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It’s not a blasphemy to like this
The first images and gameplay videos that I saw of Blasphemous were amazing. Everything was such intense, dark and blasphem-y. The artstyle used certain muted colours and designs, that resemble mixture of religion, torture, gothic and the underworld. I recently reviewed another indie game Tamashii, which had same kind of vibes, but it being more hellish, when Blasphemous have more of the religious and torment vibes. This is also a good example of the style I would go for, if I ever make a video game. I’m definitely not satanic, but everything dark, hellish, nightmarish with lots of blood and body parts mixed with religion, legends and mythology, not forgetting physical and mental anguish. All that is just my cup of bloody mary.
It doesn’t mean the developer is any of those things, because video games are art. They’re digital art and it might represent something totally different and personal to the maker. It depends, of course, is the studio one person team or bigger studio. Someone got the initial idea and excluding them, nobody knows what all their work means. Blasphemous might be something innocent, even. Maybe this is someone’s view of their depression, how they feel like their life is, a nightmare they once saw… or whatever. I personally know many people who takes everything literally—and I hate that! I know if I would say to certain people about my ideas of a video game and I explain it visualizes my mental torment that I have experienced; they’d still be assured I worship the devil. *sigh*
Welcome to the never ending life after life
Blasphemous begins with a woman praying and then killing herself and narrator telling about a curse, The Miracle, that took over a place called Cvstodia, where a massacre took place. The Penitent One is the playable character and survivor of this massacre, and him being stuck in an endless loop of rebirth and death. The main mission is to stop this cycle and free Cvstodia from this curse.
It was little bit difficult to understand the initial plot, because the way everything is written and presented. I don’t know the style of this literature, but it’s very old and religious, and some words were (to me) never-heard before. This still didn’t stop me going on my journey with simple attack, dodge, parry, jump, heal -moves. Soon I was introduced to the special- and execution moves and combos.
The world itself is 2D side scrolling, but it’s not linear. The map helps to image this 2D world as 3D, which is actually first time I have experienced a 2D game like that. The boss battles were epic and collecting items fun, but Blasphemous really needs some skills and patience! After every death, player has to start from last savepoint, there’s no checkpoints. The guilt meter that allows special moves will suffer by reducing, but it can be reset in certain praying places. After saving the progress, all enemies will respawn, excluding bosses, which seems the only mercy this game gives. Blasphemous also contains some other aspects, that I’m not going to list them here, since even I was unaware of them.
I have to admit I didn’t finish the whole game. Not that I didn’t want to, but because I couldn’t. I played Blasphemous about 5 hours and digging from online the game is about 7-8 hours long. Towards the end the gameplay becomes more difficult, even with all sorts of upgrades I died countless times. The savepoints being scarce I had to go the same long routes again and again, until I realized I’m making no progress and this’ll take forever to finish. I’m sure players who are more familiar with Dark Souls or Bloodborne -type of games will love this. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough time to finish this, but I promise try again someday.
The end of a life cycle
In the end, Blasphemous is absolutely beautiful game visually, musically and with the voice acting. You have to like this type of games, have fast reflexes, lots of patience and time to be able to enjoy this fully. I enjoyed this, even though Blasphemous isn’t a genre I would go immediately. I really want to say this is must-play, but it isn’t. Because must-play to me, means that everyone should play it and this isn’t for everyone. Gamers who love to have some challenge with intriguing story and settings; this is totally must. I would’ve liked an option to choose the difficulty, add checkpoints, add more savepoints, or something to make this appeal to wider audience.
(Review copy nicely provided by the publisher)
“Blasphemous have more of the religious and torment vibes”