Monday 6 March 2023

Rogue Legacy 2 Review (Switch)


Way back in 2013 we got our first take of Rogue Legacy. Now, some ten years later the sequel has appeared so it seemed we ought to dive into the ever changing castle once more and see how it holds up. It’s still very much a randomly generating and highly difficult game of exploration, loot and beasties. And who would want it any other way?

Right from the start it’s clear that Rogue Legacy has much more going on than many of the other Rogue-like games of recent times. You start off with your hero entering a castle from a 2D, side on perspective and then proceed to hunt around for treasure and the boss monsters that guard each area. When you die your offspring must then take up the reigns and continue the search.

The continual line of offspring randomly generate into a number of predetermined classes. There are mages, knights, lancers and others which can then be expanded out into more specialist explorers such as the gunner and assassin. Each class has its own strengths and weaknesses and different weapons and traits that it uses.

You get to pick from three randomly created characters at the start of each adventure and these can be in any of the classes you have unlocked so far. Each individual then also has traits which give them their own strengths and weaknesses. There are a massive amount of different traits and these range from things like Gigantism (makes your character bigger), to dyslexia (can’t read signs) and things such as having an affinity with magic or boosting your speed. There’s no real way to know what you’re going to get so you need to adjust your play style accordingly.

Everything in terms of unlocking or levelling is done with the gold you find around the castle. This can be used to up your stats, buy new equipment or unlock the specialist classes. Upon your death any money or equipment you have is passed onto your next character to use and spend. The kicker is that any money left over after upgrading then needs to be given to the ferryman in order to be let back in. This can create a cycle of not getting very far as you don’t quite find enough to upgrade while being out matched by the difficulty.

Rogue Legacy 2 is certainly not here to treat players with kid gloves. It takes a good few hours to get to grips with and to actually feel like you making progress. Unlike the first game, gold is not the only way to level up so at least you will get something for the all the monster bashing being done. Certain objects and unlocks stay in place as well so while progress can be slow it will come with persistence. There is also a massive amount of tinkering you can do with the ‘house rules’ if you find yourself hitting s brick wall. This allows players to change health, damage and many other things to help make progress easier – should you wish.

Though the castle is randomly generated you can use the architect to lock it down. For the price of a percentage of your gold this keeps the room layout the same and allows you to use the teleport squares you may have found to get you right back into the action. The main benefit of this is when you discover a boss. Bosses are fierce and difficult and will require a number of goes to get the better of. If you decide you character is strong enough then getting the castle locked down allows for repeated characters to simply teleport right to them for another go. Once a boss is downed they stay dead for good.

It’s fair to say this isn’t going to be a game for everyone. It very tough, especially at the beginning and you will need to sink a load of time into it to get you to a point where you feel safe to explore properly. Alternatively, you can of course play around with the house rules. Once you level up a bit and get used to the game it really does start to get going and you’ll be continually drawn back for more. However, many gamers might not make it that far and that’s a shame as this is probably one of the more inventive games of it’s type.

Approach it patiently and with the knowledge that you are going to die and it offers an experience among the best in the genre. It’s a must for fans of the Roguelikes but the more casual gamer should probably get their kicks with something a little easier to handle.


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