Bleed 2 (Xbox One) Review

By Gabriel Jones 19.03.2018

Review for Bleed 2 on Xbox One

The year is still 21XX. The city is under attack by Valentine and her awe-inspiring Armada. Nobody knows where they came from, but their motive is very clear. They want to conquer the entire world, right down to the very last tree. Before anyone asks, yes there is a hero out there capable of stopping Valentine. Remember Wryn? She slaughtered all of the so-called heroes a while back. Now she's ready to give villains everywhere a chronic thrashing. Take control of Earth's champion and destroy the Armada in Bleed 2.

After working out the maths, the following conclusion can be reached: in the time it takes Final Fantasy XIII to start getting good, someone could sit down and play through Bleed 2 a whopping 24 times! Once again, praise must be given to the short games of the world. When it comes to interactive media, meandering conversations, pointless cut-scenes, and all other types of filler should never be the norm. This gets it right by focusing entirely on what works: intense action and lightning-quick pacing.

What can be said about this sequel that hasn't already been said before? Time to break it down into the excruciating details: Wryn has a katana now, upping her status from "Wicked" to "Totally Wicked." When she's not putting bullet-holes into evil robots and their possibly eviler masters, she's slicing them apart. The bladed weapon also has parrying functionality. Any time an on-screen bullet or boss has a purple hue around it, that's the cue to slash. Parrying projectiles is mechanically similar to thwacking a tennis ball, and can do immense damage. The bullet-time gauge from the first game also returns, so feel free to slow things down to ensure successful parries.

Screenshot for Bleed 2 on Xbox One

Part of the reason the sword/parrying system works so well is because it gives players more to do. Yes, even when dealing with fierce bosses that fill the screen with death, there are still microseconds that get wasted. In the moments where Wryn would normally be paying more attention to evading attacks, there are now extra opportunities to continue the offensive. The balance has essentially shifted to ruthless aggression, although as with the last version, the enemy can't be underestimated. No matter how wicked the heroine gets, she still can't take all that much punishment. The harder difficulties will absolutely erase her if she isn't careful. Plus, getting hurt simply isn't stylish.

The style meter has also been reworked. Originally, it was just sort of… there. In this entry, it's a much more accurate measure of how well somebody is playing. Numerous factors play into how quickly the meter rises. Naturally, avoiding damage is a priority, and so is maintaining a fast and furious assault. In the scant moments of downtime, Wryn can deliver a haughty laugh, which gives the meter a slight bump. One of the other, less noticeable aspects is that swapping between multiple weapons is considered extra stylish.

Screenshot for Bleed 2 on Xbox One

Wait. There are multiple weapons now? Okay, sure, there were plenty to choose from in the last game, but all anyone ever used were the default pistols. Here, the starting guns are still great, but Wryn's other armaments have also become more effective. The laser cannon can pierce armour, as well as multiple enemies at once, provided it's allowed a second to charge up. Rockets do a nice amount of splash damage, making them useful for numerous scenarios. Also noteworthy is that none of the weapons are actually weak. If, for example, the player is switching between weapons and accidentally picks the wrong one, they are still liable to destroy whatever it is they are aiming at, be it projectiles or enemies. Also, more than two weapons can be equipped for the quick-swap feature, which is very convenient.

The most noticeable difference between the two games is that Bleed 2 is geared more towards boss battles. There are sections where Wryn has to deal with ordinary goons, but they are generally short and to the point. Their basic purpose is to link the boss battles. The closest comparison would be classic 16-bit titles like Contra: Hard Corps or Alien Soldier. This change in style works very well, and that's because all of the bosses are a lot of fun to fight. New additions, like the parrying system, really bring these climatic encounters together.

Screenshot for Bleed 2 on Xbox One

When it comes to hit-boxes and everything of that nature, this game can't get enough praise. As any dedicated gamer knows, good hit-boxes are required. There's nothing worse than taking damage or losing a life to something that didn't even touch the hero or heroine. Here, that's never a worry. Millimetre-close dodges are rarely the norm, but it's always possible to make those clutch saves during heated encounters. Players are never thrown out of their rhythm, nor will they ever wonder what went wrong. All dangers are clearly communicated and fairly designed.

Wryn's second adventure doesn't have any trouble staying fresh, even long after the initial play-through is over and done with. The endless mode gives Wryn a series of randomised stages to deal with. Some of the stage layouts and enemies are repeats from the first game, which is a nice touch. A slew of playable characters can be unlocked, and some of them offer unique play-styles. Valentine can't utilise bullet-time or parry, but she can fly, and her shield absorbs like-coloured bullets. The arcade mode has also returned. Challenging the entire game with one life takes some guts, but the inclusion of health-restoring hearts makes it a little more manageable.

Screenshot for Bleed 2 on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Bleed 2 is a master-class in how to design a sequel. It improves the elements that work, while cutting out everything that didn't quite gel before. The result is a more refined and polished run & gun. Wryn's sword is an awesome addition. All of its new mechanics make for battles that are more dynamic and exciting than ever. A delicious layer of extra content rounds everything out, giving experts more bang for their buck. In short, fans of the original should have already picked this one up by now; it's fantastic.

Developer

BootdiskRevolution

Publisher

Digerati Distribution

Genre

Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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