By Joe Deeney
Guacamelee! 2 does what all good sequels should: the same but more so. Though, whether it goes above and beyond “the same” is another matter.
We’ve got the same beautiful artwork, the same silky controls, the same engaging combat, and the same tongue-bursting-through-its-cheek humour. But that’s exactly it – it’s the same. It’s all there from before.
The one thing the first Guacamelee! had that the second can’t quite replicate was freshness. Something was just so alive about its world. The music, the colours, the “Mexiverse” mise en scène. It was a familiar Metroidvania wrapped in the most exquisite poncho of the plains. It’s not that Guacamelee! 2 is shabbier, it’s that we’ve seen it before.
That’s not to say I wouldn’t recommend Guacamelee! 2. ¡No mames! I’d recommend this game as much as it’s predecessor, just don’t expect to feel the same rushes of wonder you did the first time around.
Getting to grips with the game, however, was something I hadn’t seen before. With its “previously on Guacamelee!” style revisit of the final boss, empowering the player with maximum health, abilities, and special move points. A different ending from the original occurs (that’s explained later), then flash forward ten years and our hero Juan is a paunched father replete with screaming kids, messy house, and a champion’s belt around his girth as a totem of his luchador days. It’s a smart move and gave the game a nice “getting the band back together” first gear that, as huge fans of the original, my girlfriend and I found jolly pleasing.
However, the game doesn’t take long to travel familiar roads and, past the spit and polish the sound and vision has received, it felt like an expansion pack of the first game over a sequel. There are a couple of new moves thrown into the ring that undeniably add a little spice, but it’s essentially the same burrito.
But what a burrito! It may be the second half of the same game, but it’s a game I devoured without chewing. I’d even go as far as to say these games are right up there for me as far as the Metroidvania genre goes. The game especially sings in two-player quorp, when scratching each other’s head over a tricky act of dexterity, or squealing with joy at the frantic and satisfying combat, both of you pretending you’re not button-bashing.
Should you buy Guacamelee! 2? Of course! If you’ve played the first one, you’ll have as much of a blast as before, but with less of that special feeling. If you haven’t played the first one, you might want to have a word with yourself.