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Blasphemous – Castlevania meets Dark Souls meets the Spanish Inquisition

Content of the article: "Blasphemous – Castlevania meets Dark Souls meets the Spanish Inquisition"

This isn't nearly as patient as usual for me, the game isn't even a year old but I was intrigued enough to get it on Steam. I also never played Castlevania or Dark Souls so I am just guessing in the title.

With that said, I finished the game today and I'll share some thoughts.

This isn't exactly a genre that I play often so I went in largely blind to what exactly I am gonna play. Basically, this is a classic Metroidvania style game that includes some Souls-like elements, such as the bonfires, and in general the difficulty.

I'll start with the best thing which is undoubtedly the art direction. Blasphemous is a beautiful game with spectacular visuals that really immersed me in this twisted, strange world and it's definitely the one thing that stands out. The bosses in particular have striking designs.

As far as story, I am gonna be honest, I have no fucking idea what the game is about, what is going on or what the main character's goal is. The story is told in an incredibly cryptic way, so I gave up trying to understand it like half way through. I think the main character is trying to get rid of their sins and in order to do that he has to kill the Pope(?). I am not sure. It takes place in a weird world where, what is essentially Christianity rules supreme. There are some side quests (for the most part they are essentially fetch quests) but again, they are incredibly cryptic, so it's almost impossible to tell which item you are supposed to take where. Unfortunately, the story is a bit of a miss but I do have to say that the world itself is pretty intriguing and mysterious. The characters you meet on the journey are all interesting.

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Gameplay is made up of two main parts – combat and exploration. Combat is fine. It's not anything special, but it works, it can be pretty fun and tense and there is a sense of progression and "gitting gud". You have a sword that can slash in a few directions, you can make some basic combos and you can parry some attacks. I'd say the biggest problem are the Prayers which are essentially special powers. They are very rarely useful, take too much mana and are incredibly slow. I'd say in general this game is actually pretty slow paced with the gameplay. It's less about quick reflexes and more about learning enemy patterns and being patient.

The other part of the gameplay, exploration, is where the issues start piling up. I've seen a lot of people complain about the platforming. I actually didn't have that big of a problem there. It's by no means great but for the most part the jumping is accurate and easily controllable and with some minor exceptions, the platforming is relatively straightforward. I played on keyboard too.

However, my god, the backtracking in this game is such a pain. There are only a few fast travel points and since you move fairly slowly, it always takes ages to get somewhere. And you'll be backtracking a lot, especially near the end. Running around the world is not that fun. Sometimes, the level design seems completely idiotic, especially in regards to the placement of the bonfires.

Finally, the bosses. I think they were generally fine with some being pretty great and some being rather bad. I won't go into specifics but atleast one of them is frustratingly hard to hit unless you get lucky with his movement after which he becomes trivial. The final boss is probably the hardest one and again relies too much on randomness. But the second to last fight for example was great. The difficulty of the game didn't really bother me, it's hard but not that hard and I'd say it's almost never unfair.

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Overall however, the gameplay is fairly gripping and I did finish the game in only several long sessions so it's certainly not boring. So yeah, this was a fun experience despite some frustrations and a few baffling design choices. It's like a 7/10 for me and I might give it another playthrough to see what I missed.


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