If you’re anything like me, you’ve been eagerly awaiting an excuse to dive back into a roguelike. The methodology of replaying a level from scratch and scratching that ‘one more go’ itch is too tempting for me to stay away. This is why the fact that Cellar Door Games’ Rogue Legacy 2 is finally getting a PlayStation console release means so much to me, as it gives me an excuse to get my fix finally—I mean, replay an excellent and certainly not addictive title on a new platform.
Rogue Legacy 2 inserts the player into the greaves of a random name-generated warrior on a quest to uncover mysteries within a castle brimming with secrets and different enemy types. As the hero, you continue until you meet your demise (which you will many times) or throw in the towel with a retirement option on the menu screen. Then, the hero progeny can be selected from a screen that lets you choose your class and playstyle.
Each newly selected hero is equipped with different traits and weapons, and in Rogue Legacy 2, some heroes even come with detrimental traits that hinder the player. The detriments provide higher gold rewards while exploring the castle and the many biomes within. Some characters can be comically oversized, making them effective bullet sponges. But these characters dish out the pain as well as they take it.
“Rogue Legacy 2 has proven to be a masterclass in the roguelike genre, and being able to have it on the PlayStation family of consoles just rounds out the ability to literally play it anywhere.”
The Cellar Door presentation of the characters is surprisingly simplistic, but the Adventure Time-feeling art style works wonders here. Cellar Door didn’t shy away from the Rogue Legacy roots, and while the art style has returned, the UI has seen a complete overhaul and only provides the information the player needs for exploration. A true sequel.
The hub world of Rogue Legacy 2 gets more robust after each subsequent dive into the perilous castle, and side NPCs like the blacksmith and the pizza delivery service — the Rogue Legacy 2 brand of fast travel teleporter to skip completed biomes — are brimming with character. There is an Unnamed Knight the player runs into that provides valuable tips and tricks to advance on your quest through the castle. I couldn’t help but relate this knight to Solaire of Astora from Dark Souls, as he is helpful and makes the adventure feel less lonely when he appears.
The thing is, Rogue Legacy 2 has proven to be a masterclass in the roguelike genre, and being able to have it on the PlayStation family of consoles just rounds out the ability to literally play it anywhere. The addictive gameplay begs the player to ‘just try one more time,’ and that one more time provides a new adventure each time you dive into the constantly changing castle.
Unlocking new classes and giving them a try feels like playing a new game each time. Encountering familiar enemies with a new means of disposing of them in hand feels like unlocking the secret Castlevania character — think the ability to play as Richter Belmont after completing Symphony of the Night — but with fewer steps. The way Rogue Legacy 2 remains balanced with so many different variables and choices is hard to pull off, and Cellar Door does so with a flourish.
“Rogue Legacy 2 is an absolute blast. The simple presentation is sharpened with incredibly tight gameplay that always feels like the player is at fault when things go awry.”
The only gripe I have (if you could even call it that) is Rogue Legacy 2 finally releasing on PlayStation doesn’t do anything to make it feel like it’s on PlayStation. Armour pieces or healthy nods at the legacy of Sony’s console or brands could have been thrown in, or even a quip of “it’s about time” could have been used to denote its arrival at the PS party.
Also, the long grind near the beginning of the title is still present with no option to skip, which feels cumbersome to returning veterans of Rogue Legacy 2, but for new players, it is appropriately paced and doesn’t outstay its welcome.
Rogue Legacy 2 is an absolute blast. The simple presentation is sharpened with incredibly tight gameplay that always feels like the player is at fault when things go awry. In a game that demands excellence, it surely delivers it with tight gameplay and responsive controls that are a joy to handle. The music is sublime, adding to the atmosphere of each location with sound effects that carry weight while exploring, strutting out Cellar Door’s attention to everything the title has to offer.
Although the slow grind required in the beginning may dampen the experience for seasoned adventurers, Cellar Door Games has delivered a title that is a must-play for fans of every genre and the demand of ‘one more go’ will be alluring to some, but irresistible to most.