Rogue Legacy 2 review

Rogue Legacy 2 has arrived having spent a good while in early access. The original Rogue Legacy was a really fun time, so the sequel had a lot to live up to. I am happy to report that Rogue Legacy 2 is a worthy sequel, a decent roguelike among a crowded field, one that benefitted from a good period of early access.

Rogue Legacy 2 manages to build upon what made the first game great, and then adds another layer of incentives for players to keep coming back for more for another run. There are rewards, upgrades and gold almost bursting out of the screen. The developers really know where to get you and how to get you because progression in the game feels good, it’s rewarding, fun and memorable and will have you coming back more time after time.

The premise of the game is you are invading the kingdoms of powerful beings called Estuaries and defeat them one after the other. Given this is a roguelike, you are likely going to die a lot, but instead of you coming back for more, it’s actually your children sent in to do the dirty work. Randomly generated traits occur in the bloodline of the family, which gives a nice explanation for the random roguelike mechanics. Some are good traits which will help you in battle, and some are just funny and you’ll end up farting like a trooper.

In an improvement from the original, you are motivated to check out the less-known parts of the family tree. For example, sometimes the gene pool can be a little spoiled, meaning runs are going to be tough. Someone might be scared of heights, a warrior might not like fighting, or someone will be blind. These randomly generated traits on your characters do have the potential to be fun, although occasionally they can hinder, but with a little twist of fun too. The game does a good job of rewarding you for taking the lesser able path on the gene pool, you’ll be incentivised with a whole bunch of gold.

The objective of the game is to make your way through procedurally generated maps, kill the bad guys and ultimately take down the bosses at the end. There are all kinds of enemies that try to get in your ways like skeletons, eyeballs and other nasties. There are different environments in the game like castles, snowy mountains, and dragon’s lairs. The idea is to get to the end, beat the boss and get hold of the precious Heirloom.

The game does a great job propelling you forward, so the game doesn’t feel like a massive chore getting from A to B. The Heirlooms are a major motivation, as they are permanent platforming abilities that’ll allow you access to the new biomes. For example, double-jumps, and mid-air dashes – are all things we’ve seen in similar Metroidvania games before, but they do feel great in this polished experience. As well as allowing you to move ahead and get to new biomes, going backwards and retreading paths you have already been also rewarding too.

Loot is one of the ways Rogue Legacy 2 keeps you coming back and the rewards are plentiful, as well as the animations and audio tingling the endorphins at the same time. Open up chests and defeat enemies to get gold, then spend the gold between runs on the Manor, which is your Hub space home to NPCs and permanent upgrades, and all these are designed to make your life much easier when it comes to runs. There are loads of upgrades, and plenty of options including health, magic, and more. Focus gold into upgrades and all of a sudden more upgrades will appear. There are new classes to unlock too, and the progression is done very well.

Talking of classes, there are plenty of options in the game here too. The Archer is a good all-rounder with a decent range from the arrows, plus the ability to hide with a canopy allowing you to block incoming projectiles too. You can also dip your arrows in poison, making them even more deadly. There is the Dragon Lancer with fire and explosive punches, plus you have the Gunslinger too who can shoot powerful shots, plus they can explode things too with dynamite sticks.

Add everything up – the classes, the progression, the manor and upgrades, Rogue Legacy 2 does a great job of keeping you engaged and never outstaying its welcome. It’s a game that’s easy to pick up and play, but there is real depth in there if you are looking for it. There are rare weapons to find, different weapons and upgrades to collect which apply different effects to your damage output. There are magical instruments and I am sure loads of secrets I am yet to find. There’s something in here for everyone.

Then there are Relics. They cost Resolve to equip, which is linked to your equipment weight, so before you go into a run you’ll have to weigh yourself. The heavier your armour, the less Resolve you’ll have to spend on Relics, which will then affect how much HP you have. There are Blacksmith armour sets, chain mail sets, magic runes… I could go on, but I think it’s best to jump in and give it a go for yourself. Rogue Legacy 2 sure does have options, lots of them and also many ways to play. The game manages to ease you in, it doesn’t overwhelm you, and slowly unfurls a bunch of options to get you hooked and keep you coming back.

Rogue Legacy 2 clearly has benefitted from a long time in early access. There are other big hits that have used that process to great effect, namely another roguelike called Hades. Rogue Legacy 2 has the potential to be a great game if it can find an audience. Hopefully, it can, with the release calendar being very sparse at the moment, I’d love to see this game get more eyes on it, and hopefully a dedicated happy fanbase.

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