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Review: Bleed 2 (Nintendo Switch)By Flynnie At 07.03.2018 21:42

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The game plays similarly to the original, so fans that have played this should be instantly familiar with what to expect. Playing the original is not necessary for any newcomers as it can be picked up with relative ease. The plot follows Wryn who is the world's greatest and only remaining hero; her job is to prevent evil villains from taking over the world and protect her mantel of 'Greatest Hero of All Time.' The plot for the most part is forgettable; it is not intended to be a story heavy title and very little character development or narrative is driven to further advance the tale. This isn't necessarily a negative, as it allows for the fast-paced action to flow from level to level.

Bleed 2 is a super quick, 2D action, side-scrolling, twin-stick shooter with platforming, bullet-hell and run-and-gun elements blended in. These elements combined make one heck of a ride and are executed flawlessly. Even when the action is fast and furious, there is no drop in frame-rate, which is commendable. Traversing the level is done through a variety of manoeuvres, such as running, triple-jumping, and mid-air air-dashing, which allows the protagonist to fly through the level with elegance and style. Wryn is initially armed with a pistol for long range shooting and a katana for close combat/parry attacks, the latter being an improvement upon the original as certain bullets and attacks can be parried to inflict damage on enemies with much more ease. Further weapons can be unlocked (rather than purchased as per the original) and hot-swapped in the pause screen at any point in a level. Wyrn also has varying levels of air-dodging, which can be unlocked.

Finally, Wyrn also has the ability to slow down the combat by entering a Matrix-style 'bullet-time,' which allows her to get out of harm's way, parry attacks, or unleash a number of attacks on the enemy for a limited time. Combining these manoeuvres and combat elements can change the approach to the action when it comes to replaying stages or trying to take a varied approach to tackling the different levels. The variety included is important as Bleed 2's main story can be completed in one play-through (approximately 1-2 hours, depending on the difficulty setting) - featuring seven different levels.

After the initial play-through, additional options, such as different weapons and a cast of characters that each has unique abilities become available. There are other additional modes that can extend the life of the game, including Arcade mode, Endless featuring randomly generated levels, and Challenge, which pits the player against various bosses from the game. Fans of the original may recognise some of the bosses in Bleed 2 as some designs are ripped straight from the original, which can somewhat dampen any originality. However, this is no slight on the boss encounters as there 25 in total, and all feature new patterns on harder difficulty settings, although the generic enemies within the game do feel like easy cannon fodder.

Anyone familiar with the original Bleed will know what to expect in the graphics department, which sees very little change. Bleed 2 is a standard sprite-based title, with a few standout features on each character model. However, it vastly improves upon its predecessor in the audio department as the soundtrack is suitable for a pumped-up retro action shooter.

Initially, the control scheme is a little cumbersome to play on Nintendo Switch's odd Joy-Con controllers. The Joy-Con do not feel as responsive or comfortable to play with as something like the Pro Controller. The left analogue stick moves Wyrn around the screen with the right analogue stick controlling where bullets fly, although it does feel harder to make the more accurate shots with Joy-Con vs. the Pro Controller. The jump button is mapped to the R2 button, also, which can take some getting used to, particularly in handheld mode.

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Final Score
At its core, [i]Bleed 2[/i] is ostensibly a step up from the original in every single department, although this may not be recognised at first glance. Everything feels a little more polished in the sequel and while there are a few different game modes, [i]Bleed 2[/i]'s brevity should certainly influence whether or not the gamer wants to part ways with its relatively high price-tag. Nonetheless, those willing to take the plunge will be happy with the game mechanics and relentless assault of crafty fun boss battles.



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