I first heard of Blasphemous from a few friends and my interest grew after learning about the setting and challenging gameplay, I like it when my skills are put to the test. It was an experience to behold, and I am excited to talk about my experience during my adventures throughout the game.
Pros and Cons
- Complex and enjoyable story
- Fun combat, with a good variety of enemies
- Unique upgrades and abilities to acquire
- Fun boss fights that are gruesome, fun, and challenging
- Lots of secrets to uncover and find
- Beautiful 2D art style that is both disturbing and beautiful
- Platforming can be a bit of an issue, mainly when it comes to wall climbing
- Climbing ladders can also be an issue
- Not all upgrades seem relevant or useful
- Sliding past enemies sometimes does not work
- The backtracking can be a bit of an issue
- Issues with enemy placement
- Bosses, while still challenging, are on the easier side
- Minor bugs as well
The story is set in a deeply religious world known as Cvstodia, a recent event known as the Miracle that manifested itself to those who were pious or sinful. All the pain that a soul has is tangible with everyone everywhere, it could be a form of blessing for some, for others, a punishment. With a divine and unfathomable will, all a person can do is make penance.
Does the story for Blasphemous make sense? No, did I explain it in any way that would make sense? No, will you enjoy the story anyway without really knowing anything? Yes. It’s a bit of an interesting take, as you won’t know what the story is even telling you, yet you may like it for its mystery in what the game may throw at you next. There isn’t really a whole lot to say about the story, so I’ll have to just leave it at that for the most part.
Blasphemous has some really fun combat that I for the most part enjoyed very much, there are a wide variety of enemies to fight throughout the game. You can block and parry enemy attacks to stun them and then attack, sometimes you may even be able to perform an execution move on rare occasions. There are also a few upgrades for you to get and they have a variety of uses for you in combat or in movement. Some abilities you get allow you to access other areas in the game that you may have not been able to get to previously. It adds a reason to go back and get certain things if you strive to get 100% completion. They all have their own unique uses and I like how the game has a bunch of different options for you to try out. You can only equip a few abilities at a time, so make sure to try out different things to get the best benefits.
There is also a skill tree that will allow you to get permanent upgrades, like increasing your combo, or giving you access to different attacks for you to use. There isn’t a whole lot of stuff you can get but there may be something in the skill tree that catches your interest.
The boss fights are really fun to challenge and can be gruesome at times, they can be a bit hard to fight and that’s what makes a boss a boss. They had their own attack patterns and ways to beat them. There are also a ton of secrets for you to go out and find, like extra flask bottles, getting extra health, or other power-ups that can aid your journey.
Now despite me saying good things about Blasphemous’s gameplay, I have a ton of issues with it. Blasphemous says that it’s a hard game but despite it just throwing the worst aspects of a 2D platformer at you, this game is surprisingly easy. Now, the difficulty is subjective to each person, but I have experience with these types of games. The platforming in this game has to be one of the biggest issues, yes you read that right, a platformer has issues with its platforming. When it comes to wall climbing, I will press the button at the right moment, for it to not register and I end up falling to my death. It starts to be more of a problem when enemies who fire projectiles come into play as well. Climbing ladders have an issue as well because when it comes to jumping from one ladder to the next it may not register either. This too has led to me dying a few times as well and it really starts to get annoying when I keep dying from things beyond my control.
Some of the upgrades I got from the skill tree I never used once, there is one where you can turn your blood into a projectile to help take out enemies, but I never used it. There is also one where you can use it to strike your enemies when going down in mid-air, which I only used for one secret. The only skill tree upgrades that I actually found useful, were the ones that increased the combo that I could pull off since that actually had an impact on enemies and bosses. There are also ones that you may find scattered throughout the game and even those ones may feel useless too.
Then there is an issue with the backtracking. Now, backtracking in Mertiodvenias is common but Blasphemous’s method of doing it is an issue - here, I’ll talk about an example. So, at some point in the game, you will need to get your hands on the Key of the Inquisitor from the Sleeping Canvases, to get access to the Jaw of Ashgan. To get this key, you need to buy it from this shop with 9999 of the game’s currency. These shops are not marked on the map, Candelaria, the shopkeeper does have multiple shops in the game but sells different things in each shop. So, you have to get it from that one area, these two areas I mentioned, aren’t really connected to each other so you have to go through other areas as well.
On top of that, there isn’t really a way to fast-travel, except through these mirrors that are scattered throughout the game, or this one special move that will bring you back to your last spawn point. Suffice to say, that’s quite a tall order to get to that one area.
However, that’s not all either, as I have issues with the bosses. I did say they are challenging but t some of them are actually quite easy. You may die a few times, but all you have to do is memorize the attack patterns and you have beaten the boss. Enemy placement is also an issue, sometimes, this is more of a minor issue but when it does come up, it’s an issue. Some enemies are obstacles that you can’t hit but have to avoid and let me tell you, avoiding some of them is not easy. Sliding away from enemies also sometimes does not work, there are somewhere you can slide but with big boss enemies, you can’t and are forced to fight them.
I also came across a point where an enemy got stuck on a platform and I had to restart from my last checkpoint.
Graphics and Performance
Blasphemous is very beautiful in a disturbing way, I love how the pixel art style was done and it made the game have a somewhat creepy feel to it with some of the enemies. The game should be able to be run on low-end PCs without issue. I tested the game on an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB, AMD Ryzen 5 1500X Quad-Core Processor 3.50, and 16 GB of RAM. I should also give a small mention of the soundtrack, as I enjoyed that as well.
Now, despite all of my complaints with Blasphemous, I still had a fun time playing it and I think that’s the most important part of the game. For some, it may be a challenge but for others, it won’t be as hard as some people make it out to be. However, there is still enjoyment to be found and I think it’s a good game, nonetheless, although I’d maybe wait for a sale before buying.