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First and Second Game of the Year - Video Game Clear Challenge

Goddamned Resurrecting Bitch posting in Video Game Clear Challenge
User: 10vgchallenge (posted by quoting_mungo)
Date: 2011-02-16 12:02
Subject: First and Second Game of the Year
Security: Public
Tags:browser game, multiplatform, pc
Didn't manage to complete the challenge last year, but I'm back and hopefully ready to do one better. January wasn't as successful as I'd hoped, but I'm back on track now.

1. Puzzle Quest 2 - PC/multiplatform (DS, XBL, phones, etc) - 10 Feb 2011
I loved Puzzle Quest, and so my expectations for the sequel were high. Generally, I guess you could say they were fulfilled — the computer opponents cheat a little less in the sequel, which is nice (in the original game they tend to get off-the-board chains a little more often than chance made seem plausible), but your helper characters are less present, which is boring. I also find I preferred the way you moved around the map in the first game over the way you explore the dungeon in the second.
Where PQ2 really shines, though, is the battles (and minigames) themselves. There's a wide variety of opponents, and some really interesting minigame modes and "special" enemies. I'm especially fond of the door-bashing minigame, where each match generates a "door" tile, and you have to match a set number of door tiles to bash the door open, and the awesome synergy you can get between your character's abilities.
Bottom line, it's not quite more of the same, but it's also not quite not more of the same as the first game. Definitely would be worth paying full price for (my copy was cheap through my WildTangent subscription).

2. Arkandian Crusade - browser game - 16 Feb 2011
Amazingly well-made and well-thought-out turn-based RPG that I ended up playing through in two days (during which I did little else — it's not a short game). The main plot is split up between dungeon-crawling mode and "defense mode", and both playing modes are well-polished. The game doesn't seem to take itself too seriously, either, which I think is a bonus (when a plot NPC buffs your character, the character exclaims something along the lines of "oh, wow, I feel like I can take ten more hit points' worth of a beating now!"), and the in-game achievements are well thought-out, even if one of them seems like it'll be a bitch and a half to accomplish.
Much higher quality than I'd expect from a free game, and I'll gladly play the promised future installments of the series.
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February 2011