Blasphemous 1 Retrospective

With the sequel coming out this week, I think it’ll be a good time to take a look back towards the first game, along with giving my personal experiences with it. Note that I’ll be dropping pieces of lore with it along with other game mechanics that have been introduced as the game got patches and free DLC.

Blasphemous 1 came out thanks to tremendous fan support in funding the game’s creation, reaching a whopping 6.6x beyond the planned amount of funding they asked for. With expansions in the form of free DLCs, of which there were three including a crossover with Bloodstained, a sister series considering they share the same genre.

Now, a bit of a refresher on the story, and it goes without saying that there will be unmarked spoilers. The Miracle, a supernatural being/event, appeared in the land of Cvstodia and fed off of the people’s faith after turning a young man into a figurehead, fusing him into the log he prayed on. There were four figures who were given faces of molten gold and four holy wounds to the soul, with one being able to peer behind the curtain that separates the worlds.

Horrified at what the fourth saw, he told the others what he saw, and was cast out for heresy, and locked away underneath the tree where the young man became the Twisted One and hid the fourth wound, that of abnegation, behind aside from taking his eyes and giving it to two guardians. They kept it locked away so that no one could see what was behind the Miracle’s veil, and Crisanta, the original one the fourth planned to use it to uncover the veil and undo the Miracle and the High Wills.

Time passed, and the religion in Cvstodia kept growing stronger, and so did people’s suffering underneath its eternal dusk, which they took as divine blessing. One order, the Order of the Silent Brotherhood, opposed the main branch and was eliminated save for one, the survivor who we will call the Penitent One come the start of the game.

Fighting through various locales in the land of Cvstodia and solving mysteries, finding old relics, and strengthening his sword, El Penitente (since I loved playing using the Spanish dub) fought and uncovered the mysteries surrounding the land of Cvstodia one step at a time, such as collecting the item which would reconnect two separated siblings, collecting the three wounds and getting into the main church itself, the Mother of Mothers.

Inside the Church and traversing its inner areas, unlocking a hidden part of it and going through other places such as a dried-up sea and fighting a giant serpent and the one who sings for the dead, obtaining the eyes of the holder of the fourth wound and freeing Crisanta from her mental chains, allowing her to see the true enemy once again and restoring her free will, and combating His Holiness Escribar twice, setting his soul free to the Endless Procession. Facing and defeating him one last time, before eliminating the High Wills, setting the Twisted One free, and undoing the Miracle and El Penitente dying immediately afterward.

Crisanta and Deogracias offer a silent prayer for him and bury El Penitente. However, some unknown measure of time passed, and a womb shaped like a heart with a giant being inside it came down from the sky, and began beating.

The newest, and considered the true one considering the sequel hook, ending left me speechless the first time I saw it. And even after multiple times, I saw it after subsequent playthroughs on New Game + without making the feeling wane.

The High Wills were destroyed, the Grievous Miracle undone, and the Twisted One set free, but at the cost of El Penitente’s true death. If we think about it, his multiple revivals in-game were still in the Grievous Miracle’s will, even if the Children of the Moonlight were defying it. A master-level manipulation play that ended in a sacrifice and freeing the land felt similar to another favorite game of mine, Legacy of Kain: Defiance. That feeling of heavy-handed hope and that lingering unsure feeling that while it can only get better, the climb will be long and arduous.

This premise is where Blasphemous II will pick up, and judging by the trailer, a long amount of time has passed, probably around a century or two. Cvstodia has changed, and some old areas have been buried and built over. The curtain rises on a new battle for the Penitent One, which has returned along with the new incarnation of the Grievous Miracle. Oh boy, am I giddy for the game’s release.

Blasphemous II releases on August 24, 2023, on PC (via Steam, Epic Games, and GOG), PS5, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox Series X|S.