Rogue Legacy 2, now available in early access on Steam, leans heavily on the first two nouns in its title. It’s a roguelike in which the player guides generations of adventurers through a grand castle in search of fame and fortune, leaving behind a legacy for the next family member to take up the cause. I love the moment-to-moment gameplay, but if you were looking for a drastic shift from the first entry, you might not be as willing to stick around.
Upon starting Rogue Legacy 2, I was immediately struck by how quickly I fell back into the gameplay loop despite not having played the original for years. Every run starts with choosing a new adventurer, who is able to spend the gold accrued by their most recent ancestor on stat improvements and better gear. At first, they’ll all be of the generic warrior class, but as you progress, you unlock new classes like rangers, mages, and barbarians.
Rogue Legacy 2 feels incredible, with great movement techniques and an updated art style that makes it look like a Saturday morning cartoon. That said, I quickly came up against the limitations of the early access model when I tried expanding my adventure outside the confines of the first biome and was instead met by a message from the developers teasing future content. I guess I’ll have to make do with the drafty castle interiors for now.
The core conceit, however, lies with what Rogue Legacy calls “traits.” These randomized attributes saddle your character with quirks that, depending on how you play, might help or hinder you in your hunt for treasure. “Panic Attacks,” for instance, makes the game screen blurry for a few seconds every time you get hit. “OCD” restores mana when you break things. “Crippling Intellect” reduces your character’s HP, MP, and attack power while boosting MP regeneration.
Much like the first game, I wouldn’t say Rogue Legacy 2 handles these traits, many of which are based on real-life disorders, with the necessary tact they probably deserve. That said, they have been altered slightly in that they now give you a percentage boost to the gold you collect, with more extreme traits providing greater rewards. I sure wish I were paid more for my poor eyesight and anxiety disorders, but alas.
It took prehistoric fish hundreds of millennia to do something as monumental as evolving into four-legged, air-breathing tetrapods, but we often expect game sequels to transmogrify into something radically different in just a few short years. Rogue Legacy 2 has taken the small details that made its predecessor great and gradually expanded upon them. And while developer Cellar Door Games hasn’t reinvented the wheel here, it’s great to have more Rogue Legacy to sink my teeth into all the same.