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"Because it is my Guilt, I claim you, Grievous Miracle."
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Blasphemous is a 2-D Hack and Slash Metroidvania, developed by The Game Kitchen of The Last Door fame and published by Team17. Its Kickstarter campaign launched on May 23, 2017, reaching its goal in a little over a day. It concluded on June 20, earning a total of $333,246 (an appropriate 666% of its original goal). The game was released on September 10, 2019 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows, macOS, UNIX, and Nintendo Switch.

The setting is a morbid world where people's sins have physically manifested due to something called the "Grievous Miracle," twisting humans into painful monstrosities. Players take on the role of "The Penitent One," the last member of a congregation known as The Brotherhood of the Silent Sorrow. After the deaths of his group, he finds himself in Cvstodia's "Age of Corruption", following the transformation of The High Pontiff into a burning tree whose ashes swallowed up a majority of the church leaders and transformed them into monsters. To set things right, the Penitent One is told to seek out the Cradle of Affliction, but to do so, he must first face three trials known as the Three Humiliations, all the while hunted by agents of the Church, whose leaders seek to ensure the Miracle remains so they can continue to draw power from it.

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A Downloadable Content update, The Stir of Dawn, was released on August 4, 2020. It includes new story content, areas, and bosses, as well as New Game+ and new difficulty modifiers. View the trailer here. A second free DLC, Strife and Ruin, was released on February 18, 2021. It features a crossover with Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, adding new challenge rooms, a Boss Rush mode, and new render modes. You can view its trailer here.

See Unworthy for a 2018 game with a very similar premise and gameplay, or Dark Devotion for a 2019 game with equivalent gameplay, but the inverse worldview on matters of faith and spirituality.


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Sorrowful be the Tropes, Penitent One:

  • Aerith and Bob: Given the Collectibles were designed by the game's backers, they span a wide array of different names, many of which differ starkly from Cvstodia's usual naming conventions. Examples range from modern-sounding names like June or Brendan, to less common ones like Tequila or Sabnock, and outright strange ones, like Rikusyo or Aralcarim.
  • Affably Evil: The Final Boss, Escribar. He's rather polite for someone who controls the theocracy, even when the Penitent One comes for his head.
  • Amazon Brigade:
    • The nuns at the Convent of Our Lady of the Charred Visage are obviously all female. Make no mistake, they will give any player a hard time.
    • The Amanecidas, who are easily the hardest bosses in the game.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Pre-release materials for the game used Gender-Neutral Writing to refer to the Penitent One, and the game itself never shows what is underneath the armor and helmet. However, the Penitent One is evidently male, since the artbook refers to the Penitent One as a male, as does Deogracias in the true ending.
  • And I Must Scream: The lore entry for the Thorned Symbol item reveals that this is the case for Ten Piedad. Driven by dreams of the Miracle, the person who was once Ten Piedad took his rest in the arms of the statue seen in the boss area. The Miracle appeared to him one more time, more vividly than before, and when he woke up his body had transformed into a monster, constantly filled with rage and pain, and he no longer had control over it. In a twisted sort of way, for a boss whose name in Spanish means "Have Mercy", killing him is a mercy to him.
    • Socorro, our pious Lady of the Perpetual Agony. She asked the Miracle for clemency for the souls ordered to be tortured to death. The answer was an unending death where she suffers all the pain that would have befell them instead. The Penitent One can at least end her suffering.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: You can unlock new Aspects (essentially Palette Swaps) for the Penitent One by accomplishing certain tasks. You receive Aspects for seeing each of the game's Multiple Endings, for finding all the collectibles, for donating 100,000 Tears of Atonement to the church in Albero in The Stir of Dawn DLC, and for completing True Torment mode while under the effects of a penitence. One Aspect is also available as paid DLC, and another was a Kickstarter backer reward.
  • Arc Symbol: A strange figure eight-like symbol is strongly associated with the religion of Cvstodia, and thus is displayed constantly throughout the game.
    • In-engine, the symbol is displayed next to the counter for Tears of Atonement (the unit of in-game experience/currency), and also appears onscreen whenever the Penitent One dies or accomplishes a significant task.
    • In-universe, the symbol is seen emblazoned on altars and churches, metal representations of it are scattered half-buried in the ground near Confessor statues, and the Penitent One draws the symbol on his mask in holy bile whenever he heals.
    • If you look in the background of the starting room of the game, as well as certain menus, you will see a masculine figure bound to a stake, with its limbs in an arrangement indicative of a figure eight, almost as if displayed post-execution. You can also find still-living people bound to stakes in such a manner throughout the game. This makes the symbol an even more obvious Christian cross analogue.
  • Assist Character: The Strife and Ruin DLC adds a prayer which lets the Penitent One summon Miriam to assist them in battle. When summoned this way, Miriam will make a single Herd-Hitting Attack before disappearing.
  • Barred from the Afterlife:
    • According to the tenets of the Miracle, those who are not buried whole cannot pass through the Dream into the afterlife. This is why the Order of the True Burial exists: to gather the scattered pieces of those who died and were buried incomplete so that their bodies can be made whole and their souls can pass on properly.
    • Speaking of the Order of the True Burial, one of their sidequests involves gathering the remains of a nun named Tentudia, which have been separated into three parts: her bones, her carnal remains, and her hair. Why was this done to her, you ask? Because Tentudia's hair grew uncontrollably into thorns, and in order to make certain this apparent heresy never came to light, the other nuns of her convent (implied to be that of Our Lady of the Charred Visage) murdered her and scattered her pieces throughout Cvstodia without telling anyone what they'd done.
    • The Blessed Lord of Salty Shores has also had this done to him. In life, he was a false saint who granted false blessings to his followers with salt, so the Miracle punished him by trapping him in a salt lake and preventing him from passing on until he manages to bless three real relics.
