When you hear certain words or phrases, they instantly bring to mind happy memories or something specific. Whenever I hear the word roguelike, I almost automatically think of Rogue Legacy, one of the games within the genre that made it as popular as it is ten-years later. Last year, Cellar Door Games released its long-awaited sequel, and it was a new benchmark in its field, showing developers exactly how to make procedural generation work in harmony with the mechanics it introduces. Rogue Legacy 2 is now available on PS4 and PS5, and it’s great to see it debut on Sony’s gaming systems.
I was lucky enough to review it last April, and without re-treading old ground, I found it rewarding once you got over the early grind. It can take some time to master the fundamentals of getting around and battling myriad creatures, but getting that right can open up a new level of replayability as you try to get further, earn more coin, fight tougher bosses, and use new weapons and skills. It’s a basic premise, but playing is such an addictive loop of failure and success, refusal to quit and refusal to play, and the thrill of the boss fight and the fear of them. Cellar Door is a master of the genre, and they get it right throughout.
You start off exploring a castle with a sword and a shield, a magic spell, and a special attack. Once you die (which you 100% will), you get to choose which of your heirs will succeed you to return to the castle and continue your legacy, and so begins the loop. There’re a ton of variables that affect new characters, and with a bunch of classes, weapons, and spells to choose from, there’s so much variety. As you play you can unlock more, but nothing has changed in its grind, however, if that’s something that drives you to play more, it won’t be a concern. Rogue Legacy 2 on PS5 has included everything from the two main updates and more, meaning you’re getting great value for money.
Since the original released, the two main updates (‘The Fabled Heroes’ and ‘The Swan Song’) introduced tons of new weapons, relics, spells, difficulties, and challenges, aimed at those hardcore fans that want to push themselves for better rewards. Not only does it give players more reason to keep playing, it shows just how improved the game is. Tweaks to gameplay and other technical aspects of RL2 have been introduced, and while I can’t pick out anything specific, it feels like a much tighter game on PlayStation.
Not only does it play sublimely, it looks gorgeous. It always did, but the colours and design of its 2.5D environment really pop, and the haptics of the PS5 controller are felt with every weapon in Rogue Legacy 2. There’s also a surprising amount of lore that gives those who enjoy story to find something to appreciate. It’s by no means deep like Skyrim or Final Fantasy, but it offers a nice background to what’s going on.
Rogue Legacy 2 on PS5 is a fantastic roguelike that takes the genre to its limits, putting on a masterclass of how to incorporate a ton of systems and make them work harmoniously together while pushing you to keep playing and progressing. Sure, it’s a slow grind to begin with and takes hours until you feel like you’re actually progressing, however, if you enjoy playing it won’t feel like too much of a chore until the real meat of the game starts to get cooking.
Plenty of variety
New difficulty modes provide a great challenge
Slow progression in the beginning