Puzzle Quest 2 Hands-On Preview

PUzzle Quest 2

Role-playing and puzzle: two genres I thought would only mix in a "mini-game aside from the main story" fashion. D3publisher, however, had a different idea. Puzzle Quest took the gaming world by storm, fusing the BeJeweled and Hexic HD gameplay casual players love with the character development and lore adored by RPG fans. With Puzzle Quest 2, due out this spring, D3 hopes to keep the puzzle RPG genre alive by adding a ton of content to an already successful formula, and so far it looks superb.

During my time with the game, I was given the choice of four classes: Barbarian, Assassin, Mage, or Inquisitor, each with his own abilities. Being a guy who likes the direct combat approach, I went with the Barbarian. As the game started, I was thrust into a world that looked a bit like Diablo, but no longer did I find myself in a top-down war setting, rather a village and its inhabitants. It is a full world where players will move around completing missions, collecting equipment, and challenging enemies.

The puzzle battle portion is the same as the previous game, but with some refinements. Gone are the experience point and gold gems, replaced with a new color: Purple. Players will match lines to collect gems as they did in the first game, and those gems will be used to attack the opponent with spells or defend with buffs. Skulls are still part of the board, and they still do direct damage to the opponent, but the new additions to the equipment system allow players to have multiple opportunities to deal damage.

Speaking of those new additions, the equipment system has received quite an overhaul. Aside from basic attribute bonuses, equipment can now be used to directly attack the opponent, which one can do by gathering the other new type of gem: the Gauntlet. Each weapon (in my case, the Bastard Sword) has a gauntlet amount assigned to it: once you collect that many gauntlets, you can do direct damage to your opponent by selecting the weapon.

While playing I found the battles to be a bit more difficult than last time. Twice during my demo did I have to come from behind and win, both times with just as much luck as skill. My puzzles weren’t limited to one-on-one battles either; mini-game puzzles are now a part of the main game. In one, I had to make lines to create door gems, then create a line of door gems in order to break down a door. Another saw me gathering blue gems as water to put out a fire, while avoiding red gems which would make the fire stronger. These mini-puzzles break the monotony of the main quest in a refreshing way, allowing the player to work their brains in more ways than one.

Puzzle Quest 2 looks to recapture the magic of the franchise, something that many thought was lost after a couple of disappointing entries into the series. This direct sequel looks to improve the entire experience, and that’s something to be admired.

Look for Puzzle Quest 2 to hit Xbox Live in late Spring.


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Author: Jason Fanelli View all posts by
Jason lives and breathes gaming. Legend tells that he taught himself to read using Wheel of Fortune Family Edition on the NES. He's been covering this industry for three years, all with the Node, and you can see his ugly mug once a week on Hot Off The Grill.

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