Puzzle Quest 2 Review «

Puzzle Quest 2 Review

Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords was a unique, inventive game that combined the addicting qualities of Bejeweled with classic RPG elements. The game’s innovative mix was unique at the time, however, as much as I enjoyed many aspects of the game it wasn’t without its problems. Fortunately, Puzzle Quest 2 improves on the original in almost every way.
An updated navigation interface allows you to move your character around in an isometric view, with both characters or enemies prominently displayed on each screen. You can explore the areas you visit, as opposed to only being shown a cut-scene in that given location. Each quest in the first game felt disjointed; there was a clear break between going out on a mission and watching the story unfold. Puzzle Quest 2 eliminates that divide and helps to actively involve you in the world. The new interface also gives the game’s minigames an actual purpose.

Minigames (such as bashing doors, earning/searching for loot, and disarming traps) add variety to the typical match-three mechanic. New to Puzzle Quest 2, these additions work well to keep things fresh. However, after long play sessions (of 5+ hours) even the minigames can’t save the game from its repetitive nature. And, as you might expect, Puzzle Quest 2 doesn’t have an enticing story to pull you along either; after a few hours, I found myself longing for a deeper narrative to accompany the frenetic gameplay.

But the game does start out more quickly than the first: Challenge of the Warlords thrust you right into the game with few tutorials. Puzzle Quest 2, on the other hand, spends more time teaching you how to play and make the most of each move; something I really appreciated as it helped me to become a more effective player. For the first 30 minutes or so, the game holds your hand before leaving you alone to develop your own strategies.

However, left to my own devices I found PQ2 a little too easy. Admittedly, the A.I. in the first game was a bit unbalanced — your opponent would get massive, too-frequent chains and combos, leading to death in just a couple turns. PQ2 improves this aspect, but in exchange for balanced A.I., the game makes you feel a little overpowered. For instance, my barbarian, Dashiell, was able to dispose of most enemies in just a few hits with his Bastard Sword — a weapon you acquire at the beginning of your adventure. Luckily, by the later stages of the game, the difficulty equalizes and players are finally greeted with more challenging foes.

While I enjoyed the original game, I found it to be very inconsistent. Unbalanced enemy A.I., a clunky and sometimes confusing interface, along with unclear tutorials on how to use and maximize your spells were all factors that detracted from my experience with Challenge of the Warlords. The fact that PQ2 improves on each of these components, instantly turns the game from a good experience to a great one.

Despite the minor qualms I might have, Puzzle Quest 2 is still a very good game. In Challenge of the Warlords, you could see all of these great elements, but they weren’t fully developed. Now, Puzzle Quest 2 feels fully fleshed out and muscled up. By improving on these elements, developers Infinite Interactive have made the game even more fun and addicting than the first.

 

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