Costume Quest 2 review – PC

Costume Quest 2 was released on October 7th, for the PC. A PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One version will be released later this month. The game was developed by Double Fine Productions. A PC download code was provided for review purposes.

I hope you are familiar with Double Fine Productions, because they have been pushing the current creative indie wave since the beginning, before it was indie. Their first game was Psychonauts on the original Xbox and PS2 in 2005, and ever since they have been coming out with hit after hit… well at least in my book. Their games might not sell like Call of Duty, but they have more originality and creativity than most. And they have never released a sequel for any of their games, until now! The original Costume Quest graced us with its presence back in 2010, just in time for Halloween. What a treat, a trick or treating RPG just in time for Halloween. And just like a river repeats, it seems we are getting a repeat performance now four years later. October 2014 Double Fine now brings a sequel we have all been waiting for, and I can definitively say, it is definitely more Costume Quest.

I say this mainly because, this game seems more like ‘more content’ than ‘a new game’. But you know what, that’s not a good thing or a bad thing. The game is still quite enjoyable and gives us all more of what we loved about the first game. The first game was broken up into different stages with various houses to trick or treat at, side objectives and mini games, and several enemies to go head to head with in turn based battle. This sequel can be described exactly the same way.

Now it’s not a blatant rinse and repeat, because the team did change the game design a little, maybe added in some tweaks they thought would have made the first game better. You now don’t auto heal after battle, you must carry your damage on with you to the next battle. You can easily recover by visiting a water fountain, but the way the battles are designed, you practically have to go visit one after every fight, especially at the beginning of the game. The battle system in place is definitely RPG light, but you can’t just mash attack and expect to win. Each player has their own strengths and weaknesses, and attacks need to be timed to do maximum damage. These game mechanics make battles challenging, but also more damage inducing. Thankfully the team implemented a way to heal on the go, but it isn’t explained very well. As you can expect the whole game you are carrying a pail of delicious candy that is only increasing in number as you hit more houses. A handful of this stuff can fill your health bar on the go while traveling in the open world, but as any good trick or treater knows, candy is a valuable monetary resource, so you don’t want to be consuming all of it just to heal.

Other changes come in the form of new consumables. Creepy treat trading cards are now not just for show, they are reusable buffs that can really change the tide in a tough battle. You only can take three in with you, and they need to cool down for a few battles between uses, but they really work well in a pinch. Also they have removed the equipment buff stickers, and added in just plain costume buffs. You can buy an upgrade to each new costume, most of which only affect your special attack.

The story is pretty throw away, more of just a means for the game to take place, but as in any good comedic work of art the characters and the dialog is top notch. You can’t help but chuckle at all these things the kids are saying and the interactions that they have. They remind you what it is like to be young and unafraid again. And also that candy rules the streets, always has, and always will.

Costume Quest 2 doesn’t breakout of the shell that the first game laid the groundwork for, but I can’t complain, because for four years I’ve really just wanted some more Costume Quest. The tweeks to the gameplay I don’t think enhance the overall experience, they seem more like change for change sake. I’m not surprised by the high level of comedic humor in the game, but its welcome as always coming from a Double Fine game. I like seeing new and interesting ideas coming out of Double Fine all the time, but its also nice to see that they can iterate and add on to an existing idea like they did this time.