So, she did it. She took on the world’s most celebrated heroes and came out on top, proving herself as the greatest of them all – the greatest videogame hero of all time.
That was where we left our adventures with Wryn, the pink-haired heroine of BLEED last time out. So with no one else left to stand in her way, what has caused the sudden return of the world’s most coveted hero? Well, that would be the all-new alien threat, and with Wryn standing as the one and only remaining hero, the aliens have decided that now is the right time to invade our lovely green planet. Grab your guns – it’s time to face the deadliest threat the planet has ever seen.
If you’re someone who has recently dived in to the first BLEED title that has arrived on Nintendo Switch in recent times, you’ll be happy to hear that BLEED 2 follows the same general idea. Once more there are a handful of different game modes available, with Story, Arcade and Challenge modes all returning, just this time alongside an all-new Endless mode.
As found in the original, there are seven different missions to master once more, each of which contain a variety of different enemies that are strewn throughout each stage, before culminating in a challenging boss fight. The main enemies don’t really offer much in the way of a tough fight, especially not on their own, but the threat from having many firing on you at once causes BLEED 2 to deliver a bullet-hell style experience. To avoid this, players will need to utilise nimble skills and some lightning reactions throughout.
The challenge of BLEED 2 however comes from the boss fights. Regardless of whether you’ve taken any damage throughout the rest of the level or not, chances are until you get used to the pattern of each boss, you’re going to take a pasting, struggling to get the coveted SSS-rank for your efforts.
Decent ranks require swift movements as these are given out based on your score for a particular level. Consecutive hits on the enemy will see it rise through the letter-based ranks, whilst taking damage will see it drop drastically, to the point where just a few hits might make that SSS-rank an impossible task.
There are four difficulty levels available within BLEED 2 – Easy, Normal, Hard and Very Hard. Easy is exceptionally simple and will probably be mastered by most, but is still the place you should look to start to ensure you get to grips with things. Normal is quite a step up and provides a real challenge, whilst Hard and Very Hard require true skill and ability if you hope to come away without being turned into mush. The difficulty spike when progressing through these is certainly no joke and whilst you’d expect more of a test, the terms Hard and Very Hard are true understatements for the challenge that you’ll be facing.
After you’ve battled your way through all seven levels, beaten the bosses, made a mockery of the enemies throughout and saved the world, you’ll be finished up with the story side of things – unless of course you want to master all difficulties. However, you can always go back through with the characters that are unlocked and try things differently. After all, the campaign only takes an hour or so to finish at most.
BLEED 2 does come with some fascinating changes from the original though, and these help to freshen up the experience after that initial playthrough. One of those being the Mutators. These bring various options such as infinite health to make things easier, or near impossible bosses to give off an even harder challenge. BLEED 2 is already an incredibly difficult game with it’s bullet-hell nature, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be some who find the Mutators a wonderful addition. They do however take away the option of saving.
Away from the story and players can get stuck into Arcade, Challenge or Endless modes. Arcade is a great one for anyone wanting a challenge – again this game lives and breathes difficulty. See, it throws you at the main story once more, but with just one life to get you from start to finish. Beat this and you’re a better man than me.
Challenge mode on the other hand brings out the utterly ridiculous test of a 3v1 boss fight. There’s unlikely to be many who will even want to take this on, but should you wish to skip all the levels and jump straight to a boss fight experience then this is for you. It works, and it’s a challenge, but it’s also purely for the hardcore platformers out there.
It is also well worth mentioning the newly added Endless Mode. This is my favourite mode by far and here players can take on a series of randomly generated levels, making for an entirely different scenario every time you start. There are five different levels to master through each seed, but with each providing a completely random experience, Endless mode is the key to BLEED 2’s never ending replayability. It still has the ranks, it still has the boss fights, and it still has the same wonderful gameplay, so if you want something fresh this is by far the best way to play.
Looking away from the various game modes and what makes BLEED 2 a truly accessible experience – despite its crushing difficulty – is the simplicity of the controls, with ZR controlling jump (multiple presses giving multiple jumps), ZL controlling Wryn’s slow-mo ability, R and L sorting out any weapon change and the sticks controlling movement and shooting. It’s also worth noting that whether you’re playing in the Switch’s portable mode or via the TV, the game is great to pick up and play and it feels well suited to this machine.
If you want a platformer that brings excitement, action and a rising challenge then you can’t go wrong with BLEED 2. It’s a sequel that brings slight change and necessary improvements whilst still retaining the classic experience crafted by the original. With bite-sized levels, this is a game you can pick up and play for five minutes at a time, or hours on end.
Massive thanks to: Digerati
Release date: March 2018
Formats: Nintendo Switch (Review), Xbox One, PS4, PC