    • Self-inflicted in the true ending, as the Penitent One takes all of Cvstodia’s sins upon himself, to spare its people from the whims of the Miracle. As Deogracias says, this requires them to remain amongst the living, unable to pass on.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • One of the sidequests involves the story of three sisters who, when forced to marry against their will, prayed to the Miracle for help. The Miracle answered their plea... by fusing the three sisters into a hideous, three-faced creature called Altasgracias.
    • Socorro was once a young woman in her town who was witness to a procession of men being taken to be punished, tortured and finally executed. She prayed to the Miracle that she could take their pain from them. Well, she got what she wanted, taking away all of their pain and suffering onto herself... to the point she never ceases to suffer from the endless tortures the brutal theocracy throws on any heretics, and no matter how much she gets hurt, she'll never die from it. You can save her from this either by killing her or by returning her three marks of refuge to her.
    • Also applicable to Cvstodia as a whole with their Martyrdom Culture that centers around pain and suffering to atone for their sins. The Grievous Miracle brought them that, alright.
  • Blind Weaponmaster: The tie-in comic reveals Crisanta of the Wrapped Agony has her own penance, giving up her sight, with a close up showing her helmet's eyes are covered. Despite this she is a fierce warrior, defeating the Penitent One in the comic and putting up a challenge as a boss.
  • Bloody Horror: Dead bodies are littered everywhere, particularly in the starting area where the Penitent One awakens.
  • Bloody Murder: As you upgrade your sword, you'll be able to unlock a reliable ranged attack: Fervorous Blood. By cutting yourself you're able to bless your own blood and turn it into a deadly projectile. You can upgrade it twice after unlocking it, with the first power-up granting it a boomerang-like effect, which can hit enemies multiple times on their way back, and the final one making the blood explode as it reaches its maximum range or when colliding with some particularly tough enemies.
  • Body Horror: Hideous mutations and mutilations are a fairly common result of being "blessed" by the Grievous Miracle.
    • One sidequest culminates in the Penitent One meeting a creature called Altasgracias. From the neck down, Altasgracias looks like an attractive, naked woman of enormous stature. From the neck up... less so. Altasgracias used to be three sisters who were being forced to marry against their will, and invoked the Miracle to get them out of it. The Miracle fused them into a giant, three-faced bearded woman cocooned in an egg made of their hair, and knotted their tongues together as punishment for their oathbreaking; these knotted tongues are the relic the Penitent One ultimately receives from completing this sidequest.
    • Another sidequest involves a condemned man named Gémino, doomed to die in the frozen wasteland of Where Olive Trees Wither. Gémino is gigantic, easily three times the Penitent One's height, with a third arm growing out of his chest. He's been nearly completely encased in a statue, which is attached to an enormous tree, and has been shot multiple times with arrows, but is so numb from the cold that he can't feel them (or much of anything else) anymore. And he's slowly fusing with the tree. Gémino's life sucks.
    • Several of the Bosses count, especially since the Miracle revived most into the grotesque forms they are now. Ten Piedad's body looks human with bits of tree roots digging through the skin, and with an inhuman skull for a head. Quirce's body is heavily implied to be burned and has an incredibly unhealthy pallor, and Escribar's body is pure red wood with black sap for his blood. And of course, one cannot expect Our Lady of the Charred Visage to not fit in this trope.
    • The Custodian of the Stained Glass is a penitent with a sackcloth over their head and multiple shards of stained glass protruding from their back. They move quickly, Flash Stepping up to the Penitent One and swinging one of these glass shards at him. If killed normally (IE not via execution), they fall over backwards and the glass shards are driven forward through their chest, leaving them writhing in agony for a moment before dying.
    • The Sagittal Martyr is a slightly overweight man, naked except for a golden halo behind his head, who has been sawed in half from skull to groin. This doesn't stop him from hurling a pair of sawblades bolted together at the Penitent One whenever he gets too close.
    • The Amargura. When Redento encounters one of these monsters in the Patio of Silent Steps, it frightens him enough that he can't bring himself to continue onward while it still lives. Understandable, considering that the thing looks like this.
    • Nacimiento, a new NPC added in The Stir of Dawn. The poor sod has the face of an old man growing in his chest. Said face eventually develops into a full grown old man that tears himself out of Nacimiento's chest. Oh, and his feet are nailed to a wooden board, but that doesn't seem to bother him too much.
    • Jibrael, another NPC introduced in The Stir of Dawn, is a skeletally-gaunt giant with lamps growing out of his feet and lower legs and Creepily Long Arms bound together with an oversized, twisted bugle.
  • Bottomless Pits: The Penitent One can fall to his death this way, even if the map indicates the pit has a bottom. However...
    • Bottomless Pit Rescue Service: ... The Linen of Golden Thread relic not only prevents him from dying in bottomless pits, but it allows access to new areas that are otherwise unreachable and have bonus items.
  • Burn the Witch!:
  • Butter Face: Altasgracias is a very attractive, naked, Giant Woman from the neck down. From the neck up, she's a hideous, three-faced, bearded monstrosity.
  • Cast from Lifespan: Viridiana will appear before you fight some of the bosses and offer to help, but she can only be used up to three times (out of the five bosses) as she will be aged rapidly after a fight with her aid.note 
  • Came Back Strong: Quirce, Returned By The Flames was revived after being burnt at the stake and gained fire powers and a flaming sword as a result.
  • Check-Point Starvation: Every Prie Dieu and Warp Zone are very sparsely placed. It doesn't help that Continuing is Painful.
  • Climbing Climax: The final areas of the game are located at the very top of the world map: Namely, the arch cathedral rooftops and The Deambulatory of His Holiness.
