We've spent a bunch of time trying to best Cellar Door Games genealogical roguelite sequel.
A little while ago, Cellar Door Games, launched the sequel to its roguelite metroidvania game Rogue Legacy. Known simply as Rogue Legacy 2, this game looked to expand on what the original offered, by serving up a similar challenging and punishing style of gameplay that sees you playing as an entire dynasty of mostly dysfunctional warriors. With the release being in the books, I've been playing Rogue Legacy 2, and while I have been thoroughly entertained, it's clear that this is not one for the faint-hearted. Let me explain why.
The opening stages of this game is fraught with failure. But that's expected as you begin this overwhelming roguelite adventure and become familiar with the mechanics, the control scheme, and what it is you're actually expected to do. Rogue Legacy 2 barely holds your hand at all, and it's your duty to explore and survive the world, discovering lore and permanent upgrades all to be able to open new areas, reach new places, and generally actually knock out some progress. This is why the start feels rewardingly progressive, as despite the fact that you're really not getting anywhere in the actual storyline, you are amassing an understanding of the game, and even acquiring a bunch of permanent upgrades using the gold gathered on a run.
For a few hours, this is pretty much how the gameplay unravels. You continue earning gold, acquiring upgrades, and keep routinely throwing yourself into the world to be able to challenge the boss-level foes that highlight each region of the map, which usually results in death. If you do manage to defeat one, then you get the next major upgrade, which can be used to move into the next area of the map, wherein the cycle pretty much starts anew.
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The catch with this system in my eyes is that you are going to need a bunch of time to get the perfect character, with plenty of upgrades to boot, to be able to make a dent in Rogue Legacy 2, otherwise, you'll be stuck in what feels like an endless cycle, constantly getting increasingly minor upgrades (as prices increase as you continue to purchase upgrades) by just chugging through the first section of the map. It becomes tiring and boring, as you begin to feel as though that punishingly progressive system is shifting and becoming simply more punishing than really anything else.
Now, I know what you're thinking: this is where skill comes into the equation. And it does, you do need to have an affinity for platforming and roguelite combat to succeed in Rogue Legacy 2, as there comes a time when you simply have to prove that you are capable enough to get the job done and advance. But, as there is a lot of randomness to this title, that's not always the easiest thing to just do.
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For example, you might start a fresh run where your selection of available heroes spans a Chef, Assassin, and a Ranger. But the catch is, the Ranger has a perk that flips the screen upside down in return for a multiplayer on any gold you pick up - a modifier that makes playing very challenging, ruling this chap out. So, you turn to the Chef, who has a modifier that puts a spotlight on them, meaning you can only see a portion of the level surrounding the character as the rest is blacked out, all once again for a gold modifier - and hence making the Chef a poor choice. This leaves the Assassin, who doesn't really have any negative effects, aside from the fact that he suffers from clown syndrome and looks like a circus worker, and is a vegan. So, you take the Assassin into combat. The main concern here is that the Assassin may not be your best character and you do not have the level of practice to succeed with this class in the incredibly demanding boss encounters and during the increasingly difficult stages that follow that.
Essentially, Rogue Legacy 2 does suffer a bit from the age old problem of the roguelike/roguelite sub-genre, which is that often, the random nature will bite you and put you on the backfoot. If you have the will and determination to accept this and work past this, then what Cellar Door Games has served up is a very engaging product.
Because, Rogue Legacy 2 is incredibly deep and very polished. The gameplay feels tight and responsive, and the visuals and the art style are brilliant and highlights. It's truly a game that if you can muster up the strength to keep powering through, you will continually discover ways to entertain yourself, be it through completing the challenging Fairy Chests for weapon/armour blueprints, or through spending gold on relics and other goodies that can help you on your way.
Don't expect to jump into Rogue Legacy 2 with the intention of beating it in a few hours, because that is absolutely not going to be the case. But, if you are looking for a new roguelite experience, one that you can continue to return to and chip away at, then Cellar Door Games sequel might just be the game for you.
8 / 10
Very polished. Looks great. Plenty of depth. Combat is tight and rewardingly challenging.
Random nature is often a hindrance. Repeatable nature does become a little tedious after a while.