Reviews - Updated on April 28, 2022

Relevant for the platform: XBOXSX

Rogue Legacy 2 has been brewing in Steam Early Access for almost two years, and this week the release version will appear on PC and Xbox consoles. A little less than ten years have passed since the release of the first part, which became one of the iconic “bagels”, and since then the genre has managed to develop noticeably. Fortunately, the authors understood this very well, and therefore multiplied several times everything that the original was remembered for, adding a bunch of cool innovations.

Huge Leap

Looking at the first Rogue Legacy after dozens of hours spent in the sequel is pretty sad. Graphics that seemed stylish now look poor. And the locations differ in colors, but structurally the rooms in them are almost identical. At the same time, I adored the original: I spent a lot of time in it and at one time received all the achievements in it, except for the one that required completing the entire game in five attempts – this is already beyond my strength.

The sequel looks o-o-very cute.

The sequel looks o-o-very cute.

Rogue Legacy 2 manages to evoke the same vivid emotions, while meeting modern quality standards. Graphically, the sequel is much more solid: beautiful backdrops, a lot of crashing objects, better animations and special effects – the game now attracts attention not only with the gameplay, but also with the picture.

Biomes are very different from each other and boast unique features. The Kerguelen Plateau is a snow-covered area where snowdrifts slow down the character. The Tower of the Sun is indeed a tower, the “rooms” outside of which are gigantic areas by the standards of the series. Axis of the World – several very long sections glued together, where a map is not needed. When you explore regions for the first time, you get new impressions, because everything changes: the environment, the approach to combat, and even mechanics.

In the Tower of the Sun, you will have to demonstrate the wonders of acrobatics.

And since this is a “bagel”, the cards change after each death. The procedural generation works great and has rarely made me mad at the monotonous rooms. And if you come across a design that you have already seen before, thanks to the change of opponents, you don’t even think about it. Maybe you will come across flying shields, like a Frisbee, hurrying in your direction. Or skeletons throwing bones. Or magicians, releasing one or more projectiles. The variety is huge – there are no problems with the bestiary, although some of the enemies migrated here from the first part.

Each one is good

What pleases me most is how much attention the authors paid to the classes of heroes. Like the original, in Rogue Legacy 2 you don’t play as the same character, but as the heirs of dead people. Their characteristics differ significantly, and above all, their features are unique. Some are small, some are huge. One slowly falls, the other does not find food or gold. Stupid modifications like black-and-white or even an inverted screen have not gone anywhere, but they are much less common than in the first part.

“Lucky” with the character – and there are few flowers, and every moving object leaves a trace. But you can play even in such conditions – if only the screen was not turned upside down.

In addition, different candidates (before the next attempt they are given a choice of three heroes) have different abilities. There are spells that cost mana: either you will release a billiard ball, or create a thundercloud over your head, or poison or set fire to targets. And there is a class skill. A block with a shield that “eats” part of the damage, or a quick teleport over a short distance – here it is also impossible to guess what you will come across, since there are a lot of variations.

As a result, the classes play in completely different ways, which is not the case with the first Rogue Legacy. Take bards – their lute releases notes that freeze in one place, and if you hit them from above, they will cause damage in a large area. Terribly fun in spacious locations. And the dragon spearmen charge the blow and rush forward, severely maiming the first target they come across. Astromancers generally create black holes. Different heroes shoot from a pistol while hovering in the air, deftly swing a rapier, quickly wield daggers … Not everyone is good in all situations, and it’s more difficult for some classes to fight against bosses than others, but this cannot spoil the fun – in case of failure, you just take the next heir and quickly you go back.

With one of the traits, enemies will leave behind exploding potions. The main thing is to remember this.

The development tree has also increased noticeably in size. It is still designed in the form of a castle, which we rebuild by purchasing improvements. There is a mountain of all kinds of bonuses: both classes, and increases in health with strength, and new opportunities in the starting location. In my opinion, prices become too high over time – even after a more or less successful race, very few upgrades can be purchased, although it is proposed to invest dozens of times in some improvements. Not critical, but still the progress system suffers a little because of this.