  • Commonplace Rare: You'd think that, in a place like Cvstodia, knots of rosary cord wouldn't be quite so hard to come by, or that there'd be more than six of them to be found in all the land, especially since rosary beads are far more common by comparison. This is justified by lore stating that the rosary knots in the game were all woven from the thread of ancient monks' habits by a single woman named Engracia, whose work was so beautiful and perfect that rosaries not crafted by her were ultimately found to be "false" and actively destroyed by the Holy See. It's implied that these factors, coupled with Engracia's eventual death cutting off the supply of new rosaries, are responsible for the scarcity of rosary knots in the game.
  • Continuing is Painful:
    • Dying accumulates Guilt in the Penitent One. In gameplay, this translates in a max Fervor reduction and reduced Tears of Atonement acquisition for every death, until you recover the Guilt fragments left where you died or visit a Confessor. Not to mention that enemies respawn after you died.
    • Averted with the use of a certain rosary item that prevents Guilt accumulation and is key to the best ending.
    • Taken Up to Eleven if you choose the Penance of True Guilt in a New Game+. Said penance sets your Guilt level to max upon death (effectively crippling your Mana Meter) and makes you lose all accumulated Tears of Atonement a la Dark Souls, forcing you to recover your Guilt fragments to get them back.
  • Cool Helmet: The Penitent One wears an impressively pointy one inspired by the capirote. Other characters, like Crisanta of the Wrapped Agony, also wear similarly-styled helmets; notably, every single one of the seemingly thousands of dead bodies in the first area of the game appears to be wearing the same helmet (and nothing else). The normal ending shows Deogracias placing the Penitent One's helmet, the only thing left of him after being swallowed by the hill of ash he failed to climb, on a pile of other helmets, all similar to his own, implying that the player character was far from the only "Penitent One" to attempt the journey.
  • Cool Sword: The Penitent One uses Mea Culpa, an extremely long, guardless sword that has metallic thorny vines wrapped about it.
  • Corpse Land: The area of the first boss, the Warden of the Silent Sorrow, has piles of completely identical dead bodies filling up the background, foreground, and pretty much everywhere else as well. Some of the Warden's attacks even cause a few bodies to be thrown around by the sheer force of impact.
  • Corrupt Church: The theocracy that rules over Cvstodia. They apparently got worse once the Grievous Miracle manifested.
  • The Corruption: The Grievous Miracle externalizes sin, guilt, and other maladies of the soul in the faithful, turning them into beasts twisted in form and savage in nature, but with their faith fully intact.
  • Counter-Attack: Parrying an attack lets you avoid damage, and respond with a major blow of your own if the enemy isn't strong enough to give you a Knockback Slide instead.
  • Crapsack World: Cvstodia was already a brutal theocracy long before the Grievous Miracle manifested and the Age of Corruption began.
  • Creepy Catholicism: Since it's game focused on horror drawing heavily from Catholic imagery, this is expected...
  • Crosshair Aware: Comes into play during the boss fight against Expósito, Scion of Abjuration. When the glowing circle on the ground stops moving, get well clear, unless you're a fan of death by giant baby.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: The religion of the Grievous Miracle is obviously based heavily on Christianity. It takes Christianity's preoccupation with sin, penance and suffering and turns it Up to Eleven.
  • Cycle of Hurting: It's quite easy to get helplessly juggled until death by some bosses' attacks. Two of the biggest offenders are Quirce when he repeatedly drops from the ceiling on top of you while creating fire pillars, and the Final Boss's lightning attack.
  • Dash Attack: An upgrade to Mea Culpa allows you to make a Sacred Thrust, which has excellent range and damage.
  • Deadly Gas: In the standard way of greenish gas that steadily deteriorates the Penitent One's health as long as he is standing in it. Thankfully, the Penitent One can find a relic that negates this effect. He can also learn a prayer that generates gas that is deadly to his enemies.
  • Dead Person Conversation: The Shroud of Dreamt Sins lets you speak to certain corpses to receive hints.
  • Degraded Boss:
    • In one late-game area, the Penitent One has to fight two Wardens of the Silent Sorrow (i.e. the boss from the tutorial area) at once. The original Warden was already a Warm-Up Boss when the Penitent One faced it for the first time; by this point in the game, the pair of them together just barely qualifies as a miniboss fight.
    • At three points in the Archcathedral Rooftops, the Penitent One is locked in an Inescapable Ambush with a member of the Anointed Legion. Aside from wearing a helmet instead of going bare-headed, each one looks and fights identically to Esdras, and is only slightly easier to kill. The same area has flying enemies that fight very similarly to Perpetva as well, though they are much easier to kill in comparison. Strangely enough the soldiers do gain the extra ability of being impervious to regular attacks, requiring you to riposte them.
  • Dem Bones: Melquíades, the Exhumed Archbishop, a giant skeleton being propped up by a dozen hands from offscreen.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • Flagellant enemies will whip themselves if they are left idle long enough. Their model will flash a damage indicator, and if players are using an item that shows enemy health bars it shows that the flagellant actually takes a sliver of damage. The sliver of damage is inconsequential to gameplay, the detail is mostly for immersion.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Going unshod seems to be a fairly common aspect of penitent behavior in Cvstodia, judging by the number of NPCs (both friendly and hostile) who go barefoot. Redento of the Order of Genuflectors in particular makes kind of a big deal about making his pilgrimage barefoot, in accordance with the tenets of his Order. Probably the only example of this trope you'll find where people consciously choose to go barefoot specifically because they find it less comfortable than wearing shoes.
  • Downer Ending: Despite everything you do, fail or succeed in reaching the Cradle of the Grievous Relic, the cycle of suffering in Cvstodia will still continue.
  • Driven to Suicide: One of the possible endings of Cleofás' plotline has him jumping from atop the Archcathedral Rooftops.
  • Dual Boss:
    • About two-thirds of the way through the fight with Esdras of the Anointed Legion, backup arrives for the boss in the form of his angelic sister, Perpetva.
    • The late-game area has you fight two Wardens of the Silent Sorrow, the very first boss in the game, at once. Also doubles as Degraded Boss as the Penitent One is likely to have gotten much stronger at this point so killing each one shouldn't be much of a challenge.
