Costume Quest 2 Review
Costume Quest 2 is Double Fine personified. The sequel to 2011's sleeper hit is packed with humor, charm and personality. It capitalizes on what made people love the original so much but ignores the complaints of those who didn't seemingly purposely, almost seemingly out of spite. For fans of the original Costume Quest, the sequel is more of the same and that's a very good thing but it won't do much to change the mind of the skeptics as it's faults seem all the more prominent here.
"The normal Double Fine style of humor is present..."
Siblings Reynold and Wren return from the original Costume Quest, but this time they face a much more fierce rival, a sinister dentist named Orel White, who as you may have guessed, isn't the biggest fan of handing out candy to kids on Halloween. When the kids slip into a time portal they're transported to a candy less world run by White and his cronies and it's up to them to hop through time and ensure their foe never rises to power. It's a silly little story that could really only come from Tim Schaefer's Double Fine and be taken (sort of) seriously.
Much like the original, Costume Quest 2's personality and humor are the real stars of the show here and it comes through in spades. The normal Double Fine style of humor is present throughout Costume Quest 2's campaign and in-jokes are pretty prevalent. As a fan, I dug the references to games like Grim Fandango and Psychonauts but even I ended up rolling my eyes at a few toward the end of the game but it's all innocent fun. Schaefer and the crew at Double Fine know their audience and Costume Quest 2 is a great example of just how much they cater to them. You'll have to see some of the jokes for yourself to truly appreciate them, and luckily you'll find a lot of them, like my personal favorite; the secret society still celebrating Halloween away from the eyes of Dr. White, just by exploring the world as you normally would.
Costumes again look homemade in the regular timeline but when the kids go adventuring they take on special abilities, transforming into the characters they're portraying. Combat here is a rather simple affair, sadly even more so than in the original. Most battles boil down to quick-time style battles between your three party members and enemies, timing makes your strikes more powerful but there's still a good chunk of depth missing here that was present in the original. With the original, different costumes meant different attack styles; and made for some pretty fun attack combinations and changed up battles pretty regularly but here it's basically just the quicktime aiming style battles. They're fun enough, especially when you're able to string multiple attacks together to make epic combos but it gets far too repetitive far too quickly.
"...different costumes allow for different attacks and abilities..."
The costumes do serve a purpose in the sequel, even if it's less than in the original game. Here, different costumes allow for different attacks and abilities that do make battles more interesting, the clown costume features a healing attack for instance called "laughter is the best medicine." These super attacks usually feel underpowered and rarely felt needed since Costume Quest 2's combat is far on the easier side. More than anything, you'll find yourself using them to break up to monotony of the vast majority of the game's battles.
I and the most fun with Costume Quest 2 when I was just exploring the world around me. Unlocking certain costumes gives you the ability to go back and explore areas you couldn't get to previously, and there's always candy to collect and fetch quests to go on to unlock more abilities and upgrades to your characters. Much like the original, Costume Quest 2 features a world that's a complete joy to look at. It's almost like a modern day version of Earthbound, brimming with colors and a fun if not predictable score.
Should you get Costume Quest 2? If you were a fan of the original, this is a no brainer - it takes everything the original did well and does it even better. If you weren't as big of a fan of the original though, this won't do much to change your mind. For all of it's personality and all of it's charm, Costume Quest 2's combat is repetitive and boring. There aren't many real new ideas on display here, and you can't help but get the feeling that Schaefer and Double Fine wanted it that way.
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