The Game Kitchen (studio)
06 August 2020 (released)
22 August 2020
Blasphemous was a top-notch game in 2019, making our top ten of 2019’s best games. In 2020 it’s still pretty good, but there were some problems that needed addressing. Namely spiked floors, tedious traversal, and some BS moments with certain enemies. But now, The Game Kitchen and Team 17 have decided to bring us an epic and free update to make things even better and resolve some of these problems Plus adding more to the lore.
What’s been added?
So this is an immense DLC package that’s adding much more to a great game and best of all, it’s free. The main addition to this DLC is short but memorable side quest that adds another couple of layers to the already compelling and disturbing lore. The Stir of Dawn storyline adds in several new bosses, new abilities and areas for the Penitent One to explore and conquer.
Players will discover a new NPC buried deep within the Holy Line outside the Church of Silent Sorrows. This tormented soul will guide players across Cvstodia in order to find a long lost victim of the Miracle, one with tremendous power. The Penitent One’s quest will lead him to fighting this individual’s fractured physique through a number of deadly duels, each one tougher than the last.
While the quest itself is not massive and namely results in finding key locations that allow you to trigger these boss battles, it is still very engaging and the fights are pretty epic. Plus the new music that accompanies the fights is truly brilliant.
There are also new NPCs, new abilities and perks that aid you through your quest. All of them are very much welcome and give the player a couple of new advantages in another gruelling journey.
The biggest addition though?
There is now a new game plus mode! In the same vein as Bloodborne and Dark Souls, once you finish the game you will get the chance to play again with all the items gathered through the previous playthrough. This time however, it’s just more difficult! Ascending to the new difficulty is pretty tough and there are moments which will truly test you. But if you’re a pro like me, then it’s not so bad. But one dynamic which has been introduced will make your blood boil (in a good way). There are now Patiences which you equip at the start of the game and each one will have a devastating effect on the game.
These include taking more damage, enemies respawning once you re-enter an area and much more. For the ultimate Blaspehmous challenge, I’d suggest equipping one of these and find out what true suffering really is!
What’s been improved?
Now this DLC also hosts plenty of improvements to the game, including new artwork/backgrounds to bring life to environments which were bland and too dark (such as the collection room where you gather the remains of saints and sinners). These new tweaks and backgrounds do indeed add more to the world of Cvstodia, strengthening the beauty and horror this world incorporates. It doesn’t have an odd feel when you explore a beautiful landscape and come across a room that’s bathed completely in shadow. There are still some rooms which have very little detail (where you upgrade your Favour meter), but this is forgivable. The prison at the top of the map, the library of negative words and a few key rooms have been given new life and make them more richer in atmosphere.
Plus there’s new dialogue options so you can play the game with Spanish voice overs, there are new English voice-overs to replace some of the random and slightly out of place voices in the original version of the game. This is highly welcomed and all that has been changed is for the better. I did enjoy playing Blasphemous in Spanish as it just expanded upon the world building and atmosphere, such as playing Ghost of Tsushima with the Japanese voice-overs.
However, one of the biggest and most epic improvements which really does help the game overall is allowing players to use the altar save points as teleports. Now to unlock this perk, you need to donate your collected currency in the game to a small church in the main town. Once you’ve donated enough, the altars will raise and eventually allow you to teleport between them. This saves so much time and allows backtracking to be a smoother, more enjoyable experience overall.
Plus you can get unlockable skins for the Penitent One and new perks for battle via donating to the church.
What doesn’t work?
Now another feature in the DLC is enemy/environmental hazard balancing, which sounds like, as Charlie Sheen would say “Winning”. However, while certain environmental hazards such as spiked floors have been tweaked and massively improved (not requiring pixel perfect landing on another platform to avoid them and even some of them have been covered with breakable platforms – thank God!!), some enemies are still righteously infuriating and some even more so.
The charging enemies in the prison have become even more of a pain and if they back you into a corner, you can easily die a cheap death. There were a few other instances where smaller enemies would soak up epic blows while some larger enemies just fell flat on their faces after a passing cough (not COVID related I assure you). So I think some tweaking on enemy health and damage still needs to be done. But otherwise, there is nothing that ruins the experience overall in this updated version of Blasphemous.
This is by far one of the best DLCs all year and in recent memory. It’s like when Capcom released Not a Hero, a side story which was awesome and free! The Stir of Dawn DLC adds so much to make a great game even better! It’s truly something to get hold of right now if you own the game. Why even read this review? Go and download it now and go and buy the base game if you don’t own it already!
++ Epic new content
++ Plenty of fixes and tweaks to make the game world even better to explore
- Some enemy balancing is still needed