Rogue Legacy 2 Review – IGN

Back in 2013, the original Rogue Legacy added a revolutionary twist to the standard roguelike formula: Instead of losing everything by death, you’re able to spend your currency on permanent upgrades that make each subsequent run just a little bit easier . This kickstarted an entire subgenre called roguelites, which now includes such incredible games as Hades, Returnal, Dead Cells and many more. It’s a scary landscape to return to nine years later, but Rogue Legacy 2 is a sequel that wisely does not attempt to reinvent the wheel. Instead, it successfully modernizes its appearance, premises and mechanics to meet the stricter modern standards of the genre and refines designed for razor sharpness.

Rogue Legacy 2 feels like a recreated version of what the first game could have been in terms of more time, money and hindsight of how the genre has evolved since 2009. The basic premise is still the same and still as strong as ever before: You play as a hero with a random name, class, and quirky character traits; explore a massive, procedurally generated castle; collect prey; and attempts to beat bosses. When you die, you lose all the progress you have made in that race (except defeated bosses or unlocked portals), but you are able to use the prey you have accumulated to buy a large number of permanent, but incremental upgrades that are inherited by your relatives.

So it’s very much the same plan, but pretty much every individual aspect of that premise has been transformed for the better. First, each class has their own distinctive weapons, talent, passive abilities, and stats, which make them play incredibly differently from each other from the jump. As an example, my favorite class, Valkyrie, is super well-rounded. She comes with a large polar arm that can be used to swipe in four directions, Hollow Knight style, and also has a special talent that lets her turn her weapon and deflect small projectiles, with each bullet deflected refilling her mana. Compare that to the barbarian who uses a slow but powerful ax that can only attack left or right while on the ground, but when used in the air it sends him out in a constant spinning attack that can make great injury in skilled hands.

What’s particularly cool about these 13 classes is that they each have a special way of reliably doing critical damage if you’re able to use their weapons skillfully. These are aptly called skill criteria, and for many characters it can be as simple as just attacking while crashing into an enemy, but for others it may be making sure you land with the tip of your sword, or that strike the third blow of a three-hit barrage, or to land an attack just after an elusive throw, and so on. Not only is it a great way to differentiate the classes even more, but also to reward those who really make an effort to learn how to use each of them effectively.

While I always got the chance to use the Valkyrie when they showed up in the random selection of three heroes at the start of each new race, I never complained about having to use a class that I was not so familiar with. Each class presents its own pros and cons, and it was always fun to play on their strengths and try to get around their weaknesses.

I never regretted having to use a class I was not familiar with.

And there’s a lot of variation in that, because your class is not the only thing randomly assigned to your hero: each character also has the potential to be burdened with a random trait that can be either a blessing or a curse. These character traits are usually based on real-world conditions, so you can roll a character with color blindness and have to play your whole life in monochrome; or a character may be prone to panic attacks, causing the screen to darken each time they are hit; or maybe they become vegans, which causes you to be harmed by eating meat as opposed to being healed by it. Many of these return from the original Rogue Legacy, but there are still plenty of new ones that add interesting new wrinkles to each run, or that at least are likely to elicit a laugh.

The first few times you see them, traits can be fun ways to give a little variety to each run, and some are even required to find certain secrets, but eventually some of their gimmicks start to get thin. The most disabling ones, such as the peculiarity of pacifism, which removes your ability to deal with any harm, come with incentives that can dramatically increase the amount of gold you collect while being hit by them, but I never found it worth considering to what extent they hindered my playing style. Luckily, each new series of Rogue Legacy allows you to choose from three randomly rolled characters, and very rarely did I ever find myself having to pick a character that had a trait that was lousy to play with.

Never a wasted race

The extended class system is amazing, but what really makes Rogue Legacy feel exponentially bigger and bolder than its predecessor is its vast and diverse interconnected world. There are six unique locations in Rogue Legacy 2, and unlike the original four – which basically felt very similar without having different enemies, a few different space layouts and a distinct background – the areas in Rogue Legacy 2 all offer unique challenges. One extends horizontally and requires you to island-hop while trying to avoid cunningly placed arrow traps and fight against enemies in very cramped neighborhoods; another takes the opposite approach and requires you to climb upward with precise platform sections. A third is like a maze and has low visibility and requires you to use landmarks to find the general direction of the areas of interest that you need to explore before you can reach the boss.

