Friday, November 28, 2014

Costume Quest 2 (Xbox 360) Review

Four years after the release of the charming and fun Costume Quest, we are finally treated to a sequel.  Set just after the events of the first game's Grubbins on Ice expansion, Costume Quest 2 gives us another story of siblings Wren and Reynold saving the world.  This time, they must travel through time and stop a candy-deprived dentist from taking over the world.  Yes, the plot is silly, and not as good as the first, but it's well told and there are some good lines.

The game looks a lot like the first, with stylized cel-shaded locations and characters.  You still walk around a small area and find chests, hit candy out of objects, trick or treat, and find enemies.  You can still strike enemies from behind for a little extra damage at the start of battle.  The roller skates that allow you to boost up ramps return as well  So, in a lot of ways, it's more of the same, which is a good thing.

It's not the exact same, though.  The bonus for getting a preemptive strike doesn't seem as powerful.  You lose your previous costumes, but the new ones have some new exploration abilities to use on the maps.  There's now pinatas strewn about to give you more candy, and respawning enemies to help boost your level.  You can also buy maps of each visited area to make sure you have collected every secret in them.  There's also purchasable upgrades for each costume that not only power it up, but change its appearance.

Battles are, again, a similar affair to the first.  Time a button press correctly and you get more damage.  Do the same on defense to cut down your damage received.  To add something new, you will also get a combo attack for some more damage, and a counter attack on the defensive side.  The counter move is really nice, but you get it pretty late in the game.  Given how short it is, you don't get much time to enjoy it.  Special moves now require a meter to be filled, and aren't usable every 3rd or 4th turn as they were previously.  They do seem more powerful to compensate, though.  Stamps are gone and replaced with cards.  The cooldown on each is several battles, so save them for when they are needed most.  I rarely used any because the cooldown was high.  There are some really nice ones that boost xp and candy (money) gain, and even ones that make enemies damage themselves when they attack.  A good variety to play around with.

The biggest downside of the game is the length.  I had about 8 hours on the clock when I had finished the game and got every achievement, card, costume and quest completed.  Outside of missing the one missable achievement, there aren't many reasons to replay except to play it again.  The game also isn't too hard.  It feels like damage is higher than the previous game, but it still feels more forgiving.  And that is with me having the useless candy corn costume in my party the whole time.

If you are a fan of the original Costume Quest, you should definitely get Costume Quest 2.  It may be short and sometimes feel formulaic, but it's more of the same battles and exploration that you enjoyed previously, but with some cool new costumes.  If you like turn-based RPGs, I'd recommend starting with the first Costume Quest, but this is still a very solid title.  It pretty much does what a good sequel should, keep the good and familiar while adding a few new things to liven it up.

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