BLEED 2 Review – Blood Creepin’

THERE STILL ISN’T ANY BLOOD, COME ON BOOTDIS–

Back in August, Ian Campbell AKA Bootdisk Revolution released his old 360 XBLIG baby to the current-gen consoles, BLEED. It was alright, it’s a competent emulation of the NES titles it was trying to invigorate the idea with, and despite its extremely short length, it still had fun and bright ideas behind it. Now, Bootdisk, Digerati and Nephilim Studios have sought to finally bring the sequel to consoles, with roughly the same effect.

Digerati Distribution has been a publishing see-saw of quality, as of late. On one hand, you get charming titles filled with vibrant life, like today’s title, Letter Quest, The Aquatic Adventure of The Last Human, and The Coma: Recut. Yet, they also have titles like Albert & Otto, Ink, and Three Fourths Home. With a resume like that, you never know what to expect when they have a new indie game on the block.

 

BLEED 2 continues the story of Wryn, the “Greatest Hero Of All Time” who only got that title because she killed every other hero that challenged her in the original. Now, there’s a new threat, and by new, I mean half of it consists of monsters from the original, but a step forward is a step, regardless of the distance, so let’s jump in and become the Greatest Hero Of All Time… again.

If you played the original, or indeed, saw the review we did of the original, you’d know that it was pretty much an NES tribute through and through. It didn’t feel like any progress was made in the goal of carving out an identity, and the only thing it had going for it was some spectacularly designed boss battles. Here, everything has been upgraded a bit, with the fatty parts shredded off.

Gameplay is tighter, thanks to the much more refined level design, and Bootdisk no longer cutting off perfect progress due to hidden mechanics. The environments and gunfights are significantly more bombastic and beautiful to watch, the soundtrack is more significant and electric, not a single boss fight was wasted, and Wryn is still her adorable self.

 

With the mechanics set in stone right from the get-go, battles are now much more satisfying to complete. You’re still going to die a lot, especially on the Very Hard mode, where bosses will use Wryn as a purple back-scratcher until you figure out the patterns, but when that boss turns into shrapnel? Bliss, sheer bliss that equals stuff like Cuphead and Hush from The Binding of Issac. 

Everything that a sequel should be, is present and radiates throughout BLEED 2. The useless shit has been sacrificed and has been replaced with more worthwhile additions. The challenge mode is still a frantic test of one’s own skills, the new endless mode is an interesting delve into procedurally-generated 10-minute adventures… it’s all really fun to delve through.

HOWEVER. Despite all this, BLEED 2 is still the same game that it was before: An hour-long burnout that is forgotten about right after you complete it. This isn’t BLEED 2, this is a 1.5, at best. It’s story DLC that’s masquerading as a full game, and it breaks my blackened heart to say it. As much as everything has been refined to a mirror shine, it’s hard to say whether or not the game is worth its price tag.

 

Even though the difficulty might be balanced at first, they do turn into a cakewalk later on. The main nemesis Valentine springs to mind when all of her attacks are telegraphed with a ceremony, serenaded with flowers and horns. There’s no real incentive to try for an SSS rank either, due to the ranking system still being stupidly misaligned with everything else, even with the few upgrades that have been established in the sequel.

This review might seem like its underwritten, but that’s because BLEED 2 is objectively a repeating underachiever. It offers the same thrills, the same skills, and the same kills, and even though there’s more beauty in the fights, there’s still no substance behind them. As much as the game flourishes with style, it simply isn’t enough. Sorry, Ian.

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