PASS (PC) / BUY(XBLA)
Puzzle Quest 2: PC – Manda
Ultimately, the PC version is completely unplayable. After installing this bad-boy on two systems, its glitches and freezes made it impossible to do little more than sit idly on the screen and twiddle ones thumbs until the badness went away. I got three battles into the game before giving up entirely.
Glitchiness aside, the lush graphics and improved game-play were certainly something to call home about. I really enjoyed the fact that I could play mini-games to loot rooms, bust down doors, and put out fires. This game feels like a real RPG with puzzle elements instead of a puzzler with RPG elements (unlike the first Puzzle Quest).
I did get much, much farther in the Xbox 360 version of this game but, y’know, Candice has got that covered.
Puzzle Quest 2: Xbox 360 – Candice
Admittedly, I was never a puzzle girl. sure. I rocked out some Tetris and of course, I would play the odd amount of puzzlers whenever I was bored — but did I seek them out? No. Not once did I ever think; “Man, I really want to get on some Bejeweled right now!” and that was because none of them got me as engaged as Puzzle Quest 2 did. True, I played the first title and I enjoyed it, but it didn’t make me feel like it was half-puzzle and half-RPG like this one did. Admittedly, I was coaxed into this due to shiny colors and mindless entertainment — but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was more than that.
The first Puzzle Quest had flaws that I could go on for hours about, how it felt less like a roleplaying game and more like, well, just a puzzler. You never got to actually see enough of your character other than staged art and you weren’t guided through the process in a way that made it fluid to the seasoned RPG gamer. If you went into it thinking it was a mixture of both, Puzzle Quest 1 certainly didn’t help you continue that train of thought. It was just too chaotically thrown together and I worried that notes weren’t listened to or taken into consideration this time around. I was wrong though and happily, I got to create my character and take my Barbarian through a town, kill me some rats and go seeking through an ice cave for a huge Troll. New to Puzzle Quest 2 are the actual close-up shots of your character moving through the maps of town and the world. You’re no longer left to imagine what your character looks like or even the people he’s speaking to. It’s no longer just wipe-screens where inanimate characters are drawn into a background resembling where you just went to. It’s actually… gasp, like an RPG.
Going through the puzzles is not just about killing enemies, but also things like looting boxes, bashing through doors and many other scenarios. The fact is, you never feel like the game talks down to you or even wants to trick you into thinking it’s not a puzzle game. It surely wants you to feel like you’re involved in a puzzle, but it gives you enough of an RPG feel that you keep wanting to get to the next town, the next boss and the next level.
Personally, I dug it. As someone who generally only plays puzzle games when I’m bored — I found myself happy to put this on and give it a go. I may not be far, but let me tell you, my Barbarian is going to bring the pain to the next Troll that gets in her way.