However, over time, you still become much stronger and more agile, and at the same time, tricks turn out to be more deadly. For example, the kick hasn’t gone away – it’s an overhead kick, which is performed by a separate button. You can use it to bounce off opponents (moreover, some of them can only be defeated in this way), and from some objects, which allows you to reach high platforms. The dash, as before, is used to overcome obstacles, but it does not absorb enemy projectiles – but one of the upgrades allows you to reduce the damage received during its application.

And these are not all possible improvements.

And these are not all possible improvements.

fresh ideas

One of the cool things about Rogue Legacy 2 has to do with determination, which determines how rich your next run will be. Resolve depends on the weight of the armor equipped, and the less you have equipped, the higher the indicator. And determination is spent on relics – at times on the way there are rooms with two bonuses to choose from. Their description is initially hidden, but usually they are significant buffs – increased damage from hits on the ground, restoration of health with critical hits, or gaining mana when damaged. There are dozens of relics, which also makes the next race unlike the previous ones.

Plus a lot of notes that reveal the universe and tell the whole story. Plus curio shops that change your talents, spells and weapons, giving a bonus blessing. Plus challenges in the spirit of Guacamelee!, granting new abilities or improving existing ones. Plus puzzle rooms where you need to get to the chest without jumping or taking damage. And there – drawings of armor and weapons, as well as mountains of valuable currency. Plus all kinds of runes with the most valuable bonuses, as well as the “challenges” associated with them. Well, the story and intermediate bosses, among which there is not a single boring one – it can be hard to defeat them, but you return to them not without pleasure. Except maybe the last boss – with him there can be a lot of difficulties.

I had to take damage to take a screenshot.

I had to take damage to take a screenshot.

There was a place in the sequel for riddles. There is a grandpa in the starting location, offering to take part in exciting trials (Scars of Erebus), but you cannot immediately get access to them. As you explore the world, you find vague clues and must guess where to look for the object that will unlock the next Scar. The cleaner you pass the tests, the better the prizes – they represent the souls needed to buy new elements of the castle and some other bonuses.

Just the beginning

After the first passage, the game is not going to let you go, but hints that you have only seen the tip of the iceberg. At first, she surprises with an unexpected plot twist, and then a new face appears among the familiar merchants, upon interaction with which a menu with threads of fate opens. These are some kind of modifiers that change the conditions. They increase the strength and health of enemies, grant them the ability to steal your health, evolve more often (they look the same, but acquire new skills), or even become faster.

Some types of weapons can be found exclusively in the Curiosities Shop and can be obtained for free, but they are rare.

Some types of weapons can be found exclusively in the Curiosities Shop and can be obtained for free, but they are rare.

In other words, this is New Game+ – you choose which modifiers you want to see in the new version of the world, and defeat all the bosses again. Castle upgrades remain in place, gained as you progress through an ability like a double jump, too. But there are more details about the universe, and among the legendary weapons and relics you notice new instances. The choice of modifiers depends only on your tastes – either simply increase the health of enemies to pick them longer, or immediately complicate your task and bestow devastating skills on monsters.

There are also settings for those who find the game difficult, although the developers do not recommend switching to them on the first playthrough. You can reduce the damage done to you, turn on the flight, turn off character traits completely, and activate slow time when aiming. The option that disables enemy contact damage is curious – this mechanic seemed controversial both in the first part and in the sequel while it was in early access, and now players have a legal opportunity to get rid of it.

Unfortunately, bitten by a clown has no significant bonuses.

Unfortunately, bitten by a clown has no significant bonuses.

You can and want to talk about Rogue Legacy 2 all the time – it’s hard to tear yourself away from it even after the first passage. Dozens of hours later, I encountered characters with unexplored traits and unidentified relics, and a huge variety of rooms and enemies made each run unique. In terms of quality and quantity of content, the game is hardly inferior to other representatives of the genre – the developers managed not only to keep the best elements of the first part, but also to implement many great new ideas.

Pros: still the same insanely addictive gameplay; old ideas have been developed, and new ones have blended in remarkably and greatly diversified the gameplay; many types of enemies, relics and other variables, thanks to which the next passage is unlike the previous one; classes radically differ from each other both in combat and skills; all locations are unique and offer different mechanics; excellent visual style; after passing, I want to return to the game again and again, since the authors paid enough attention to the endgame.

Cons: complicated final boss; tower upgrades get expensive pretty quickly.

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