Monitors – Rogue Legacy 2

Progression is closed by powerful bosses as well as special artifacts, called heirlooms, that provide permanent upgrades that add a new facet to both exploration and combat, whether it’s the ability to double jump, jump in the air or jump out of special types of projectiles or hazards. Each heirloom is also preceded by a quick tutorial section that does a wonderful job of teaching you the practical uses of each new ability so you will never be surprised or confused by some of the clever tricks used both in platform challenges , and in hiding various secrets. It was always exciting to get a new heirloom, not only because they almost always unlocked a new part of the map, but also because they almost always gave me a way to avoid being hit by certain enemy attacks. Whether it’s running through empty energy, jumping off electricity or just taking an extra touch to get out of a bad spot, the extra mobility is a huge defensive boost that helps extend each life significantly.

Heirlooms are not the only things of interest to find when exploring Rogue Legacy 2’s unusually dangerous spaces. There are a large number of relics to discover that can give game-changing buffs, very risky trade-offs, and sometimes both thanks to a Resolve statistic that reduces your maximum health if you try to equip too many of them at once. You can also pick up weapons and spells outside of the one your class starts with, drawings that can be used to buy new gear on subsequent runs, and runes that can also be purchased and equipped to further enhance your favorite playing style by doing things which, adds lifesteal to your attacks, gives you an extra jump or dash, or increases the amount of damage you do on critical hits.

Every run feels meaningful

And all of this adds up to the one thing I love most about Rogue Legacy 2: Every run feels meaningful. Even if you do not beat a boss, unlock a heirloom, open a shortcut or do something that gives you a sense of significant permanent development, the chances of you finding a new plan are gathered enough gold to buy a new one. upgrade or two at the castle, experiment with a new character class, learn what a new trait does, find new knowledge, or do something that taught you a lesson in dealing with a particular type of enemy or trap. And if you did not do any of these things, well then … chances are it was a super short race and you probably did not invest too much in that character anyway.

Coming back stronger

There are so many decisions to make when it comes to improving your character between races that it can get a little overwhelming, and the unfortunate reality is that it is very possible to make bad decisions about what permanent upgrades and unlockings you need to spend your gold on and leave your saved file in a rough place. In part, this is because when you buy 15 upgrades, each new one increases the amount of gold required to purchase a subsequent upgrade. It’s not a big deal at first, but when you reach level 50 or so, even low level upgrades make it prohibitively expensive.

This caused me to hit a significant roadblock in my first throughput because I made the bad decision to try to spread my points around and expand my mansion so I could see what all the upgrades were. The advantage was that I got unlocked and experimented with a lot of different classes, but the downside was that my stats were under-leveled to appropriately handle the increased difficulty in later areas, and it was unusually difficult to survive long enough and gather enough prey . to be able to upgrade these statistics more than just one or two points at a time. As a result, I had to paint. My first throughput diminished to a requirement in the last two areas, and the thrilling sense of progression that made the first half so exciting became a painfully slow IV drip. It was some mess I did myself, but I wish there was some sort of opportunity to reset the mansion upgrades that would have allowed me to dig myself out of the hole I fell into. The good news for you is , that now that you have read this, you will not make the same mistake.

A really good addition that Rogue Legacy 2 brings to the table is a set of options called “House Rules.” These are values ​​and sliders that can be used to adjust the difficulty level to your liking, whether it’s by making it easier and turning down enemy damage or health, making it harder by screwing these values ​​up or more accessible by hitting things like unlimited flight, disabling damage from enemy contact, or turning on time reduction while aiming. Although I personally chose to leave these settings alone and play as the designers intended, it’s wonderful that Cellar Door Games included difficulty and accessibility options that go beyond the usual easy, normal, and hard levels, providing all the ability to customize settings to their own needs.

No matter how you complete the campaign (my first round took about 16 hours), reaching the end of Rogue Legacy 2 will only be the beginning, as the content after the game is expansive. When you beat the final boss, you gain access to a new NPC that presents a list of modifiers called Burdens, which are transferred to your next replay and do things like increase the damage to enemies, add harder variations of certain enemies, or add a brand new version of an existing boss fight. At each level of New Game +, you must add two more burdens; so at NG + 1 there are two burdens; NG + 2, four burdens and so on. It’s a really smart way to keep the challenge fresh, while also giving us control over the type of difficulties we would like to face in our next run.