cincaid's Puzzle Quest 2 (Xbox 360 Games Store) review

Riddle Me This

Love it or hate it, the first Puzzle Quest was a huge hit, which somewhat surprised most gamers when it was released in 2007. It combined the addictive gameplay of similar games such as Bejeweled, and added in various RPG elements including a story, sidequests, character leveling, spells, and so on. Critics from both the puzzle and role-playing sides however didn't care much for it generally; puzzle-fans claimed the gameplay was too watered down and simplistic, while RPG-fans thought the story, levelingsystem, and other RPG-related terms were just gimmicks.

 Now with useable weapons!
The game was ported to numerous systems, and sold amazingly well for being such a small production. A sequel was just a matter of time, and the many many fans of the first game were hungry for more. So now three years later the sequel was released to, among other platforms, Xbox Live Marketplace for 1200 points. The price will certainly scare those away who didn't appriciate the first game, but after playing plenty of hours since its release I can safely say it's a vast improvement over the first installment.

You once again control a hero, and get to choose from four classes; Barbarian, Assassin, Sorcerer, and Templar. The differences are mostly regarding what spells you have and what row of coloured gems your class prefer to line up during battles. Already on the first screen during the singleplayer game you notice a huge difference, as the old "run-around-a-huge-map-without-detail"-style is gone, but instead you're greeted by smooth graphics and a Diablo-style view. You're still limited to certain walkpaths, laid out with a breadcrumb-trail to your main questobjective, but you mostly have the freedom to choose other paths when searching for sidequests, especially when running around the dungeons.

 Spells are still a big part of the battles.
Gone is also the tideous way of obtaining crafting materials, and instead you're presented with loot everytime you defeat an opponent. This makes the crafting portion of the game much more satisfying, as you progress simply by clearing your way through the main quest and sidequests. The battles are very much similar to the first game, you still line up rows of gems, skulls, and so on to either be able to cast spells or directly damage your foe. There's a new gem however, which makes your weapon useable instead of just being a passive statboost. These weaponslots can either be two-handed weapons, dualwielding weapons, a weapon and a shield, and so on. It's pretty much up to the player what style they prefer, which is really interesting the longer you play.

You'll also encounter plenty of treasurechests, locked doors, traps, which all have their own type of minigames. These really breaks up the gameplay in a fun way, as fighting monster after monster can often feel repetitive. The RPG-elements are extremely improved as well, with a much more focused story, stats that actually feel like they make a difference, and even some voiceacting here and there.

In short, Puzzle Quest 2 really took the good things from the first game, but also threw out most of the boring and cheap stuff. Sure, it sometimes feels like the AI is being a bit *too* lucky, but never to the point when you want to strangle something. The major points that are keeping the score from being anything higher are mainly the somewhat thin story, the repetiveness of most fights, and the rather steep price. 1200 points can surely scare some away, but if you enjoy a good puzzlegame with mostly fun RPG-elements implemented, you definatly shouldn't think twice about picking this one up.


(My native language isn't English, and I apologize for any errors)
7 Comments
Posted by Murtaug

Good review, I agree with many of your points. Fans of the first game will definitely find something to love in this sequel, which also makes it easier for new comers to get into. They found a good balance here and I am enjoying it a lot.

Edited by TwoLines

Great review. I never feel cheated though, it's more like.. I know my perception is not as good as CPU's, meaning he finds all the 4's, and I miss a LOT of them.
Glad I bought it so far.
 
Aslo- not very clear why you gave it 4/5 not 5/5.
Your review seems to praise the game very much.

Posted by Cincaid
@TwoLines: 
I took your advice and edited the review a bit to make it more clear on some parts.
 
Thanks for the feedback!
Edited by pweidman

Hey good job Chris.  I think I'm gonna pick this up soon.  Sounds like simple fun.  If English is your second language, you are doing fantastic with it.  And you did explain your reasoning for the 4 star vs. 5 in your last paragraph.  Keep up the great reviews. 
 
Edited acknowledged :)
Posted by GrendelPr1me

Great review. It actually made the decision for me, as I was a little hesitant to pick up the game, until now.
 
Heading to the XBL Marketplace and queuing it up for later. Nice work.

Posted by Marmaladebrat

Nice review. I agree with your points on the improvements the agme made from the irst game. I like the mini games in the overall game, like the ones for loot.
Posted by BadJackDaniels

Excellent Review ...
Nice work.

Other reviews for Puzzle Quest 2 (Xbox 360 Games Store)

    Still fun, but takes some steps backward 0

    Puzzle Quest brought together two genres – puzzle and RPG – and made them work so well that we all asked “why hasn’t this been done before?” Three years and a poorly received spin-off (Puzzle Quest: Galactrix) later and the big question is whether or not the formula holds up. It does, but rather than refine what the original offered and streamline the experience, Puzzle Quest 2’s real improvement is in its presentation (which ironically creates some new problems).  Cheating AI? The premise is e...

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