  • Everything Fades: Defeated enemies burn up or disintegrate without a trace almost as soon as they hit the ground. The obstacles destroyed with your weapons will also disintegrate completely.
    • The Warden of Silent Sorrow leaves behind his corpse and the rock throwers leave rocks where they dropped, but these are gone as soon as you leave the room.
  • Facial Horror: The nuns at the Convent of Our Lady of the Charred Visage must burn their faces with boiling oil to be accepted in the convent. It is quite noticeable, even if they're rendered in pixel art. The convent's namesake, which is the area boss, displays this in spades with her giant half-charred face which is also holed, enabling the player to strike at the brain.
  • Fan Disservice: There's a fair amount of full-frontal nudity in the game...and none of it is even the slightest bit sexy.
  • Final Boss: His Holiness, Escribar. And his second phase, where his title becomes The Last Son of the Miracle.
  • Finishing Move: You can perform brutal executions on stunned enemies, and the animations are highly-detailed to boot. Enemies killed this way give extra Fervor and Tears of Atonement.
  • First Town: Albero Village is a quiet, dusty little town located just down the road from the starting area, which contains no enemies and serves as home to the Order of the Kissers of Wounds and the Order of the True Burial. It also contains a fountain that leads to the Lake of Silent Pilgrims, as well as a Mea Culpa shrine and a fast travel mirror. As such, it's a peaceful (if melancholy) place where a lot of sidequests come to fruition and from which a good portion of the rest of the world map can be reached, and that makes it an ideal base of operations for the Penitent One to rest, re-equip, and generally catch his breath before moving on to the next part of the quest.
  • Flaming Sword: Quirce, Returned by the Flame, fights with a sword engulfed in a flame. The sword also floats by itself, making it a deadly projectile that Quirce makes fly and bounce all over the boss room.
  • Flash of Pain: Enemies flash a golden-yellow color when hit.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Various humanoid enemies (and a couple of NPCs) are either nude or functionally nude.
  • Giant Hands of Doom:
    • During the fight against Melquíades, giant hands can reach up from the foreground and try to squash the Penitent One.
    • Our Lady of the Charred Visage primarily attacks by using her giant hands to shoot beams of light and various projectiles at the Penitent One.
  • God Is Evil / God Is Flawed: The people of Cvstodia worship the Miracle as a "divine will," and even its most pious adherents use words like "capricious" and "cruel" to describe it. Considering the fact that members of its flock tend to turn into hideous monsters or die in excruciatingly painful ways for no real purpose, it certainly isn't good, and at best could be considered a massive jerk. Of course, given that Cvstodians, by and large, want to be tortured horribly for the sake of penance, it could just be going the extra mile to give the people what they want.
  • Gorn: From the Religious Horror being played up for the use of downright disgusting and terrifying foes and environments, to the brutal finishers and executions the player can commit upon foes, and especially several of the bosses in general, blood and death are everywhere in Blasphemous and in gratuitous amounts of bloodshed at that.
  • Guide Dang It!: Plenty to speak of due to solving some puzzles, but the one that especially stands out is Gémino's quest. Unlike every other sidequest in the game, it is possible to become locked out of it if you progress too far without actually completing it... or mostly complete it, then save and reload before taking the final step. Same goes for finding the statues that must be destroyed and cleansed in order to net the true ending.
  • Gratuitous Latin: The game is steeped in Catholic-inspired Religious Horror, so inevitably there's Latin. The messages "EXEMPLARIS EXCOMVNICATIONIS" and "REQUIEM AETERNAM" appear on-screen whenever the Penitent One dies or kills a boss, respectively. Completing the bonus level unlocked after destroying a Confessor statue causes "DETESTATIO SACRORUM" to show up on-screen. Killing the final boss nets you the message "SUMMA BLASPHEMIA".
  • Ground Pound:
    • One of the attacks performed by the Warden of the Silent Sorrow boss is to simply jump up and land with force where the player was at the time of the jump.
    • The Penitent One can learn a similar attack called "Weight of Sin", which allows you to plunge downward with your sword, dealing great damage. The final upgrade releases a pillar of light on impact.
    • Notably, you can still damage an enemy by landing on them without the ground pound.
  • Harder Than Hard: Upon starting a True Torment playthrough, you are given the option to choose one of three Penitences to make the game even harder on top of the already increased difficulty of True Torment. Beating the game with each Penitence unlocks a new Palette Swap for the Penitent One as well as a Rosary Bead that gives you the effects of the Penitence, in case you're masochistic enough to want multiple active at once.
    • Penitence of the Bleeding Heart: Your Life Meter changes from a single bar into old-school segmented health, with each hit removing one segment. Bile Flasks slowly regenerate multiple segments but getting hit at any point during this process stops it. Enemies will respawn every time you leave the screen.
    • Penitence of the Unwavering Faith: Mea Culpa's damage is reduced by half, forcing you to rely mostly on Prayers and your blood projectile. Your Fervour automatically regenerates, but getting hit also damages your Fervour.
    • Penitence of the True Guilt: Your Tears of Atonement are left in your Guilt Fragment when you die, Dark Souls style. Your guilt is set to maximum every time you die. Bile Flasks recover Fervour instead of health.
  • Healing Checkpoint: The Prie Dieu altars act as checkpoints when prayed at, and will also refill your health and flasks. However, they'll also make all of the enemies respawn as well.
  • Healing Hands: About the only non-horrendous effect of the Grievous Miracle is that certain selfless acts actually pay off. The Order of the Kissers of Wounds emerged when they discovered that kissing the wounded in an act of mercy and contrition actually healed the wound and spared the healer any of the disfigurations that the Grievous Miracle usually wrought upon people.
