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    Axiom Verge 2 review

    Need to know

    What is it? An open-ended platformer set in an intricate alien environment.
    Expect to pay $20
    Developer Thomas Happ Games LLC
    Publisher Thomas Happ Games LLC
    Reviewed on Intel Core i7-10750H, 16GB RAM, GeForce RTX 2060
    Multiplayer? None
    Link Official site (opens in new tab)

    $5.49 (opens in new tab)View at Amazon (opens in new tab)$9.49 (opens in new tab)View at Amazon (opens in new tab)

    I can remember the last time I felt excited for a Metroidvania. It was Axiom Verge, a game inspired more by the original Metroid than the other half of the equation, Symphony of the Night. Like Metroid, Axiom was set in a dark, mysterious world that felt particularly open to investigation, in part thanks to a device called the Axiom Disruptor. This was a gun that let you ‘hack’ parts of the game world, turning foes into friends or clearing glitched-out obstacles. Never mind that it was really another disguised key in a genre crammed with overt and covert locks, it gave the illusion of letting the player mess rebelliously with the game code.

    I mention the Disruptor—such an iconic element of the original game—because it’s absent from this daring sequel, replaced by a similar hacking tool that’s perhaps more versatile, but less exciting to use. It’s emblematic of a game that has changed almost every aspect of its predecessor, while still somehow retaining its soul.

    Once again, you play as a human transported to an alien world: a land full of killer drones, where two civilizations once fought a devastating war. It’s a philosophical story that touches on artificial intelligence and a theory of multiple worlds, but told so lightly it can be difficult to follow. The heavier ruminations are delegated to collectable documents, which do fill in many of the gaps.

    (Image credit: Thomas Happ Games)

    I should probably also mention that I got totally stuck at one point—as I did in the first game—but here it took much less time to fathom my way out. Almost from the start, you can sprawl in multiple directions and butt your head against multiple brick walls. However, this sequel is a little better at offering guidance. There’s a new on-screen compass to offer (reassuringly vague) assistance, but it’s also easier to orient yourself inside these more organic worlds.

    I can’t decide if it’s a better game—it’s certainly a vastly different, more ambitious one. Axiom Verge 2 builds on the work of its predecessor, but also Symphony of the Night and A Link to the Past, to create one beautifully intricate space to explore.

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    As seen on PCgamer

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