The original Rogue Legacy was a masterpiece of super-tight movement, great combat and incredibly balanced enemy design. Every moment was a pleasure to play, and for me that was quite a few moments since I played the game from beginning to end five times.
I’m something of a super-fan of the first, so I was delighted to learn earlier this year that a sequel was in the works. Now, having played the early access version, I’m delighted to be able to say that Rogue Legacy 2 is more of the same — and for my money, that’s all it needs to be.
The game’s premise is delightfully dark. There’s a sinister castle full of beasts governed by a curse. The player controls a knight who embarks on a quest to cleanse it of evil. Then the player dies, because it’s essentially impossible to defeat the game with a level 1 character. They then use their money to build up a family estate and fill it with training facilities, ensuring that the knight’s descendants are better equipped to deal with the horrors that lay within the castle’s walls.
Developing the estate unlocks new classes, each with their own special ability, as well as methods for increasing each character’s base stats. Killing a single armored swordsman will be a chore for the first run or two, but players will quickly find themselves more formidable as they ratchet up their maximum health and mana.
With each new generation the player can choose between three potential heroes, differentiated not just by their class but also by what traits they offer — these are perks and disadvantages that are randomly applied, ranging from gigantism (which turns heroes into hulking monsters) all the way to a retro-filter vision that makes the everything look like it’s happening on a Game Boy. While avoiding negative traits seems like an obvious move, it’s not always the best idea since each one comes with a multiplier that increases the player’s gold take which can quickly add up to a substantial sum.
Rogue Legacy 2‘s graphics have been given a careful overhaul designed to make them more lush without stripping any of its simple beauty. All the sprites remain huge and colorful, but they’ve been given reworked animations and the smooth attacks are a pleasure to behold. Even more impressive are the backgrounds — RL2 starts in a relatively simple castle setting, but as the action moves beyond its walls, players are treated to a rickety bridge and frozen cliffside, completely changing up the feel. The world seems bigger and more complex this time, and I’m excited to see what the the next biomes have to offer.
I can’t predict how long the finished version of the game will take to arrive since it’s in Early Access right now, and the roughness does show in places.
Half (or more) of the estate’s upgrade tree doesn’t exist yet, leaving me to wonder if classes like the Ninja and Lich have been cut from the sequel, or merely haven’t been implemented yet.
There’s also some serious balancing that needs to be done on the first boss. I’ve just seen the one so far, and he’s a far cry from the perfectly balanced super-enemies the original offered — this first encounter felt roughly equivalent the final boss of RL1, even down to having an array of attacks that practically fill the screen. Rogue Legacy wasn’t easy game, but it was fairer than this.
Hopefully development moves along at a good clip and the few issues I’ve had are addressed, because Rogue Legacy 2 is already incredibly promising, and I hope it only gets better from here.