Short Version: Just like the first one, I love it! However, I don’t think it’s as good as the original. Even though it looks, feels and sounds better, it still comes nowhere near fulfilling its full potential. It’s still very short and doesn’t offer enough variety for the enemies or the stages. Aside from production value, it doesn’t expand beyond what it already had, which makes it fall short of surpassing its predecessor. Still pretty good though.
Long Version: Bleed is probably one of my most favorite video games ever. I thought it was a very focused product containing excellent gameplay. It had a look and charm that had no rival, aside from perhaps Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. It was short and very light on the story, but what it did had captivated me in a way that I never expected. When I heard that a sequel was coming, I was ecstatic to know what I would see next. After playing through Bleed 2 a couple times, I came out of it feeling rather positive, but still very conflicted about the finer details.
The Greatest Hero Of All Time
Bleed 2, as the name implies, is a direct sequel to the first one, in which our protagonist Wryn has become the greatest hero of all time. That’s great, but now that leaves her with the responsibility of protecting the people from an enormous amount of villains. Just like before, you use a variety of weapons, along with your bullet time ability to defeat all the enemies found within a handful of levels. An improved soundtrack, better graphics and much better control feel, especially when using a gamepad, accompany this adventure as well. Anyone that has played the original Bleed will feel right at home, perhaps a little too much so. I appreciate all the improvements, but a lot of these are ones that I could’ve lived without, instead preferring some expansion in terms of enemy variety, stages and story, which I feel the original does better.
The game plays better, but I wish I didn’t have to kill the same enemies over and over again, including yet another boss rush of the original game’s bosses. I like how the levels look, but I wish they were all more interesting, varied, lengthy and more challenging. I think all the bosses are cool, but I wish we could know more about them through a more involved story, instead of fighting them for a bit, then never seeing again, but still featuring them prominently in the credits as if they were these awesome characters that you’re calling back to. Basically, I’m saying that for every notable feature in the game, I was left with an emptiness that had me begging for more, because I fully believe that this developer is capable of so much more than it comes across.
All Too Easy
Even on the harder difficulties, I found most of the levels to be a cake walk, which slowly made me realize how the game is more about constant boss battles rather than having substantial levels to go through. I found it so easy to the point that I actually forgot I could slow down time, which makes everything even easier than that; and that’s not even mentioning the co-op support.
The game does become significantly better after you beat it for the first time, to which then you get introduced to unlockable characters, more weapons and mutators, which are basically cheats. This pretty much leaves you with more stuff to play around with, even if you’re still playing through the same levels all over again, which can be beat in less than an hour. However, these added things still don’t satisfy what I was looking for in a sequel to Bleed. The game almost feels like a remake with how little it actually expands upon itself.
It’s strange, because I think this game is pretty great, but there is also a part of me that dislikes it for its lack of growth and wasted potential on display. Almost everything about this game is better than the original, just not in any of the places that mattered to me. If anyone asks me if they should buy this game, I would say yes, but that word will always be prefaced with a pause of hesitation before my inevitable verdict. If you liked the first Bleed, you’ll like the second one too, but chances are you’ll be coming out of it half-full.