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Costume Quest 2

Score: 80%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Midnight City
Developer: Double Fine Studios
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: RPG/ Adventure/ Family

Graphics & Sound:

Weíve been signed up for a second round of action from Double Fineís costumed adventurers since finishing the first game, so this was a welcome treat. Exploring the cute, colorful, and occasionally dangerous world of Costume Quest hasnít changed much at all, but more of the same can be a good thing when the formula is right. At least on the visual front, Costume Quest 2 is almost interchangeable with its predecessor. Wren and Reynolds are rocking new costumes and can collect more during gameplay, which not only changes how they appear while traveling around, but in a major way during battle.

Typical of just about any Double Fine game, the writing and music is perfection. While you wonít find a huge amount of variety from battle to battle until you collect new costumes, encounters have plenty of eye candy. If youíre not familiar with the first game, battles play out RPG-style with elaborate attack sequences. Each area in the game contains secrets hidden away that you can uncover by using your eyeballs and by talking to characters you come across. Compared to the first game, there seemed to be many more nooks and crannies to explore this time around, with just as many if not more NPC encounters and bad guys.


Gameplay:

The story this time around involves time travel, but no surprise that it still takes place on that special night of All Hallowsí Eve. When Wren and Reynolds trip forward in time, they discover that Halloween has been forbidden and the world turned into a totalitarian state led by candy-hating bad guys. No surprise that the evil forces behind the first game have returned, and now itís up to the diligent trick-or-treaters to find some way to fix the future.

As in the first game, youíll spend most of your time going from house to house collecting candy, battling occasionally with bad guys. Youíll collect pieces for new costumes that grant you special powers in battle, and youíll also collect Creepy Treat Cards that act like one-time power-ups. Outside of battle, you can take on side-quests and collect candy or find ways to power up and restore health for the next encounter. There arenít random encounters, but otherwise the dominant flavor of Costume Quest 2 is still classic RPG.


Difficulty:

The only thing approaching a challenge is when you take on bad guys, at least from a twitch reflex perspective. Wandering around the world, youíll mostly just have to gather items or satisfy the requirements of some side quest, so just a mental challenge there. Costume Quest 2 definitely caters to a younger audience with simple goals that youíll eventually satisfy just by wandering around looking for houses that have candy. Some houses are just places to grab candy, while knocking on the door at others will throw you into a fight.

By normal RPG standards, the fights are really straightforward. Imagine a lineup of 2-3 opponents on each side. When attacking, you simply choose a target and trigger your attack at the right time to cause more damage. The same timing is required to block, and youíll take more damage if you miss the mark. Damage can be healed with special abilities, plus youíll find cards that can be useful during battle. Much like a traditional RPG, youíll need to watch your health to avoid losing the use of a critical character. Any damage you sustain during the fight can be healed up by visiting one of the local fountains. Fans of old-school RPG action will feel right at home here.


Game Mechanics:

Moving around the world using the keyboard has its shortcomings, but things mostly work well here since there arenít many instances where quick reaction time is needed. As mentioned about battling opponents, timing is critical in those moments but only comes down to a single button-press. The main menu is hotkeyed, along with several items youíll review on regular basis like your quest log and a map. Sure, everything works a bit better with a controller, but Costume Quest 2 isnít bad at all with the typical WASD keyboard controls.

This is a sequel that feels more like DLC than a revamped game, but we appreciate the fact that Double Fine put time into creating fresh content and building a story around Costume Quest 2 that makes it feel worth playing through to the end. Itís full of color, humor, and characters that feel like they were written with an intelligent audience in mind. At the very least, we give this high points for staying true to all the things we loved about the first game.


-Fridtjof, GameVortex Communications
AKA Matt Paddock

Minimum System Requirements:



Mac: Snow Leopard 10.6.8; Intel Core i Series; 4 GB RAM; ATI HD 4670 / Nvidia 285 with 512 MB VRAM
 

Test System:



Mac: Lion 10.9.1; 2GHz Intel Core i7; 8 GB RAM; Intel HD 4000 with 1024 MB VRAM.

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