  • Healing Potion:
    • Following its overall theme of religious horror and body horror, Blasphemous's spin on reusable Estus Flasks is Bile Flasks. Pouring red bile over your head is already a twisted homage to the Four Humors ancient theory of medicine. But lore text on the Empty Bile Flask item implies that the bile is sourced from the coffins of dead penitents, "blessed" by The Miracle to overflow with blood. The protagonist is refilling their flasks at the Prie Dieu altars from a stockpile of holy coffin blood!
    • Many enemies can be cheesed with a jumping attack from below their platform, but the process is slow and finicky. The Bellido enemy is essentially invulnerable to this tactic, as they take a swig from the purple jug on their back to heal the instant they lose aggro on the player. You'll never be able to jump fast enough to outpace their healing animation. The same jug that the Bellido uses for healing is also thrown at the player and explodes; the creature is so corrupted that normal anatomy doesn't apply.
  • Hearing Voices: Esdras of the Anointed Legion apparently never got over the loss of his sister, and regularly holds one-sided conversations and arguments with himself as though he can still hear her voice. However, the fact that you learn this through an item drop from a female angel wearing the armor of the Anointed Legion, who shows up again two-thirds of the way through your battle with Esdras to turn it into a Dual Boss fight, and then smites him with lightning when you defeat him, suggests that perhaps there is more to Esdras's behavior than people might think.
  • The Heretic: The Brotherhood of the Silent Sorrow was excommunicated when their mission came to oppose the Cvstodian Church. Whatever the incident, it very likely involves the Mea Culpa.
  • Heroic Mime: For once, this is justified. The Penitent One has taken a literal vow of silence as a form of penance, being the last living member of the Brotherhood of Silent Sorrow.
  • Holy Is Not Safe:
    • The most... charitable interpretation of the Grievous Miracle. At its best, it produces relics capable of minor miracles, and heals the wounded... at the worst, it drives men mad and warps them into hideous guilt-based monsters.
    • Mea Culpa itself counts: a sacred weapon with thorns that dig into the hands of the bearer, that grows stronger as it absorbs guilt and cuts with sublime indifference.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: Crisanta of the Wrapped Agony, true to her moniker, fights with a greatsword wrapped in cloth. About halfway through the boss fight against her, she burns the cloth away with her Battle Aura and begins to attack much faster and more aggressively, Flash Stepping around the battlefield and making lunging charges at the Penitent One.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Gameplay footage shows at one point a row of dead bodies impaled upon stakes, with some being torn apart at the torso as well. It can happen to the Penitent One as well if he lands on some Spikes of Doom.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Some of the enemies that you can found in Cvstodia have some odd choices of weapons, like giant candelabra, censers, broken bells, statues... one kind of enemy found early in the game, the guardainfante, attacks you using the corpse of a deer as a club.
  • Inescapable Ambush: Several rooms lock you in an area with a number of enemies to fight. Notably, one of the bosses, Quirce, Returned By The Flames, attacks you immediately after a section of the floor collapses.
  • In Mysterious Ways: Almost nothing is known about the Grievous Miracle or its motivations, apart from characters' personal interpretations. From humanity's perspective, it appears to bless and curse people on a whim.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: One enemy type found in the Sleeping Canvases is the Armature — a bronzed statue that animates when the Penitent One draws near and walks slowly towards him, causing Collision Damage if it makes contact. Hitting one deactivates it and makes it harmless for a time, but nothing in the Penitent One's arsenal is capable of actually destroying them.
  • Jackass Genie: How the Grievous Miracle most commonly manifests. If one prays fervently enough to the Miracle, there is a chance it will answer those prayers, usually in the worst way possible — and since a lot of Cvstodia's inhabitants pray to be tormented as penance for their sins, well...
  • Knight Templar: Crisanta of the Wrapped Agony. She is seemingly unconcerned by the fact that the people of Cvstodia are suffering because of the Grievous Miracle and is angrier at the fact that someone wants to put a stop to it. As far as she and possibly her superiors are concerned, the Penitent One is an evil force that must be struck down. She even goes so far as to pull out the sword from his body in the true ending, restarting the cycle that he tried so hard to end, simply because she can only perceive him as "evil".
  • Knockback Slide: if you deflect an attack that can't be parried, you're pushed back in this fashion.
  • Last of His Kind: The Penitent One is the last remaining living member of the Brotherhood of the Silent Sorrow.
  • Life Drain: The Saeta Dolorosa prayer allows the Penitent One to recover health upon damaging enemies while it lasts. Likewise, the Molten Heart of Boiling Blood for Mea Culpa has the same effect, at the cost of reducing HP recovered by using Bile Flasks.
  • Loophole Abuse: A game mechanics example. Resting at a Prie Dieu shrine refills the Penitent One's health and bile flasks, but has no effect on his Fervor and also causes slain enemies to respawn. The Penitent One can scourge his flesh with Mea Culpa, recovering a large amount of Fervor for 10 Tears of Atonement and a significant amount of health. However, nothing is stopping the Penitent One from resting at a Prie Dieu, scourging himself for Fervor, and then resting again at the cost of... respawning the enemies that he already respawned. As such, the Penitent One should always be leaving a Prie Dieu shrine with full health, fully-loaded bile flasks, and as much Fervor as he is willing to pay the Tears cost for. It's a small mercy from a game that otherwise has very little mercy to give.
  • Martyrdom Culture: The people of Cvstodia as a whole are seemingly obsessed with the idea of suffering for their faith, and the onset of the Age of Corruption has, if anything, made this tendency worse. Going by the story of the First Miracle and the Knot of Three Words, the Cvstodian idea of a "happy ending" is dying a slow, agonizingly painful death as penance for one's sins — which, given the way the Grievous Miracle seems to work, may go some way towards explaining the state of the world they live in.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The large, tree-looking boss seen in multiple gameplay demos and fought early in the game proper is called "Ten Piedad", which is Spanish for "Have Mercy". Its design, and how it first appears in the scene leading into the battle (resting on a statue's lap, as if being cradled), is reminiscent of the La Pieta sculpture by Michelangelo, which depicts a dying, post-crucifixion Jesus Christ laying on the Virgin Mary's lap.
