New Game Review

Review – Guacamelee! 2 (PC)

Guacamelee! 2 is number Juan.

In the vast realm that is the indie metroidvania scene, there are a handful of titles that reign supreme among its peers. Ori and the Blind Forest manages to make the coldest of people cry like a baby right from the get-go, Axiom Verge is the best Metroid never released, and then there’s Guacamelee!, a game that captivated everyone with its tight gameplay, excellent sense of humor, and magnificent world design. A sequel for that great but somewhat short game was more than inevitable, but we had to wait for five years to put our hands into it. At last, here’s Guacamelee! 2, a game that, dare I say, might actually be better than its predecessor.

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References to underwhelming arcade fighters from the past. Si por favor!

To be fair, Guacamelee! 2 isn’t exactly very different from its predecessor. It plays the same. It looks the same. It sounds the same. In a way, this can often feel like an expansion to the original game than a full-fledged sequel, but ‘thats the catch: there wasn’t a lot that needed to be fixed in the original game. Ever heard of not trying to fix what isn’t broken? That exactly Guacamelee! 2‘s premise. It’s more of the same, but it’s more of the good same.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t new elements to the gameplay. The main addition this time around is the fact that the multiplayer has been extended to four players. Besides this, Drinkbox Studios has decided to just improve on the already great gameplay from the first game. A few new moves were included, the map has been extended with a lot more to do and explore, the concept of multiple universes has been added, and so on. The game is still very challenging, with some segments being a true test of skill, strength, and patience.

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I can’t resist good art design.

The big star here is the storytelling. Guacamelee! 2 is hilarious when it needs to be and even occasionally heartwarming when it needs to be. This game is joke after joke after funny gaming reference after another joke, with exploration segments and lucha sessions thrown in between. Guac never takes itself extremely serious (I mean, we’re talking about saving the MEXIVERSE for crying out loud) and it shines by doing so.

Does this mean the game is perfect? No, because neither was the original Guacamelee!, but most of issues with the game are minute, even though they are still worth mentioning.

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D’you mean some sort of LIMBO?

The two small gripes I have with it are regarding the camera and the sound effects. While the visuals are downright fantastic, I have had some issues with the camera, as the game deliberately decides to zoom out a lot when you’re in some areas of the map and it makes your character look too small onscreen. There is no way to manually control the camera, sadly.

Another gripe I have with the game isn’t a flaw per se, but more of a wasted potential of taking advantage of something really cool that happens extremely occasionally during the game: voice clips. The game starts off with the best “previously on” narration I’ve ever seen in a game, something that sounded so authentically Mexican it made me feel like I was about to watch a proper telenovela. Guacamelee! 2 should have used more voice samples throughout its runtime whenever possible, maybe reusing that narrator everytime you loaded a save file, for instance.

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Villains have feelings too!

Any gripes I’ve mentioned about Guacamelee! 2 can’t change the fact I had colossal amounts of fun with it from start to finish. It’s not exactly groundbreaking or innovative, it’s actually more of the same, but since the same was already excellent, there’s little reason to complain. More luchas, more jokes, more references, more multiplayer options, and more exploration. Guacamelee! 2 takes the expression “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” to heart in order to deliver one of the best games of 2018 so far.

Graphics: 9.0

Brilliant usage of colors, amazing backgrounds, excellent animations. There are moments in which your character looks too small onscreen due to the camera zooming out, though.

Gameplay: 9.0

With the exception of the aforementioned camera zoom occasions and some specific platforming sections, the controls are extremely responsive and easy to learn.

Sound: 9.0

A fantastic soundtrack comprised of all your favorite Mexican clichées. I wish there were more voice samples, as the very few included in the game were excellent.

Fun Factor: 9.5

Between the great level design, tons of references, fun combat and excellent sense of humor, Guacamelee! 2 is an absolute blast from start to finish.

Final Verdict: 9.0

Guacamelee! 2 is available now on PS4 and PC.

A copy of Guacamelee! 2 was provided by the publisher.

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About Leo Faria

Founder and mastermind behind Way Too Many Games, hailing from the southern swag that is São Paulo, a Sega widower who considers the Dreamcast to be the greatest console ever released, the greatest Guitar Hero and Tetris player you’ll ever meet. My favorite games include Perfect Dark, Banjo-Tooie, the Guitar Hero series, Bioshock Infinite and Star Wars Rogue Squadron II. I also own an Ouya. Never turned it on.

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