Costume Quest 2 - Xbox One

Release Date:

24 September 2014

Also on:

Xbox One PS4

Viewing UK:

Also on USA.


Costume Quest 2 is the sweet sequel to Double Fine’s hit original, Costume Quest, that turned fans of all ages into candy obsessed crusaders. This inspired RPG adventure includes a range of new features and gameplay improvements to double the amount of mischievous fun. Explore spooky time-traversing landscapes, don adorable new costumes that transform into powerful Hallo-warriors, and collect even Creepier Treat Cards to wield in combat against a legion of hygiene obsessed baddies. Only heroic siblings Wren and Reynold can save Halloween forever.

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Costume Quest 2 was developed by the team at Double Fine Productions for the Xbox One (reviewed), Xbox 360, PC, PS4, PS3, and finally the WiiU. The widespread release of this title was very much on purpose as the first Costume Quest went a long way toward creating a fanbase that was rabid for more of the IP. Mixing up turn based combat with isometric traveling sections, Costume Quest 2 is a wonderful game to behold. Simply put the addicting gameplay and endearing, nostalgic, graphics make up for an experience that is enjoyable from front cover to back. While sequels are rarely ever worthy of the original, in terms of capturing the heart of a title, this one did well with its bigger budget and broader release. Let's dig into the game and see if you are up for a second helping of candy in Costume Quest 2.

We spoke first about the combat system so we will dig into that deeper. Combat in Costume Quest 2 reminded us a fair bit of early Final Fantasy titles. The turn based, specialty focused, combat is both addicting and easy to engage in. Similar to Persona 4, there is depth to what you want to do on the field but there is also a sameness that can settle over you during extended gaming sessions. Still, it takes a long time for the combat to get stale thanks to a few new wrinkles in the gameplay. You now have the ability to add a second attack to your turn if you time it right and you also can charge blocks, allowing one of your characters to launch off a counter attack. No more passively hitting your X button, now it is time to stay glued to the system.

Pushing the concept further let's talk Buffs. Buffs are character altering items applied to your characters. In the original Costume Quest you could only change a single attribute and there were only 24 total buffs to mess around with. This severely inhibited the depth of the combat system, your ability to customize, and ultimately the longevity of the title itself. Thankfully the crew of developers thought about this issue and fixed it. Now you can cycle between 45 different buffs, called Creepy Treat Cards, and you can use anywhere from three to five in a single battle, allowing for cooldowns. These Creepy Treat Cards are not needed to play and if you are feeling hardcore then you can simply pass on using them.

One of the biggest issues with the PC release of Costume Quest 2 is the difficulty factor was geared way too high thanks to the inability to consistently heal your team. The inability to heal your players would cause you to backtrack multiple times in single sessions, making for an annoying experience to say the least. The team of developers went the other direction for their fix. Health can now be bought with the ingame 'candy currency' and certain buffs are around that can completely heal your team for a nominal fee. Now it is almost too easy to stay with full HP that the challenge starts to dissipate. There has got to be a better way to balance HP management and real difficulty and we are hopeful that Double Fine Productions will figure it out.

While we are discussing the combat portion of the game let's talk about your primary antagonist: a giant sugar hating Dentist. He has a ton of personality, makes jokes, and is even occasionally intimidating to you. The NPCs you run into are colorful, diverse, and interesting as they have their own personalities. Thanks to the time traveling ability in the game you will see different renderings of the same enemies, all in different stages as adapted to their environment. It's pretty cool to see how much everything changes with time.

Costume Quest 2 is a gorgeous game as well and it looks just dazzling on the Xbox One. Though the graphics aren't intense and in your face like many other newer, more contemporary titles, Costume Quest 2 still has the look and appeal of a bygone era. The colors pop out on screen, textures are wonderfully detailed, and every single one of our characters is identifiable and unique. Double Fine didn't waste any space and they pushed detail into every portion of the game possible. Really, it's quite gorgeous to look at and we loved how it ported out to the Xbox One. The PC version also looks pretty gorgeous. We have not seen it on the WiiU.

One of the bigger problems that we did not anticipate having was in relation to the navigation in game. Costume Quest 2 looks so darn accessible that it is hard to imagine actually having trouble navigating through the different maps, but there it is - it is difficult. You can buy a map in the game, and you better, but you still will get lost on occasion and be forced to backtrack. The problem with the map is that there is no locational marker to keep of you. The issue with getting lost was dramatically worse in the 'futuristic timelines' as the maps themselves were much more convoluted. The big, open maps at the beginning of the game did not present us a problem.

Now that Costume Quest 2 has made its way over to other consoles we'll take a moment to point out a few things. The Xbox One, PS4, and PC all have highest frame rates and thus look the smoothest in action. The current gen systems look dramatically better than the PS3 and Xbox 360 version, so much so that we hesitate to suggest the game to users on those consoles. The WiiU is a lost cause due primarily to its refusal to really utilize the extra Game Pad that is available. Instead all of the action stays on screen and the screen in your hands stays blank and unused. A shame, really.

We strongly suggest Costume Quest 2 to fans of light RPGs.

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Jun 20, 2015

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