[PlayStation 4] Axiom Verge 2 Review
The highly anticipated Axiom Verge 2 from Thomas Happ is ready to go on PlayStation 4. Learn more about it in our Axiom Verge 2 review!
It’s been a long wait, but Axiom Verge from Thom Happ 2 is finally here! After getting a surprise launch on Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4, it’s now time to take this highly anticipated sequel for a spin. Before we begin, I should mention that unlike prequel Axiom Verge, which was a straight-up action Metroidvania, Axiom Verge 2 goes for more of a puzzle Metroidvania sort of thing, even allowing you to avoid confronting bosses in the process, giving you a chance to play the game at your own pace by exiting the room where a boss is located. The combat is mostly from close range, which is different when compared to the weapons you had access to in the prequel, which helps it stand on its own when compared to the original. As someone who owns Axiom Verge on Nintendo Wii U digitally and physically, digitally and physically on Nintendo Switch – not to mention digitally on PlayStation 4 – you can certainly say that I have been looking forward to finally getting a chance to play this sequel!
Back in 2007, Scientist Elizabeth Hammond revolutionized the world with a wonderful invention: a superluminal communicator! Zero-latency computing would then become the standard. Unfortunately, in 2053 tragedy struck as a group of members of Hammond Corp went missing in Antarctica, including Elizabeth Hammond! Without their leader, the company’s value decreased considerably. Indra, founder and CEO of the Globe 3 conglomerate seized the chance to purchase most of Hammond Corp and its subsidiaries. This included the original superliminal communicator. Upon booting it up, she was greeted with a message: meet me in Antarctica if you want to see your daughter again. Curious about the meaning of this, she sets out on a quest to find out what really happened during that tragic expedition…
You can take on Axiom Verge 2 right away by pressing Start from the main menu, which will send you into what could best be described as the Story Mode for the game. There’s also the option of activating Speedrun Mode, which allows you to play the game with a timer on the upper right corner of the screen while skipping all dialogue, cutscenes, and randomized content so that you can try and beat the game as fast as possible. I suggest you leave the Speedrun Mode pending for a second run so that you can enjoy the game’s story and get to learn what Axiom Verge 2 has to offer. And yes, the Speedrun Mode is tied to a trophy – more on trophies in a bit!
As for the controls, you’ll move your character with the left analog stick or the D-Pad, jumping with the X button. You can aim left, right, above, and below you, and use the items mapped to the Square, Triangle, circle, L2, and R2 buttons, which are for items 1 to 5, respectively. You can lock your position with the R1 button. The map can be checked by pressing the Touchpad on the DualShock 4. To configure your loadout, just press the Options button to access your menu, which you can navigate with the L1 and R1 buttons.
You’ll be able to deploy a drone to aid you in your search for a way to return home after a couple of story twists show you that not everything is what it seems. The drone can be used to attack enemies, activate switches, or explore some sections that are too dangerous – or have too narrow of an entrance – for you to explore. There’s more than one dimension to explore in Axiom Verge 2, and you’ll have to do whatever it takes to solve the puzzles you’ll find in the regular dimension… and in the Breach. You’ll find portals here and there that will take you to the Breach, another dimension that will have a retro, minimalist look.
At first, you’ll only be able to travel into and out from the Breach by sending your drone through the portals that you find. Later on, you’ll get upgrades that will grant you the possibility to attract portals while in the real world so that you can travel into the Breach from a different spot – usually leading to secret sections that can only be reached in that way. There will also be an upgrade that will allow the drone to exit the Breach at any given time, which will allow you to speed up the exploration process while finding more and more upgrades and power-ups.
Hacking is going to be a bit part of your time with Axiom Verge 2 since you’ll be able to hack doors to open or close them, hack platforms to activate them, hack enemies to slow them down, hack an enemy so that it helps you, make enemies release an explosive they’re carrying, disable enemies and bosses, or make explosives go boom, to name some examples. Because of this, you should make sure to increase your Infection level so that you can hack as many enemies as possible, since the higher your Infection level, the more powerful of a hacker you’ll be.
There’s a ton of stuff to collect in Axiom Verge 2, including notes about the lore of the Axiom Verge universe, health nodes to boost your overall hit points, flasks that can be used to upgrade your character, increasing its Infection level, Combat, Physiology, and Drone abilities, as well as a variety of items, some weapons, and new abilities that will help you on this adventure. The more you collect, the better your odds of survival, but you do need to keep in mind how this will affect your trophy hunting run.
Trophy-wise, there are 19 Bronze trophies and 8 Gold trophies for you to unlock. It’s an interesting list since there are trophies for destroying 500 crates, for hacking an enemy, for performing all hacks at least once, for securing all health nodes, finding 100% of items, visiting every screen in the game to fill up your map, beating the game without destroying the large bosses, for beating it in Speedrun Mode, for beating the game by collecting 40% or less of all items, for finding all flasks, and for defeating each boss, to name some examples. As you can see, there are some trophies that cancel each other out, so you’re going to have to plan accordingly.
Since not everyone likes to go for as challenging an experience as possible while gaming, and because not everyone has the same abilities, Axiom Verge 2 offers some nice accessibility options so that all gamers can have a chance of seeing the credits roll. You can set how much damage enemies deal to you, even setting it so that they deal zero damage and you’re basically invincible, change how much damage you deal to enemies, change the contrast of platforms, reduce the flicker and strobe effects, and even change the game’s speed.
It’s been a long wait, but one that has been worth it. Axiom Verge 2 expands on what its prequel set out to do, paying homage to the beloved Metroid series while also doing its own thing. This sequel changes things around by placing a focus on close-range combat mixed with your hacking abilities, as well as using your drone to enter the Breach to explore a pixeltastic, minimalist dimension with a soundtrack to match. As long as you know what you’re getting yourself into, you’re going to dig what this game has to offer. Thanks to its accessibility options, gamers of all skill levels can have a chance at beating the game, especially since there’s an option to avoid boss fights with ease. Axiom Verge 2 is out on PlayStation 4 with a $19.99 asking price.
This Axiom Verge 2 review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Thomas Happ.