November 3, 2019 at 10:07 PM #656
Rating: 5.0 – Flawless
Guacamelee! was an outstanding metroidvania / beat ‘em up game that ended up being one of my favorite games in either genre. When a sequel was announced, I expected a similar quality game to be released. However, my expectations were blown away tenfold. Guacamelee! 2 is a masterpiece, and one of the few examples of a perfect game. I do not say this lightly. The game excels where it matters, and never once falters.
The first immediately noticeable improvements lie in the aesthetics. Environments are much more detailed than before, as are enemies. The cutscene art hasn’t changed much, but the ability acquired and VS screens are much more visually interesting this time around. The humor from the previous game, which was criticized for meme overuse, has been replaced with video game references which are generally much more entertaining. The soundtrack is a bit better as well, and the boss music is a true earworm.
The heart of a game is its gameplay, and that has been massively improved as well. Juan learns most of his moves from the first game again, creating the same complex moveset that made fights so fun. One new ability, "Eagle Fly", has been added, allowing you to slingshot around at set points. The chicken form has been greatly improved with the ability to fight on the same level as human form. Instead of the four colored moves human Juan has, the chicken gets a slide and diagonal dash maneuver. These are fun to pull off, and make room for several new enemy encounters and platforming segments.
Speaking of platforming, it too is much better this time around. Guacamelee! 2 features some of the best platforming in gaming. It is challenging, sometimes extremely so, without every being annoying or unfair. You are required to master your abilities and utilize them to their full potential in order to clear certain rooms. Combat rooms are also plentiful, and require skilled play in order to survive the hoards of enemies. The fact that most abilities are used for platforming and combat allowed Drinkbox to create some particularly dastardly rooms that combine combat and platforming. The game as a whole is much more complex and challenging than its predecessor, and it’s even a bit longer.
One of Guacamelee!’s weaker aspects was it’s boss design, and needless to say, it’s much better here. They have gone from mediocre to legitimately great. El Muneco is only the first boss, but it’s already better than any fight in the first game by far. One final change that Guacamelee! 2 makes is a revamp of the upgrade system. You can now upgrade at any time if you have enough gold, and there are five skill trees. There are fewer basic upgrades than in the original, and more of the complex ones.
Guacamelee! 2 is the perfect sequel to the first game, improving on everything and taking zero steps back. It’s impossible to find anything to criticize here. The combat, exploration, platforming… even the story and humor are executed flawlessly. I’m not exaggerating when I say that Guacamelee! 2 compares to the likes of Metroid Fusion, Super Metroid, and Environmental Station Alpha. It is truly one of the greatest games of all time.
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