It’s not every day that you try a game that popularized a genre! Two years after its early access debut, Rogue Legacy 2 is entering the rogue-lite arena once and for all, on PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series. As you will have understood, it is the sequel to the excellent Rogue Legacy (2013) that has managed to update this very specific formula, where everything is based on randomly generated levels. A game as cult as Spelunky or Binding of Isaac. In short, the task is tough for the Cellar Door Games studio, especially after an early access that is more worrisome than convincing. What will it ultimately yield?
Test performed on PC. Rogue Legacy 2 will also be available on Xbox One and Xbox Series since April 28, 2022.
We won’t lie to you, we’ve got our hands on Rogue Legacy 2 with any enthusiasm. Besides everything the first installment brought to the genre, it’s especially exciting to know how Cellar Door Games took on the challenge of “modern rogue-lite”. Early access to the game raised some concerns about this (despite welcome novelties) with a formula nearly identical to the first Rogue Legacy† But in 2022 we can’t do roguelite like we did in 2013† Because 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, narration and gameplay. For the Cellar Door Games studio, it’s impossible to follow its course without trying to rise to their height. You know what ? Rogue Legacy 2 is coming.
Not like the others
But before we get into the details, let’s take a look at the basics. Just like in the first episode, Rogue Legacy 2 puts you in control of 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 must be replaced and choose another from three suitors of the same blood. Have no fear, the wealth accumulated by the deceased is automatically transferred to his heir – with the exception of relics, temporary bonuses that are accumulated along the way. Enough to unlock permanent improvements over the hours of play (increase health, physical/magic damage, unlock new hero classes and characters with useful services). Not to mention very practical magical equipment and runes, for which you first have to find the diagram.
But outside of a virtuous circle based on a lot of money and a family relationship, the heirs don’t have much in common. just because their class and “traits” vary with each new generation† In other words, you may well spend an hour in the company of a very ordinary warrior before moving on to a mage who suffers from dwarfism. The recipe already existed in the first Rogue Legacy, but it’s expanded greatly here, with many and varied features – both practical and completely crazy – that renew the fun during the adventure (count about fifteen hours). The same observation for the lessons, which were the subject of even more remarkable work. There are fifteen of them in total and they all seemed relevant to us, well balanced, each time reserving new weapons / subtleties: in general, the gameplay of Rogue Legacy 2 is also very accurate and effective. These classes are unlocked throughout the game thanks to a skill tree. And you are more or less “forced” to try them with the selection of three offspring after each failure. But it’s for the best: all in all, the course is varied, rhythmic and very fluid.
Ad vitam aeternam mesh?
Special feature in Rogue Legacy 2: you cannot accumulate the wealth of your ancestors forever† Whenever you find death, pick it up right in front of the dungeon entrance, where there’s the skill tree and the stalls to buy permanent upgrades. And to go on an adventure again, you’ll have to empty your pockets completely, even if you have a few pennies left after shopping. Charon, famous hero borrowed from Greek mythology, will hold the boat to take you to the crypt and will be unyielding. Note that you can soften this sentence with a skill, however.
Rogue Legacy 2 – A Happy Swimming Magician (Gameplay)
So you’re starting to understand the loop of this Rogue Legacy 2. We get lost in randomly generated levels, we die with pockets full of money – at best – and we return to them to unlock permanent improvements, etc. . So far nothing surprising for the genre. But Cellar Door Games doesn’t like to do things like everyone else, with a structure closer to metroidvania than traditional rogue-lite† In fact, you don’t have to play the game from A to Z and reach the final boss in one go. The latter actually sensibly waits at the start of the adventure, at the spot where you start each “run”. But to open the door, you must first encounter six other bosses hiding in the heart of six areas. Once you defeat one, the enemy is validated for good. You will see, it is a relief.
Battles that will not be easy, like against ordinary opponents. The final bosses embody real challenges that no doubt require a bit of farming. But Rogue Legacy 2 may be demanding, but always gives the feeling of moving forward† A very good point. A concrete example: you will sometimes have to find specific powers to flirt with the bosses. For example, we speak of a double jump, the ability to jump in the air. Powers different from relics and properties that will be yours, once acquired. Ultimately, Rogue Legacy 2 can even activate permanent portals to teleport from the entrance to the dungeon boundaries. Even more surprising is the ability to freeze the last levels, preventing the world from randomly regenerating. Handy for not going all the way back for a boss. But in both cases you have to give back a large part of your assets. Finally, pay attention to 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, wherever you look, Rogue Legacy 2 feels like every aspect has been thought through† A feeling that couldn’t be nicer. And again, we haven’t told you everything. Cellar Door Games even has the luxury of having a pleasant little scenario to follow, about the fall of the empire that serves as the framework for the adventure. Everything takes the form of letters to find, giving clues to certain obligatory items and some juicy secrets, further accompanying the rhythm and the constant sense of progress. But there are also the 2.5D visuals and the soundtrack, both very successful. All in all, here’s a top-notch coating to serve a varied level design, sometimes limited, open, vertical, or even shrouded in darkness. On the technical side, we regret rare delays on PC, which, however, never disrupted the ongoing action. Ditto, minor regrets of certain punishments for heroes, sometimes so crazy it gets – too – embarrassing (the title reserves a gold bonus depending on the most serious cases). Furthermore, the copy is quite error-free.
- Truly sublime formula
- Accurate and addictive gameplay
- 15 varied and top classes
- More than solid progress
- Many “features” to discover
- Both funny and epic
- Picture and soundtrack also good
- Accessibility Settings
- Sanctions sometimes too restrictive
- Single delays (PC)
Addictive, varied, precise, coherent, relevant, Rogue Legacy 2 serves as the ideal sequel to the 2013 cult game that popularized rogue-lite. But more than doing better on every level (classes, weapons, 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, the whole thing works like hell. Never frustrating, always making you feel like you’re moving forward, constantly reviving the fun 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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