    • The sword the Penitent One uses is called "Mea Culpa", which means "through my fault". It is usually an admission of guilt, or sin of some kind.note 
    • Socorro is a double whammy. Her name literally means "Succor", which works for a girl who begged to bear the punishment of those due for torture. But "Socorro!" is also the Spanish word people use when crying for help. Fitting for a girl who is in neverending agonizing pain.
    • Redento. Literally "Redeemed", his name in Latin comes from "rescued by the faith".
    • Altasgracias. While the name Altagracia is not uncommon, Altas Gracias is specifically plural and translates to High Graces as a dark Shout-Out to the Three Graces.
    • Candelaria. While in Spain, the name references the image of the Virgin of the Candelaria in Tenerife, the name literally means "candle bearer"; the main item sticking out of her bag is a candelabra.
    • Deosgracias: "Thanks to the Lord/God"
    • Diosdado. A somewhat archaic name literally meaning "God given".
    • Jocinero: His character seems to reference the song El Toro y La Luna, based on a gypsy legend of a bull in love with the moon, since Jocinero claims to have been born from a bull and the moon: the painting he springs forth from shows both. The name itself is infamous in bullfighting, as Jocinero was the name of a bull who killed Jose Damaso Rodriguez Rodriguez.
  • Motifs:
    • Blood and wounds. Even discounting the game's overall bloody aesthetic, emphasis is placed throughout the story on the use of blood as a sacrament and on self-harm as a symbol of devotion.
    • Trees, particularly people turning into trees. The Age of Corruption began when the High Pontiff turned into a giant tree; the First Miracle that occurred at the Knot of the Three Words involved a boy being overtaken by tree roots, and a tree growing in that spot now is a significant symbol for the Cvstodian faith; several enemies and bosses appear to be an amalgamation of flesh and animated wood; and the thorn given to the Penitent One by Deogracias at the start of the game grows over and into his body when he impales himself on Mea Culpa in the true ending, turning them to wood and causing roots and branches to sprout from them and grow around the throne. Also, by coincidence, the name of the town Albero translates to "tree" in Italian.
    • Gold. The saints keeping the Three Holy Wounds have golden visages, half of Our Lady of the Charred Visage's face is covered in gold (and her original name "Áurea" translates to "Golden" in Spanish), the enemy nuns wear golden masks, a "burning golden liquid" erupts yearly from the tree in the Knot of Three Words, and as Escribar says to the Penitent One before their final battle begins:
      "Now, may your sword full of guilt, with mine of gold, collide."
    • Masks and face coverings as well. While it's not exactly touched much in story, many foes as well as main characters wear masks or face coverings, be it veils, cloth, ropes, or even their own hair obscuring them.
  • Mirror Boss: Crisanta fights in a similar fashion to The Penitent One, using variations of his moves and can even parry and counter his attacks.
  • Money Sink: The Stir of Dawn update opens the church in Albero, which contains a donation box for you to dump Tears of Atonement into, which makes the inside of the church look progressively fancier and unlocks various rewards, some of them quite useful, such as being able to use the donation box as a free Confessor and being able to warp between Prie Dieus. The final reward is a new Palette Swap for the Penitent One at 100,000 Tears. These get reset upon a New Game+ (except for the Palette Swap), but if you're on NG+ you probably have all of the upgrades and shop items bought already, so you'll be able to get them back pretty quickly since you'll have nothing else to use your Tears on.
  • Mr. Exposition: Deogracias, although given the nature of the plot he may leave you with more questions than answers.
  • Multiple Endings: There are two endings, depending on whether or not you hunted down certain statues and cleansed them.
    • The normal ending has the Penitent One defeat the Final Boss. His goal is within reach, but the Cradle of the Grievous Relic, a throne of sorts, sits atop a hill of ash. The Penitent One attempts to climb the hill of ash, but he is swallowed up instead, leaving behind only his helmet. And as it turns out, he is not the only one to make the journey, as Deogracias retrieves his helmet and places it within a mountain of helmets similar to his own, implying that other "Penitent Ones" have attempted to make the same climb as he did, only to end in failure.
    • The true ending plays out similar to the standard ending, but instead of being consumed by the hill of ash, the Penitent One climbs up the hill and reaches the Cradle, proceeding to then stab himself. The thorn of the sword proceeds to wrap itself around his body and practically fuses them into the chair. Some time afterwards, the people come to view the Penitent One as a messiah-like figure, with Deogracias claiming that he has taken Escribar's place as the "last son of the Miracle". In spite of his actions, Crisanta of the Wrapped Agony has not forgotten her appointed task and pulls the sword from his body, implying that the events of the game will repeat once again.
  • New Game+: True Torment mode, added in the DLC The Stir of Dawn. As expected, enemies will be much tougher and your health and fervor levels will be reset, although you get to keep your relics, rosary beads, prayers, and Mea Culpa upgrades. You'll also have the ability to choose a Penance (gameplay modifiers for an added challenge) and have access to the Amanecidas' plotline.
  • Nintendo Hard: As a Souls-like game, this is hardly surprising. Check-Point Starvation? Check. Continuing is Painful? Check. Numerous Bottomless Pits and One-Hit Kill Spikes of Doom? Check. Low defense and having limited bile flasks? Check. No way to adjust difficulty? Check. Tons of Guide Dang It! occasions? Check.
  • No Name Given: The protagonist is only referred to as "the Penitent One".
  • One-Hit Kill: Expósito, Scion of Abjuration can grab the Penitent One and rip him in half for an instant kill. If the baby wails and starts moving toward the Penitent One, get out of the way.
  • One-Winged Angel: Halfway through the final battle, Escribar reveals his true form: a gigantic golem/angel thing called "The Last Son of the Miracle."
