🎵 The song for this post is Cantes de Confesión, by Carlos Viola for the Blasphemous OST. 🎵
Before I talk about Blasphemous, let's talk about artistic commitment.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://morepablo.com/2019/09/blasphemous.html
The only game listed here that I’ve also played is Ori, which I enjoyed. Here is a sloppy list of some other games I liked that seem to have some similar reasons to play them as the ones you mentioned. I would recommend at least watching a gameplay video of any of them. My opinions on each are subjective, even though they’re all correct.
- 2D-camera linear platforming games
- Little Nightmares - cool art, fairly easy
- Inside - cool art, fairly easy
- Limbo - cool art, fairly easy
- Unravel Two - cool art, fairly easy
- Katana Zero - excellent, fixed all the problems I had with Hotline Miami, Ruiner, and My Friend Pedro, cool art and music
- My Friend Pedro - kind of interesting but a little too clumsy and judgmental for me, forgettable art
- The Final Station - very neat, cool art, right level of challenge for me
- The Hong Kong Massacre - challenging but very fair, excellent music, the best game on this list tied with High Hell below
- 5D-camera (X, Y, Z, pitch, yaw) games
- Superhot - actually an FPS, not a platformer, but I say it actually shares more aesthetics of play with your nonlinear platformers than whichever Call of Duty came out this year
- High Hell - one of the best games I’ve ever played, similar to Superhot in that it’s actually a fun, different, creative FPS
- Dark Souls III - slow and I found the art and environments very samey and boring. I stumbled into another giant labyrinthine cathedral and could not muster up the enthusiasm to keep it installed.
- Sekiro - way too fast for me, not forgiving enough, focuses too much on having fast reflexes and not about learning enemy movesets, not enough character or weapon choice, levels are quite sparse and boring. I liked the fight trainer NPC to learn moves more easily, and that checkpoints refill health potions instead of potions being a consumable item in your inventory that you can and will exhaust like in Bloodborne. If you want to repeatedly be told that you don’t have fast enough reflexes, this is the game for you. Might reinstall it and give it another try if I decide to start abusing performance-enhancing drugs.
- Bloodborne - (rant incoming, summary: it’s the best FromSoft game but that’s not saying much) Better speed for me, fighting bosses still sucks but feels a little more fair, difficult but not impossible to figure out how to play. Still my favorite of the three From Software games because the artwork, levels, outfits, weapons, and moves are cool and not fucking boring like all the rest. It’s sometimes unfairly difficult, instead of always unfairly difficult.
- Sadly it’s a PS4 exclusive, and it’s always locked at 30 FPS, even if you were to shell out for a more powerful, more expensive, and soon-to-be-replaced PS4 Pro. On the plus side, I got it on sale for only $10, so my losses are a lot more cut than if I had wasted $60 on this game that I will in all likelihood not have the talent to finish. If you don’t already have a PS4, I wouldn’t buy one just for this game.
- I therefore am forced to suffer through it on a second-class system without any niceties like 60 FPS, or 3440×1440 px resolution, or the possibility of finding a 100% health and bullets trainer so I can actually learn how to parry without wasting a huge amount of time and resources, or the option to download a save editor to give me more health potions when I inevitably waste them all failing to kill a boss and then have to waste even more time grinding just to find potions and progress at all.
- The trainer thing might sound stupid, but I spent a few minutes doing this in Assassin’s Creed 1 and learned how to counterattack perfectly, and it was orders of magnitude less frustrating and time-consuming than trying to learn this without any help. Thanks to this I was set for the rest of the game series without any help. That’s how you’re supposed to learn things: rapid feedback, low consequence, quick iteration, not the plodding From Software design of every time you die to a boss (or at all) you have to spend minutes of your life running back to where you were, over and over again, forgetting what you did wrong and want to try next time, full of boredom and self-loathing, when you should actually respawn nearby with zero waiting time and little to low resource cost. Halo figured this out in 2001, and lots of great games followed suit, so I don’t know why no one at From Software has bothered to play it or gotten the message after 14 years. Even having customizable difficulty like Celeste, Katana Zero, Wolfenstein or plenty of other games would be a giant improvement.
Ben, thanks for this! I’ll definitely check out a bunch of these. It’s funny, some of your suggestions echo some gut feelings I had about them (My Friend Pedro looked… alright? But I never pulled the trigger on trying it out). Katana Zero has been on my list, happy to hear you liked it
I was also tempted by Sekiro, but it looked like it treated difficulty as almost fetishistic; like, I like a hard game, but I don’t think I’m that kind of masochist. I appreciate your write-up. And Bloodborne… lol I saw a speedrun of it, looked it up subsequently, and don’t think it’s something I’d put a lot of time into, for the very least that I’m not easily able to set up a console setup
And three cheers to save editors/trainers: I feel like there was a time when a lot of us collectively. realized time is pretty scarce and fetch quests suck, so we called out “padding” in games where we saw it. There’s something real similar about hard games like this. I love Celeste but part of it is because death/retries are fast and there’s little wasting your time to try again. When I complained about the deaths in Blasphemous it’s less about them costing a lot in-game, just a ton of time and patience more than anything else.
Thanks for all this, I’ll write up the next games I play, which will include some of these