Review: Costume Quest 2 (PS4)

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Title: Costume Quest 2
Format: PlayStation Network Download (1 GB)
Release Date: October 28, 2014
Publisher: Midnight City
Developer: Double Fine Productions
Original MSRP: $14.99 (US)
ESRB Rating: E
Costume Quest 2 is also available on PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U and PC.
The PlayStation 4 version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Tim Schafer and the folks at Double Fine knew how to make you laugh. The Secret of Monkey Island, Full Throttle and BrĂ¼tal Legend are all full of hilarity and charm. You could even say that about the original Costume Quest, a smaller, digital-only release that became an instant classic.

Double Fine had done something unique with Costume Quest. It became one of my favorite PlayStation Network download titles and was an almost perfect little game. It did have one or two small but forgivable issues and the story was over too quickly for many players. Regardless of any problems Costume Quest had people loved it and begged for a sequel.

Gameplay:
Four years later we finally get Costume Quest 2 and it begins just as the last one ended. I instantly felt right at home, the controls and look of the game are identical to the first and in some ways more refined. A new story quickly unravels complete with a new villain trying to ruin Halloween for everyone and only Reynold, his sister Wren and a few friends can save the night. A flip of a coin decides which sibling you’ll play as but doesn’t alter the story from what I can tell.

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Costumes obviously play a big part in this game and are not just for show. Just like the first game, these become real when you engage in a fight. As if bursting out of the children’s minds and into reality. Dress one of the gang as a superhero and that’s what they become in a fight, able to pick up a bus and fling it at the enemies. Some costumes even have a use outside of battle and figuring those out can be quite fun.

Quests in this game never get too complicated or tedious and are often quite humorous. They could involve simple fetch or deliver activities, sometimes even finding a lost item in a certain area. Throughout the game you have to do a spot of Trick or Treating at a group of houses. Some might have a lovely person inside ready to give you candy whilst others have enemies waiting to pounce. I love the tense moment as the door slowly opens, the music builds and then the reveal. If you’ve played the first game then none of this will be new to you, which is fine with me as it’s part of what made the first game so much fun.

Turn-based battles feature heavily in both games, with everyone turning into Godzilla sized versions of their costumes each waiting for their turn to unleash a crazy attack on the enemy. Each character can perform a standard and special move, with the latter building up over time with every good standard hit. As you launch an attack an ever decreasing circle appears above the designated enemy with a button prompt inside. If you match the button press with the circle you hit the enemy again. This new timing mechanic makes the game far too easy as each of your team can can get six strikes in if you can time it correctly.

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You block an enemy attack by pressing the correct button at the right time, similar to the second hit mechanic, but this time it appears above one of your team. A perfectly timed block greatly reduces the damage and even injures the attacker. Yet another thing that makes the game a breeze to play.

Treat Cards have now replaced the stamps from the previous game. I found the stamps very limited and only used them near the very end, whereas the cards offer more variety and freedom to use them a lot more. Cards offer bonuses to your team or hinder the enemy in some way and up to three can be used in battle. There is a cool-down on when you can use a card again which could last a few battles. Seeing as how I found every single battle quite easy and never lost a single fight, I never found the need to use the cards.

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Humor is abundant in every Double Fine game to date and often sets them apart from other titles in the same genre. Costume Quest 2 sadly has lost some of that charm and wit that we’ve come to expect. It still has its moments but never quite lives up to its predecessor. I found the story to be better this time around with a memorable villain and a clever time travelling dynamic.

Difficulty is this game’s biggest problem and with no New Game+ at the end I felt the seven hour play time to be a bit disappointing. There is a trophy for using the Candy Corn costume in every battle which makes it slightly more challenging. I suggest any competent gamer to do this as you might then get a little more for your money. I did enjoy every moment of Costume Quest 2 and was happy that they kept to the same formula that made the first game so good.

Remote Play is fantastic with this game apart from one major flaw, the inability to alter the controls as the speed boost is set to the L2 button which translates to the top left corner of the touch screen. It makes it very awkward to use and unless you don’t mind slowly plodding around for the entire game I would give it a miss. A big shame in my opinion as everything else looks and plays perfectly when using the Vita.

Visuals:
Costume Quest 2 still looks the part. A cartoon adventure with a Halloween theme. Loads more detail and fancy effects grace the PlayStation 4 version and it looks great. It never suffered from any slowdown or frame rate issues.

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Audio:
Music is much like the first game, which isn’t a bad thing as it still fits well with the story and look of the game. With very tense and exciting music during battles and happy little haunting melodies when you’re exploring the rest of the time. Easygoing guitar rifts in the Lower Bayou or upbeat Jazz in the French Quarter, it changes to suit the area you’re in.

Playful merry sound effects are littered all the way through the game. For instance when you bash your pail of sweets against something you get a nice little jingle or even a comedic screech when your team stops dead in their tracks. Even the alligators sound cute with their little growl whenever you hit them.

There isn’t any speech in the game, it’s all text based. It appears in little speech bubbles requiring you to press X to continue each one so you can read it all at your own pace.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is single player only.

Conclusion:
Costume Quest 2 is everything that I hoped for, but sadly missing some of that Double Fine humor that we’ve all come to expect. Small changes that have improved this sequel also made it a little too easy. If you’re a fan of the first game then this is a great continuation of it, but like a delicious bag of sweets, you’ll devour this quickly and before you realize it, you’ve reached the bottom of the bag.

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Wii U, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

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