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: Whether by nature or by Miracle, certain characters in the game who appear to otherwise be human are significantly larger than the average person. Going by the Penitent One as standard, Quirce and Diosdado stand about twice the height of a typical human being, Deogracias and Gémino are about three times a regular human's size, and Jibrael and Nacimiento from The Stir of Dawn are each the size of a small building. And then there's the truly massive bosses: Expósito is, as mentioned elsewhere, a giant baby who can pull the Penitent One limb from limb like an insect; Melquíades would be several stories tall if he were standing upright (to say nothing of the people whose hands are supporting him); and going by the size of her face and hands (which, admittedly, may be all of her that's left), Our Lady of the Charred Visage is effectively a kaiju.
  • The Penance: Everyone in Cvstodia seems obsessed with pain and injury as penance for sin. Fittingly, making the Penitent One cut himself to trade Health for Fervor is a game mechanic, and according to the artbook, Mea Culpa is intentionally painful to wield.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Downplayed. You can miss out on some achievements for completing sidequests in a certain way, but the actual in-game rewards from those sidequests will still be obtainable, though you might have to jump through some additional hoops to get them.
    • Perpetva ambushes the Penitent One while he is travelling through the Mountains of Endless Dusk, triggering a miniboss fight. If the Penitent One wins this fight, he is rewarded with an item and an achievement; if he dies, the miniboss does not return and the achievement is lost, but the Penitent One can still get the item if he returns to the site of the ambush after defeating Esdras of the Anointed Legion.
    • Successfully completing Tirso's sidequest requires the player to alternate bringing him medicinal plants with defeating bosses. If the player defeats two or more bosses between visits to Tirso, he can still receive all the rewards for the quest, but members of the Order of the Kissers of Wounds will die and he won't get the achievement.
    • Gémino's sidequest was formerly a completely straight example. If the Penitent One didn't interact with him, get a key item, defeat Our Lady of the Charred Visage, and then come back with oil from the convent before the tree he is fused with fully consumed him, then that key item, a rosary bead, and a prayer could all be permanently lost for that playthrough. (And unlike most sidequests, Gémino's starts as soon as the Penitent One enters his area, rather than when he interacts with him, meaning that many players failed this quest without even realizing it was there.) This later became an aversion: a patch made it so that all the items from the quest are eventually made available to the player even if they fail to complete it properly — though getting the prayer does require the Penitent One to return to the area after he has acquired a certain relic — and unlike the previous examples, there is no achievement directly associated with Gémino's quest that can be lost if the player screws it up.note 
  • Pietà Plagiarism: The boss fight with Ten Piedad begins with the creature resting in the arms of a feminine statue. Then it awakens and stands up, desecrates the statue by ripping its head off, and throws it at you.
  • Pillar of Light: Many attacks in-game unleash these, including one prayer, the highest-level ground pound, and attacks by Tres Angustias and Melquíades, The Exhumed Archbishop.
  • The Plague: The land of Cvstodia has been hit with one of these, ironically called "The Miracle."
  • Plot Coupons: The Three Holy Wounds in the first half of the game, and the Three Masks of the Archdeacons in the second half.
  • Power at a Price: Sword Hearts can be implanted into Mea Culpa, each providing a beneficial effect and a drawback. For example, increasing your attack power but lowering your defense, or increasing Fervour generation from attacking enemies, but making your ranged attack weaker.
  • R-Rated Opening: The opening cutscene begins with a woman stabbing herself, complete with a copious amount of blood. After that, we first see the Penitent One face down in a mountain of corpses.
  • Rapid Aging: An initially young woman named Viridiana offers her assistance with some boss fights, casting a healing spell to keep the Penitent One topped up if he runs out of Bile Flasks. However, beating a boss with her assistance causes her to age about 30-40 years immediately. After three bosses, the now frail old woman thanks the Penitent one for allowing her to fulfill her mission of assisting him, gives him a Prayer, and falls over dead.
  • Recurring Traveller: Redento, of the Order of Genuflectors, is a wandering pilgrim whose path crosses the Penitent One's on several occasions. However, since Redento is a barefoot old man with his hands tied behind his back, and Cvstodia is... well, Cvstodia... each time they meet, the Penitent One has to clear some kind of obstacle that is preventing Redento from making forward progress.
  • Religious Horror: Blasphemous may as well be called Religious Horror: The Game. The game heavily draws on Christian tradition but emphasizes its more morbid traditions, such as exhuming the corpses of former saints, and even twisting its imagery to make horrific versions of traditional Christian themes.
  • Religion Is Magic: Outside of the Grievous Miracle, the spells in the game are called "prayers", holy miracles unlock new ways of progressing, and rosary beads can provide magical buffs to your stats, among many other examples.
  • Respawning Enemies: Using a save point immediately resurrects all of the creatures in the area. The Penance of the Bleeding Heart in New Game+ makes all enemies respawn when you leave the room.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: Some rosary beads allow the Penitent One to gain health, fervor or Tears of Atonement by destroying scenery objects.
  • Rise to the Challenge: The boss fight against the Tres Angustias plays out this way. Of course, if you fall into the rising pit of flames, it means instant death.
  • Rule of Three: All over the place. Three Holy Wounds needed to progress in the first half of the game, three masks of the Archdeacons needed to progress in the second, three items needed to hatch Altasgracias, three sets of remains needed to lay Tentudia to rest, three Marks of Refuge needed to release Socorro from her suffering...
  • Shield-Bearing Mook:
    • The Shieldmaiden enemy carries a large tower shield which protects her from the front when she is not swinging her saber. The Penitent One can jump over her to attack from behind, or wait until she starts attacking to strike in turn. The finishing move, once she's stunned, is to just stomp on top of the shield, crushing her.
