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access_time August 14, 2020 at 9:34 AM in Previews by Kieran Toovey

Rogue Legacy 2 Early Access Impressions

It seems like years ago that I played Rogue Legacy on the PS4 when it was a PS Plus offering. Which is fitting, because it was actually five years ago when that occurred! A lot has changed in the world in those five years (mainly for the worse). But a lot has changed in the world of Rogue Legacy as well (mainly for the better).

Set to release as an Early Access game on Steam and the Epic Games Store on August 18th (after a slight delay), Rogue Legacy 2 uses the same core concept and mechanics as the original. But developer Cellar Door Games looks to improve on every facet of the game. For unfamiliar ones, the Rogue Legacy games are roguelikes that are unique with their character selection. Whenever your character dies, upon the start of your next playthrough, you select a descendent of the previous character as your new playable character. And not only do these characters look different, they have different traits as well. Ranging from colorblindness, to ADHD, to Gigantism, amongst others, this helps create variety within each run and adds a quirky element to the game.

Rogue Legacy 2 takes this up a notch by adding new playable classes as well. In its current state, they’ve added a mage, a barbarian, and an archer, but more will be added in the future. The mage has middle-range with low base health but high mana, obviously. On the other hand, the barbarian is a close-range fighter with high health, but with a slower ground attack that can leave you vulnerable. Finally, the archer has long-range with very low health, so it’s currently the riskiest of the new classes. Add these to the mix with the standard knight class, and there’s a lot more to learn and variety than its predecessor.

It’s also unique in that you don’t lose everything upon death, like most rogues. You can use any gold you gain during a run towards upgrades such as character stats, new playable classes, and new vendors for your home base. And a new mechanic has been added to up the “metroidvania” aesthetic. Heirlooms are permanent upgrades that players gain through a trial, which allows for new usable abilities such as dashing. The implementation is excellent. It’s basically a tutorial, rather than just giving you the ability on a silver plate. I actually died during my first attempt to gain dash because of my lackadaisical approach. Rather than upsetting me, it made me appreciate the severity of the situation, approaching all areas with heightened senses.

Visually, Rogue Legacy 2 is a substantial step up from the first game. The 3D characters feel so much more satisfying than those in Rogue Legacy, and they’re accompanied by beautiful hand-drawn backgrounds. The animations are also leaps and bounds better as well. Whether it’s attacking, jumping, descending, or even death animations, the team has devoted a lot of time and resources to this area. Basically, everything looks markedly better than the first game. Check out these images below for further proof. NOTE: all of the images are in-game.

However, there are issues. I encountered several bugs such as falling off an edge, the game not teleporting me back, and not being able to jump back to safety. The only way to remedy this was quitting, which put me back at the start of the first area. I also noticed that if I was moving through areas quickly, the frame rate would drop frequently. Given the pre-Early Access release build and non-game breaking severity though, these issues felt fairly minimized.

All things considered, I’m extremely encouraged by the time I spent with Rogue Legacy 2. Several areas of the upgrade tree are currently blocked and only the first biome is really playable and stable. But the strong foundation is there and will keep me coming back for more as the game works its way towards a full release.

What do you think? Will you be picking up Rogue Legacy 2 during Early Access or when it fully releases? Does the game not interest you? Let us know in the comment section below!

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