Welcome back everyone. Today we’re covering Bleed 2, brought to us by Ian Campbell February 8th of 2017… or, y’know, not long ago. It continues to follow the adventures of Wryn as she defends her title of Greatest Hero.
I’ll say up front, it’s not a very long game. 7 stages and I was able to beat my first run on Normal in about an hour. That’s fine though. You know why? Because those 7 stages were amazing. Bleed 1 was fast, but Bleed 2 feels like “Speed Run: The Game.” And that’s perfect, because Bleed is at its peak when you’re triple-jumping around the screen, cutting down enemies right and left while breaking out ye olde bullet time when things get too hairy. As before, winning is great, but winning with style and speed is even better, so the old scoring meter is sitting up in the top right corner again.
In terms of mechanics, the big new thing is reflectable projectiles and attacks. You could do it in the first game with the sword, but it wasn’t always clear which things you could properly reflect, and having the sword taking up one of your two weapon slots just to find out felt like a gamble. In this case, your first run is limited to the sword and pistols, starting with a cool combination where you send out a reflecting sword slash when you first hit fire… then firing the pistols as you hold the trigger. As in the original, there are new weapons and characters to unlock, but it’s all AFTER the first run-through. This change is ultimately a plus, as the starting weapons being locked makes it much easier for the dev to build the game around that first and foremost, and players don’t have to keep getting used to new weapons just because their current one isn’t the best fit for the current challenge. Besides, the old Shop system encouraged “do this 5 times” rather than “do this as well as physically possible”, with the latter being much more in-line with the spirit of these games.
Bleed feels half like a sequel, half like a remake. The latter because a number of enemies and scenarios will feel oddly familiar for anyone who played the original, the former because, rather than just doing it again and saying “Here’s more, give us more cash!” they do more with it. The sections involving said pieces feel like someone said “Okay, let’s try this again now that we REALLY know what we’re doing.” I appreciate that, and I appreciate that they still created a new game with new content to back up those sections.
In terms of graphics and sound, the music feels faster-paced, particularly the reprise of the main theme from the original game, which helps keep it in time with everything else. You’ll often pass through the environments too quickly to pay much attention to them, but if you can spare a moment from dodging and shooting, they’re better detailed than they were in Bleed 1, and the animations look spiffier too. You can see a number of places where the dev stopped leaning on pixelated graphics and the result just looks cleaner and better made.
In terms of complaints… ummm…? Challenge mode is tough on 3 bosses? Higher difficulties have more tricks rather than just burying you with higher enemy counts or harder-hitting/spongier ones? It’s hard going back to Bleed 1 when I can reflect entire bosses? Erm, those aren’t really criticisms. Hell, the game actually takes it into account when you play through on a different character, having the newcaster go “oh shoot, my bad, that’s not Wryn” at the end. I don’t know if I have anything to knock on this one.
So, that’s Bleed 2. I recommend the heck out of it, in case that wasn’t clear yet. It’s $10 on Steam, $9 if you buy before the 15th. Take care, and see you next time.