By Josh Speer / March 28th, 2019
Now that we’ve covered the new mechanics and gameplay, it’s time to discuss another huge new element: more characters! While the first game only had Jason, Eve and Fred, this one has a bunch of new faces. Better yet, they are all Metal Attacker pilots, complete with support droids and their own tanks. I won’t spoil anything, other than to say that they will jump to the wrong conclusion when you first meet, which provides some of the most entertaining fights in the game. They all have very different and eclectic personalities, from a gruff old man to a sexy, trash talking plant girl. Whether you prefer waifus or husbandos, you’ll be set. They all bring a wonderful new tone to the series, and I fervently hope they show up either as playable DLC characters or perhaps headline their own adventures. They’re that good.
It might be hard to tell the difference between the two games from a distance, so let me share some of the contrast. While the first game was one of adventure and mystery, this one has a darker, more somber tone to it. That’s even reflected in the music, which has more discordant and macabre notes. That’s not to say it’s all dark, since there are fun little nods to edgy games, such as how Jason now is rocking a tattered cape (presumably to look cooler for Eve). And as I implied above, the new characters also add a lot of great energy to the proceedings. Visually, the game is fantastic, and even manages to top the first. There’s a ton of complexity and color in all the artwork, and it all has that trademark Inti Creates style. That goes double for the wonderful cut scenes, of which there are a shitload. Musically, the game is also fantastic. Like I said above, the dark and edgy notes permeate the music, but there’s also elements of mystery and adventure to be found. Put together, it’s a beautiful package that shows off the best retro is capable of.
Mechanically, this game manages to improve upon many of the elements from the first game, while continuing what it did right. Like the first game, this one has tight controls that are super intuitive once you get the hang of them. I appreciated little assists such as holding the shoulder button to drop down the sub weapons and techniques, or how if you reach a save point without full health and then die afterwards, you’ll return there with full health. Also appreciated is how whenever you reach the end of any dungeon, your buddy Fred will make a wormhole to warp you out. Even better, they finally fixed the inverted controls, so A selects things and B goes back. Though it wasn’t a huge deal, the way they were reversed in the original irked me. I also really enjoyed how the HD Rumble was incorporated here. While it was occasionally irritating in the first game, here it was used more cleverly to exaggerate the sensation of take off as the Gaia-Sophia blasts off into space. But now that I’ve gushed about all that I enjoyed, I need to balance things out a little.
While most of the game is a blast, there are a couple small irritations. First was what I mentioned earlier about the counter mechanic. Likewise, there is another mechanic that goes completely unexplained, and though you rarely need it, I found it a requisite for one puzzle. Namely, you can apparently use the Sophia Summon mechanic to bring your tank to you when you’re separated from it and sitting on a save point. Again, I only discovered that by accident while on the pause menu. And another very minor point is that the true final boss felt slightly less epic to me than the one in Blaster Master Zero. But to be fair, the boss just before that is a blockbuster fight that really makes you think. And considering how much I enjoyed the last section of the game overall, it’s of little consequence.
Considered as a whole, Blaster Master Zero 2 is another fantastic offering from Inti Creates. It did enough to differentiate itself from the first adventure while innovating in mostly successful new directions. Furthermore, I really grew to love the characters in the game, both old and new. If Eve wasn’t a top tier waifu before, just wait until you get the True Ending. My only real complaints were how a couple elements weren’t clearly explained and how beating the game with the best ending didn’t seem to unlock anything. Given how beating the first unlocked New Game+ and other modes, this was a bit of a letdown. But even taking that into consideration, I can wholeheartedly recommend this game. At $9.99, I got more than nine hours of gameplay from it. Blaster Master Zero 2 is a hell of a steal for any fan of retro, Inti Creates or just a Switch owner looking for a system exclusive. Now to bide my time and hope we get some DLC with some new MA pilots in the near future!
Review Copy Provided by Publisher
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