It’s not every day you try a game that popularized a genre! Two years after its debut with early access, Rogue Legacy 2 enters the rogue lite arena once and for all on PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series. As you have probably understood, it is the sequel to the excellent Rogue Legacy (2013) that was able to update this very special formula where everything is based on randomly generated levels. A game as cool as Spelunky or Binding of Isaac. In short, the task is heavy for the Cellar Door Games studio, especially after an early entry that is more worrying than compelling. What does it ultimately yield?
Test performed on PC. Rogue Legacy 2 has also been available on Xbox One and Xbox Series since April 28, 2022.
We will not lie to you, we laid our hands on Rogue Legacy 2 with some excitement. Beyond all that the first episode brought to the genre, it’s most exciting to know how Cellar Door Games took on the challenge of “modern rogue-lite”. The game’s early access raised some concerns about this (despite welcome news) with a formula that was almost identical to the first Rogue Legacy. But in 2022 we can not really make rogue lite anymore like we did in 2013. In the meantime, other games have established themselves as the new references in the field – Hades, Dead Cells – with reinforced concrete arguments, both in terms of artistic direction, narrative and gameplay. For the Cellar Door Games studio, it is impossible to track its course without attempting to rise to their height. You know what? Rogue Legacy 2 is on its way.
Not like the others
But before we get into the details, let’s review the basics first. As in the first installment, Rogue Legacy 2 gives you control over a bloodline. You do not play one and the same hero throughout the adventure, but several of his descendants. Thereby, every time your avatar falls in battle, it needs to be replaced and choose another from three suitors of the same blood. Never fear, the wealth that the deceased has accumulated is automatically transferred to his heir – with the exception of Relics, temporary bonuses earned along the way. Enough to unlock permanent improvements during game hours (increase health, physical / magic damage, unlock new hero classes, and characters with useful services). Not to mention very handy magic equipment and runes that you must first find the chart for.
But apart from a good circle based on big money and a family relationship, the heirs do not have much in common. simply because their class and “traits” vary with each new generation. In other words, you can easily spend an hour in the company of an ordinary warrior before continuing with a mage suffering from dwarfism. The recipe already existed in the first Rogue Legacy but has been greatly expanded here, with many and varied features – both practical and completely crazy – and which renew the pleasure throughout the adventure (counts about fifteen hours). Same observation for the classes, which has been the subject of even more remarkable work. There are fifteen in total, and they all seemed relevant to us, well-balanced every time we reserved new weapons / features: Overall, the gameplay in Rogue Legacy 2 is also particularly accurate and efficient. These classes you will unlock them throughout the game thanks to a skill tree. And you will be more or less “forced” to try them with the choice of three descendants after each failure. But it is for the best: all in all, the progression is varied, rhythmic and very fluid.
Ad vitamin aeternam mesh?
Feature in Rogue Legacy 2: you can not gather the wealth of your ancestors forever. When you find death, you pick up just before the entrance to the dungeon where the skill tree is and the stalls to buy permanent upgrades. And to go on adventures again, you will have to empty your pockets completely, even if you have a few cents left after your purchase. Charon, famously borrowed entirely from Greek mythology, keeps the boat to take you to the crypt and will be irreconcilable. Note, however, that you can mitigate this sentence by using a skill.
Rogue Legacy 2 – A Happy Swimming Mage (Gameplay)
So you begin to understand the loop in this Rogue Legacy 2. We get lost in randomly generated levels, we die with our pockets full of money – at best – and we return to the starting point to unlock permanent improvements, and so on. So far, there is nothing surprising for the genre. But Cellar Door Games does not like to do something like everyone else with a structure closer to metroidvania than traditional rogue lite. In fact, you do not have to play the game from A to Z and at once to reach the final boss. The latter actually waits wisely at the start of the adventure, right at the point where you start each “race”. But to unlock its door, you must first face six other bosses hiding in the heart of six areas. As soon as you defeat one, the enemy will be validated forever. You will see, it’s a relief.
Fights that will not be easy, as against ordinary opponents. The last bosses embody real challenges that will no doubt require some farming. But Rogue Legacy 2 may be demanding, but it always gives the feeling of moving on. A very good point. A concrete example: you sometimes have to find specific strengths to flirt with the bosses. We are talking, for example, about a double jump, the possibility of jumping in the air. Forces separate from relics and properties that will surely be yours as soon as they are obtained. Finally, Rogue Legacy 2 can even activate permanent portals to teleport from the entrance to the boundaries of the dungeon. Even more surprising is the ability to freeze the last crossed levels, preventing the world from regenerating randomly. Convenient not to go all the way back before a boss. But in either case, you have to give back a large portion of your fortune. Finally, note the presence of accessibility options, to reduce damage, aim in slow motion or even fly, or even make the game much more difficult.
In fact, no matter where you look, Rogue Legacy 2 feels like it has been thought through absolutely every aspect. A feeling that could not be more comfortable. And again, these would mean that you have to spend for these processes. Cellar Door Games even has the luxury of having a pleasant little scenario to follow, about the fall of the empire, which serves as a setting for the adventure. Everything has the form of letters to find, giving clues to certain obligatory objects and some juicy secrets and further accompanying the rhythm and the constant sense of progress. But there are also 2.5D visuals and audio tracks, both very successful. All in all, here is a first-class coating to serve a varied level of design, sometimes limited, open, vertical or even thrown out in the dark. In terms of technology, we regret rare braking on the PC, which, however, never disrupted the ongoing action. Ditto, small regret over certain punishments for heroes, sometimes crazy to the point that they get – too – embarrassing (the title reserves a gold bonus depending on the most serious cases). Other than that, the copy is pretty flawless.
- Truly sublime formula
- Accurate and addictive gameplay
- 15 varied and top classes
- More than solid progress
- Lots of “features” to discover
- Both fun and epic
- Visuals and soundtrack also good
- Accessibility options
- Punish sometimes too restrictive
- Some braking (PC)
Addictive, varied, precise, coherent, relevant, Rogue Legacy 2 serves as the ideal sequel to the cult 2013 game that popularized rogue lite. But more than doing better at absolutely all levels (classes, weapons, character traits), the Cellar Door Games studio sets a new benchmark in the genre thanks to a clever mix of metroidvania and randomly generated levels. It’s simple, it all works like hell for. Never frustrating, always giving the feeling of moving forward, constantly reviving the pleasure of the game with different powers and heroes to embody, Rogue Legacy 2 returns and marks the rogue lite with a red iron. One of the best games of 2022.
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By IndiaJournalist jeuxvideo.com