    • The Wandering Tomb and Sleepless Tomb enemies are essentially inversions of the Shieldmaiden. They're sarcophagi where the tomb effigy has become animated and is now walking around, carrying the entire sarcophagus on its back; consequently, each is immune to attacks from the back, and the only way to defeat them is to brave their sword or mace swings and attack from the front.
  • Shock and Awe: There are a few enemies who can use thunder in their movesets. Boss examples include Crisanta of the Wrapped Agony, who can conjure thunder once she's at half health, and Esdras, of the Anointed Legion, who likes to spam a variety of lightning attacks from the very beginning.
  • Shockwave Stomp: The Warden of the Silent Sorrow boss seen in the gameplay footage can strike the ground with their chandelier to generate a purple shockwave rippling forwards along the ground.
  • Shout-Out: The Embers of the Holy Cremation relic is described as containing the heat of a bonfire lit in a distant land. Its very name can also be considered a reference to the act of linking the First Flame.
  • Spikes of Doom: Tall, thin iron spikes can be found across multiple areas. Falling into them results in instant death.
  • Staff of Authority: Melquíades, the Exhumed Archbishop wields an ornate golden mace. He can smack the Penitent One with it for a lot of damage.
  • Story Breadcrumbs: Much like in Dark Souls, a lot of the deeper story behind the game and its characters is conveyed through scraps of lore learned by picking up various items. Various supplementary materials like an artbook and a preview comic also help to fill in some of the details.
  • Sword Beam: There's an upgrade to Mea Culpa that allows it to fire these upon performing a charged strike.
  • Symbolic Baptism: After defeating the Warden of the Silent Sorrow, the Penitent One uses his helmet as a bucket to gather the Warden's gushing blood, before putting the helmet back on.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: The final boss battle with "The Last Son of the Miracle" would be impossible to win if the boss didn't summon his giant gold crusted dagger, which the Penitent One can destroy to expose the boss's face temporarily. Causing Temporary Platforms to appear, allowing the Penitent One to reach and apply his sword to said face, might not have been the best idea either.
  • Temporary Platform:
    • Using the Blood Perpetuated In Sand relic allows you to summon platforms of blood that are useful for platforming. Notably, you must step on every blood platform in sequence to spawn the next.
    • Platforms that collapse and regenerate are a common element throughout Cvstodia, often found in conjunction with Spikes of Doom, pits full of enemies, or other environmental hazards.
  • Tortured Monster: The majority of enemies are tortured, mutilated former humans.
  • Turns Red: While there isn't always an accompanying visual cue, nearly every boss in the game begins attacking more aggressively or using more powerful moves once its health bar hits certain levels (usually either the halfway point or 2/3 full and 1/3 full). Some of the more visibly-obvious examples include Crisanta of the Wrapped Agony unwrapping the agony and Our Lady of the Charred Visage attacking with both hands at once.
  • Thwarted Coup de Grâce: If you choose to attack Crisanta of the Wrapped Agony after the boss fight, The Penitent One launches into a furious combo of attacks, but Crisanta blocks the last blow and escapes over the edge.
  • Underground Monkey: Several enemies in the latter half of the game are similar in behavior to early-game enemies, such as the Librarian for the Sagittal Martyr and the Lionheart for the Guardainfante. Other enemy types (such as the Flagellant, Acolyte, and Hopper) simply reappear in more powerful forms in later areas. In all cases, these are more than mere Palette Swaps — each upgraded enemy has a sprite that is different from its earlier counterpart, sometimes majorly so.
  • Upgrade Artifact: The Penitent One carries a rosary with space for several beads and a reliquary with space for up to three relics. Rosary beads provide passive buffs (such as increased defense, greater health, or increased Fervor generation), while relics provide more active abilities and gameplay changes (such as making certain platforms appear or allowing the Penitent One to talk to spirits of the deceased).
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Viridiana offers to help the Penitent One in battle, but upon encountering her a second time you will find she has aged unnaturally quickly. Some players may decide to refuse her assistance to keep her from dying despite her telling the Penitent One not to be concered, and she will die if you accept her offer of aid three times. If she is still alive by the time you confront His Holiness Escribar, she'll tell you she won't be able to aid you, but gifts you with the Zarabana of the Safe Haven prayer. Granted, she'll give you this whether you allow her to die or not (if she dies, she'll give you the prayer after the third battle), so it's simply up to the player whether to accept her help three times and allow her to die, or to refuse her help and let her live.
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: In the comics, Crisanta manages to defeat and kill the Penitent One without much trouble, not even needing to unwrap her sword. By their next confrontation, however, the Penitent One has improved his skills and arsenal while she is the same as before. While she does unwrap her sword to become a tougher fight, it's ultimately not enough to win.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The Deambulatory of His Holiness.
  • Walking the Earth: The Order of the Genuflectors, of which Redento is a member, does this as a form of penance.
  • Warm-Up Boss: The Warden of the Silent Sorrow. It's big, it's slow, and its only two attacks are heavily telegraphed and give plenty of room to dodge. If you can't take this thing down, you're not ready for the rest of the game yet.
  • Weapon of Choice: Being a holy warrior driven by a divine purpose, the Penitent One is armed primarily with the sacred longsword Mea Culpa, backed up by a number of combat prayers.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The Blessed Lord of the Salty Shores speculates that by helping the Penitent One he might be able to escape his fate. However, when you give him every possible item...nothing happens, and he doesn't say anything.
  • Wolfpack Boss: The Tres Angustias. They share the same health pool, though.
  • Wound That Will Not Heal: Once upon a time, a young village girl named Áurea was so incredibly beautiful that people began to worship her as an incarnation of divinity. In order to stop their idolatry, Áurea burned her face with hot oil and took up the vows of a local convent. However, the wounds she inflicted on herself never healed at all, remaining fresh, smoking, and agonizingly painful for years after she received them. Naturally, given the Martyrdom Culture, the people of Cvstodia viewed this as a blessing from the Miracle, leading to Áurea's canonization in life as Our Lady of the Charred Visage.

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