Title: Puzzle Quest 2
Maker: Infinitive Interactive
Publisher: D3 Publisher of America
Will make you question your choices in life.
First thing, if you’re going to play this game, do two things: turn the difficulty up to hard, and turn off the hint cursor. The game will still be a breeze, but that’s the only chance you have to lose a round.
Positives: Auto-save is slow but thorough. Occasionally, and I use that term very loosely, they will get the language right and put something funny together. But I can only think of one exact moment where it was completely successful (see Memory below). The first half-hour, as your clear out the town and get used to the mechanics, is entertaining without feeling bad.
Negatives: You’ll notice the art-style is incredibly bland. So was the first’s, but maybe playing it on the PSP left it with a little more sheen. I chose the Assassin as a character because even though he looks stupid, I didn’t have to look at his face. You would think these classes would determine a lot of your abilities, but neither class nor level seems to have any discernible effect on your ability to pick a lock vs. break it, for example. In reality the game is just one long fetch quest stretched into a story. It’s as fun as a typical fetch quest. Meaning the game isn’t long, but it sure as hell feels long.
All this could be forgiven if the puzzle mechanics we’re captivating. But the mechanics are the real failure. Because of your characters spells, and the poor A.I., you’ll basically be doing the same thing every time. Which is trying to get enough mana to combo out the opponent (and if they’re still alive, use your weapon to finish them off). I could see how playing against another human could provide legitimate counter-strategy and unpredictability, but this potential doesn’t excuse the hours of mindless repetition that makes up the game.
End Result: As I played Puzzle Quest 2 I was consciously aware of the time I was wasting on it. This is fine when you’re on an airplane and need to waste two hours (but even then I thought- I should be reading a book…), but when you’re at home you become acutely aware of what this is doing to your life. It’s like you can feel your body degrading as you play it.
One night, as I sat on the couch playing Puzzle Quest 2, I started to question if all games were just a waste of my time (probably, but they shouldn’t be reminding me), this of course lead to the question of what I should actually be doing with my life. By the end I was fidgeting so badly and feeling so guilty, that I went to bed with a terrible taste in my mouth, slept horribly, and was still angry the next day. I kept trying to play it, hoping something would redeem the hours I had already sunk into it, but like gambling, it just keeps taking from you until you have the guts to write it off.
Review: 1 Star (Out of 5)
Memory: A zombie trying out for the city guard eats another guard recruit. As a result the captain of the guard promotes him.
I don’t remember a thing about the first Puzzle Quest. I remember where I played it, a coach in Prague while adjusting to jet lag. And I remember I played it a lot, but I’m not sure if I actually enjoyed it. I think it gave me headaches, but it could have been the situation I was in.
I read that Puzzle Quest takes place in the same world as the Warlords games. I don’t remember much of that either, but I think I liked it.
Regardless of how I felt about the first one, I’m leaving for ten days, can’t find my pile of DS backlog games or my PSP, and the selection at Gamestop was minimal unless I wanted just the cartridge (who tosses cases?). So Puzzle Quest 2 it is.
I take a Dramamine, get on the bus to the airport, and start up the game…