The irretrievably broken world of Cvstodia harbors all sorts of distressing things. Lost souls, signs of ancient struggle at every turn, and perhaps some signals of what to expect from Blasphemous 2. the setting of 2019’s Blasphemous is perhaps one of gaming’s least pleasant. It is in this world, however, that the Penitent One finds himself. The journey he inevitably takes to make this miserable world slightly less miserable was met with praise and instant fandom. 4 years later the inevitable sequel is now upon us. Blasphemous 2 releases on August 24 and appears to be a continuation of the tale that began in 2019. So perhaps now is as good a time as any to brush up on what it means to be a Blasphemous game. What can fans expect out of the sequel? Spoilers ahead.
The overly religious city of Cvstodia is bound to myth and sorrow when our Penitent One finds himself miraculously resurrected. This is of course only after he and his brotherhood failed to rid the city of the guilt and agony that drenches their existence. Our Penitent protagonist was slain along with the rest of the silent sorrow. Shortly afterwards our spike-headed chosen one is tasked with finishing the job and liberating Cvstodia from the occult figures who keep its people steeped in eternal sorrow. Which, only after a litany of battles with unholy figures and exploring countless corridors, would he even have a chance to.
The gameplay of Blasphemous
Blasphemous puts the player through more than their fair share of bloodshed, exploration, and platforming. Your scope of abilities to do each of these things is deepened with each boss killed, as new powers and abilities become available.
As new attacks and aptitudes are achieved, new areas and combat techniques can be mastered, opening up more of the world, and the cycle repeats all the way till the end. Recovering lost artifacts littered throughout Cvstodia is also a large portion of what you’ll be doing while learning their place in this worlds history as well as in your quest. The unsettling music, gratifying combat, and macabre visuals entice you further with each new area.
The gameplay largely revolves around solving riddles, defeating increasingly challenging enemies, and discovering new paths forward. Managing enchantments and items along the way is also important. You can describe Blasphemous’s gameplay as a metroidvania of sorts. It doesn’t unfold quite as straight-forwardly as more notable entries of that genre.
Bring on the Souls-like gameplay
New abilities don’t necessarily mean you’ll need to backtrack to previous areas, and could simply be an option going forward. Plus, it mixes in key elements of the Souls-like genre to add a more challenging texture to the experience.
The emphasis on dodging and delicately-time strikes is sure to conjure similar muscle memories to those used in Bloodborne or Elden Ring. Combining that with the chance to reclaim your currency upon death by reaching the point at which you last died really drives this theme home.
The combination of those two gameplay styles with its own Spanish-Christian mythology aesthetic adds up to something uniquely interesting for the game. There are plenty of examples of games with these elements and even some that come close to this particular combination, but Blasphemous still manages to make the concoction feel like its own from beginning to end.
How The story unfolds
As our Penitent One uncovers more of Cvstodia’s secrets, learns of its broken population, and defeats more of it’s tormentors, a fuller picture of situation forms. Para-christo entities rule this world willingly by the people. The characters you come across are often just as hopeless as they are destitute. They have completely given in to the inclinations of their unholy situation and barely even acknowledge any other option.
After the Penitent One slays handfuls of demi-gods, he ultimately finds himself on the rooftops of the Mother of Mothers, and mere feet from His Holiness Escribar; the final boss of the game. Before that battle can commence however, Crisanta of the Wrapped Agony spring into action to stop the Penitent One. Many regard the fight that ensues between them as one of the most difficult in the game, and leads to the defeat of Crisanta who flees just before a final blow.
The story continues
The Penitent One moves onward to finally face His Holiness Escribar, and without too much effort, sheds him of his mortal coil. This of course only leads to the real final boss fight. With Escribar’s final form now revealed, a difficult fight ensues that combines much of the platforming, dodging, and precision that the player has learned to emerge victorious. If you do, then all that awaits the Penitent One is a pile of ash. This is where Blasphemous’s multiple endings come into play. Had you simply made it to the end, you’ll most likely get the bad ending, where the Penitent One cannot climb the mountain of ash and gets absorbed by it.
If you have found the immaculate bead, transformed it into the weight of true guilt, and completed several optional dungeons, you’ll get the so-called “good” ending, where the Penitent One is able to climb the ash and accept his penance by sacrificing himself to rid the world of guilt. An additional epilogue provided by the DLC expansion to Blasphemous sheds more light on the nature of the miracle and sees the penitent one completely destroying the high wills – those that command the miracle. The Penitent One also finally dies with the door seemingly closed on his return.
The lessons of Blasphemous
What all of this means for Blasphemous 2 is not entirely clear at this point. With the multi-layered nature of the first game’s narrative, odds are that other forces are at work. Perhaps the miracle itself will take another form. So far, in my time with Blasphemous 2, it seems that the miracle will continue manifesting threats.
Blasphemous 2 will largely be picking up where the first game left off in all respects. While some new ideas will surely emerge, the penitent one still looks and feels about the same as the original. This seems aimed at ensuring a smooth transition for returning players. This will also help make new players, or perhaps those that didn’t quite make it through the first game, feel right at home with what they expect. As we covered in our Blasphemous 2 preview, there are changes to take note of, but overall the presentation and gameplay of Blasphemous 2 is shaping up to be very iterative of the original.
The bottom line with Blasphemous 2 is that it will continue the overarching gameplay, design, and story themes of the original game. Those that enjoyed the first game should expect to get kick out of its sequel. Some new contrivances will emerge to continue the struggle against the miracle. The stage seems set for Blasphemous to be a full-blown trilogy or perhaps more down the road. Either way, with the depressing atmosphere, haunting characters, and brutal gameplay that made the first game a cult classic present here, Blasphemous 2 is going to be another satisfying journey through this incredible world.