrun challenges were extremely fun to master once accepting the quirks of the platforming.
In general, there has been a lot of work being done on the game in the form of free updates since release. Since this was my first time playing, I can't speak to the differences, but I really enjoy how they implemented the new content into the base game, where I didn't know something was added until looking it up specifically, which makes Blasphemous at this point a really nice package and one of the better metroidvanias out there.
16 days ago