Guacamelee 2 Review: Loving the Lucha-vania
Guacamelee 2 is here, and we were lucky enough to get an early review copy of the game on the PS4, so I put it to the test and found it to be a rather excellent Metroidvania-style game. I didn’t even play the original, but still found plenty of enjoyment in the sequel, so for $19.99 this game is worth the investment.
You can watch or read my full review in video or scripted form below.
Hey now fans of the Guacamelee, and I’m not talking about the slimy green goodness that you eat. I’m talking about DrinkBox Studios’ Guacamelee franchise, which just got a new sequel in the form of Guacamelee 2, so strap in for a quick review.
Yes, I just rhymed that like a boss level two year old!
If you’re like me and you somehow missed the first Guacamelee, do not fear, because you can easily get into the sequel without any knowledge of the first game’s events thanks to a quick little prologue that catches you up on the adventures of Juan, the high-flying luchadore who saved the Mexiverse in the first game.
Once caught up, you’re treated to Juan’s retirement, which sees him as a family man now, complete with two little kids and a wife. He’s gotten a bit fat now that he isn’t saving the day, but he must quickly return to form after a new foe threatens to tear apart the Mexiverse one timeline at a time.
Guacamelee 2 doesn’t mess around with a lengthy setup, so within 10-15 minutes you’re off on Juan’s brand new Metroidvania inspired adventure through massive map that is full of hidden secrets and enemies trying to keep you from them. It plays exactly like other platformers in this genre, so as expected you will be doing plenty of exploring, platforming, fighting, and backtracking to areas that were previously inaccessible to you as you discover new powers that allow you to progress past these points.
The gameplay is very easy to pickup and it is quite addicting, especially once the platforming challenges ramp up as they take advantage of the various powers Juan learns to help him traverse each section of the map. While melee combat plays a large role in this game, I found the platforming to be the biggest gameplay challenge and curiously my favorite aspect of the game. There are certain sections that will require you to use two or more of Juan’s special powers in succession, which include but are not limited to super powered upper cuts that give you extra height, a punch that allows you to zip across the air, or the ability to turn into a chicken to pull of guided thrusts to avoid whatever pitfalls await you.
When you pull off a string of these moves to get past both moving and stationary obstacles, the feeling of achievement becomes very strong, therefore providing a real sense of accomplishment. Luckily, the game as a near instant reload feature, so while you die over and over to figure out a particular section of the map’s tricks, you get right back to the point where you died, so there’s no real waiting in between attempts, which I appreciated greatly, as some areas took me 10-15 tries to get past. Again, this may sound frustrating, but I wasn’t dying over and over because the game was being cheap. I died because I didn’t make precise moves, and precision is key, especially later in the game when the platforming incorporates challenges that require more than just a few of Juan’s powers to get past.
I do believe the platforming is the real gem of Guacamelee 2 thanks to the fair but difficult challenges the game’s level design offers, but the combat is pretty rewarding too. I mean the fact that Juan is a luchadore is reason enough for the combat to be a main focus, and it does show in the variety of moves he can now learn thanks to trainers you find throughout the expansive map system. With enough coins you can unlock new abilities from these trainers, which can include entirely new wrestling moves, or additional health and stamina bars among others.
The melee combat is mostly controlled with two buttons, so there aren’t insane combos to learn, which keeps the fighting fairly straightforward. Combat is at its best when facing off against one of the game’s many bosses, as they require a mix of your offensive arsenal and your platforming abilities, so boss fights definitely incorporate the best aspects of this game, which are its combat and platforming mechanics.
I have to say that the game also looks and sounds very refreshing. The visuals are very vibrant and colorful, which adds a solid level of flair to the game’s appearance. The music on the other hand is even better, and is very authentic sounding for this game’s latino roots. While the gameplay is the true star, it’s definitely enhanced by the appealing visuals and traditional latino music.
What’s even better about Guacamelee 2 is that it supports 4-player drop-in/drop-out co-op, so if you have enough friends you can really make things frenetic by adding three other players to your adventure. Having buddies to help you out goes a long way for the enemy fights, but things get pretty interesting in the platforming department with multiple people on screen at once. I actually preferred playing solo, but I could definitely see the allure of playing with friends, especially for a second playthrough or a speed run.
Trust me, if you love Metroidvania types of games, then you will definitely appreciate Guacamelee 2. You don’t have to have played the original either to fully enjoy the sequel. It sets up the story quite nicely from the get go, and once you start to get into the gameplay it’s hard to put down. It’s just very addicting thanks to the whole exploration and backtracking nature of the genre, and because it’s just a damn fun game to play. I wholeheartedly enjoyed my time with it, so it earns a 9 out of 10 review score from Team EB. For just $19.99 it’s well worth a download on your PS4 or PC, so if you need a fun but challenging title to hold you over until the AAA fall rush, you can’t go wrong with Guacamelee 2.
Thanks for watching, this is Matt Heywood signing off for EntertainmentBuddha.com, where we make you a better geek, one post at a time.
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