Guacamelee 2 review: More of the same but better

When Guacamelee was released, it was a refreshing take on side scrollers. It’s not necessarily that they made a groundbreaking new sidescrolling gameplay, but that it was just pure fun to play. I’m not sure there is anything else a side scroller can do to surprise me anymore, but so many of them are mimics of each other. From the art to the mechanics to the humor throughout, Guacamelee made its mark by simply being lots of fun. That said, how does Guacamelee 2 stand in comparison to the original? What more can DrinkBox Studios do? Let’s take a closer look.

Story

Guacamelee 2 picks up where the first one left off. It has you replaying the final boss from the original game as a sort of recap before beginning the new story. After the battle with Calaca, Juan settles down and has a couple of kids with El Presidente’s daughter. As the time passed, 7 years to be exact, Juan loses his once amazing Luchador physique and is enjoying his dad bod.

The story begins with a simple request from his wife, and that’s to go and get some more avocados from the market. While he is out getting the avocados, strange “black things” (geometric black holes) appear in the sky. After defeating some skeletons, you are greeted by an old friend, Uay Chivos. He doesn’t tell you much, except to follow him to the Darkest timeline because everyone is in grave danger. When you get there, you hear that Salvador, another luchador, broke the town’s statue and took the Golden Relic hidden within.

The relics are what keep everything in the “Mexiverse” in order. Salvador and his devotees – a magician, a skeleton dog-lady, and a giant cactus – then set off to collect the other two relics. Salvador is collecting the relics so that he can get well again. Salvador is very sick and was dying, so he figured that the power of the relics could save him. This is when Juan is called upon to retrieve the other relics before Salvador can get his hands on them. Since Juan is so weak and out of shape, he must find Tostada. Tostada helps him get the luchador mask back, so that Juan can stand a chance against Salvador. After getting the mask back, his luchador body is restored, but not all the abilities he learned. The rest of the game is the road to retrieving the relics, learning all the special moves and small side missions.

Visual & Audio

Visually, this game is gorgeous. It’s a high contrast, no outline, modern cartoon art design. The colors are truly impressive, especially on an HDR TV. Its design and vibrant colors are sure to please the eye. The character animations are fluid and life-like but still maintain cartoony gestures to fit with the art design. DrinkBox Studios pay many homages to their favorite games and movies. Some are obvious, while others took a keen eye.

You’ll find homages to LIMBO and River City Ransom at the beginning of the game. I also found a statue of Crow T. Robot from Mystery Science Theater 3000, and hilarious references to the r/dank_memes subreddit. Even the loading menus are reminiscent of cutscenes from the NES Ninja Gaiden. The soundtrack was pulled from the previous game, but with some additional tracks. Its light-hearted Mexican trumpet music adds the finishing touches to the visual theme of the game.

Gameplay

Most of the game has been recycled from the original including maps, moves, music, and characters. This is not a bad thing though since it was done in a way where I enjoyed revisiting the areas and characters. I can’t say the same for other games that have tried this *cough* Destiny 2 *cough*…

The one notable part that has changed with Guacamelee 2 is the skills menu. You no longer must find a save point to upgrade your abilities. Instead, they added a skill tree to the in-game menu. The save points are now only for changing costumes or saving your game. The menu now shows skills, map, and the world. This simple change made the game feel much more complete to me.

The level of difficulty can be maddening at times. One minute you’re flying through the game, and out of nowhere, you’ll find yourself in a loot room with a near impossible solution. I was stuck in one particular part of the game for 3-5 hours. I nearly broke my controller out of pure rage. The gameplay mechanics are so simple too, which makes it even more infuriating. You know what you need to do, but for some reason, your brain just keeps making the same mistakes.
The mechanics were carried over from Guacamelee as well. On the PS4:

  • Circle, in combination with different directions, is a power attack.
  • Square is a common punch or kick.
  • Triangle is for slinging across golden bird statues.
  • L2 or right stick is to evade or dodge.
  • R2 is to change dimensions
  • X is to jump or double jump

Once you complete the game, you unlock the Hard Difficulty. I have not completed that yet, but it is substantially more difficult. The game does time you on how fast you can complete it too. The leaderboard will display how fast you and your friends can complete it, and how fast you 100% it too. I’m a competitive person, so this made me want to go back and play it again to beat my friends. I also missed some conversations and locations, so I would say the game has a fairly decent replay value.

The commentary of the characters and enemies are absolute gold. This is a read-only dialog type of game, but it’s so worth reading. The only thing that could make it better is to get some great voice actors, but maybe that would take away from my interpretation. Either way, this game is hilarious and fun. This is also a 4-player couch co-op experience. I would highly recommend playing with friends.

Final Reaction

I have no problem recommending this game to the casual or hardcore gamer. It’s easy to pick up and play, hilariously fun, and difficult. If you are looking for a good side-scroller, Guacamelee and Guacamelee 2 will not disappoint. The sequel is worth the money, in my opinion, and it will take about 7-10 hours to complete it. Guacamelee 2 releases on August 21, 2018 for $19.99.

Got more questions about the game? What’s your take on Guacamelee 2? Tweet at us @NerdReactor

The post Guacamelee 2 review: More of the same but better appeared first on Nerd Reactor.





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