Puzzle Quest 2

The Cult Hit Gets A True Sequel
by Nick Ahrens on Mar 10, 2010 at 11:30 AM
Publisher: D3 Publisher
Developer: Infinite Interactive
Rating: Everyone 10+
Platform: DS, PSP, Xbox 360

When D3 Publisher unleashed the first Puzzle Quest to the world, everyone was caught by surprise. A game that is half RPG and half puzzle? That's crazy talk! Well the combination ended up becoming a recipe for success as not only was the original game released on almost every platform, it also spawned DLC and the spin-off Puzzle Quest: Galactrix. With GDC 10 in full gear, D3 is finally letting us get our hands on Puzzle Quest 2 and we were able to check out the first few minutes of the Xbox Live Arcade version.

Like the first game, Puzzle Quest 2 is set in a fantasy world and features four character types: Assassin, Barbarian, Sorcerer and Templar. Each class will have its own unique abilities and way to fight. For example, the Assassin can use deadly poisons on enemies whereas the Barbarian will rely more on being a well rounded fighter and can use two-handed weapons, something that is new to the series. Each character will now have four armor slots and two weapon slots. There are tons of items to be found and upgraded in PQ2. The crafting system has been removed and replaced with said upgrade system and will rely on materials gained from battle loot.

One of the biggest changes to the game is the way you view it. Previously, Puzzle Quest was just a simple, overhead map that had the player moving from town to town on paths and fighting whatever came along. With Puzzle Quest 2, developer Infinite Interactive has given the game a complete graphical makeover. The out of combat experience much more resembles an action RPG rather than an old school strategy title. While the game still retains the classic gameplay, the rest of the experience will be much more geared towards drawing the player in.

The core gameplay from PQ1 returns with a few subtle changes. Players will still be playing the same basic puzzle mechanic and collecting the mana gems for skills and spells but the different number of types have increased from four to five. Skulls also return to deal damage to the enemy and is the primary way to win a battle. The big changes come with the removal of experience and gold collecting in the actual battle. Infinite has streamlined this to just become a result of winning the battle. Taking their place on the board are the new action points, which are represented by fist-shaped gems. Collecting these will act like the mana gems but will build towards dealing direct damage with your equipped weapon.

Other, smaller additions and changes to the title include the removal of mounts, the addition of new mini games like lock picking and door bashing. While item crafting has been removed, spell creation games will return. D3 tells us that there will also be over 80 enemies to fight and epic boss battles. We were also told that Puzzle Quest 2 is "DLC ready" unlike the previous game which they had to alter to make work. They wouldn't actually confirm anything but it's safe to say there's a good chance it will happen. Fans can start planning for the end of their free time to begin this Spring when Puzzle Quest 2 hits Xbox Live Arcade and Nintendo DS.

Be sure to check out the GDC 2010 hub page for quick access to more news and hands-on impressions from the event.