by Atisz on Steam
Product received for free
Queen's Quest 2: Stories of Forgotten Past is one of the better hidden object games from the creators of the Demon Hunter series. It's set in a strange world, that's a weird mixture of fantasy and English folklore and uses the popular feature of recent HOGs: alchemy. Altough not as great as the Artifex Mundi originals or some I've had the pleasure to play with lately, it is certainly an enjoyable one.
After watching the rather in medias res intro (which doesn't make much sense as we later find it out), we step into a nameless female alchemist's shoes, who receives an urgent call from the king. We have to investigate the murder of a wolf (!) who was apparently an agent (!!) of the king. There isn't much about the story to be praised, but we do get to meet interesting characters mainly from the previously mentioned English folklore (Robin Hood, the Sheriff of Nottingham and even Merlin the wizard). Actually the creators went overboard and stuffed so many renowned individuals into the game (we meet Hansel and Gretel as well for example), that it feels utterly ridiculous.
The trendy alchemy feature freshens up the game quite a bit (plus we are an alchemist after all), but isn't as well implemented as seen in other games (like in the amazing Lost Grimoires: Stolen Kingdom): the recipes just pop out of nowhere from time to time and it always means we are to be transformed into an animal (druids don't need recipes for that by the way :P). It has its fun parts though, as we can (or MUST rather) follow animals (like a snail or a hamster) in order to acquire important items or just talk to them (yes, we can talk to them and sometimes we don't even have to transform ourselves to do that).
The minigames are usually the same ones already seen in the Demon Hunter series and there's no problem with them, most of the time. There are some crazy ones towards the end though, which require luck mostly and feel they are just there to prolongate gameplay time. The morphing objects in the hidden object scenes are also present in this game, which the player may like or not (I don't, but they are only considered as minor annoyances).
Again, the use of alchemy is a good course, but sometime it feels a bit forced: when we have too many items in our inventory we most certainly have to reach for our apparatus and create a potion, which means the key to progress. In the first half of the game it works well and we use it logically to get things from otherwise unreachable locations. Oh and don't panic if you can't use a potion, the game isn't bugged, it's just that each alchemy potion has to be used on the correct scene, so you might need to backtrack a bit.
Fortunately there are no twice used HO scenes, so they don't feel like a burden, their locations are logical and their numbers are evenly balanced with the minigames.
There are 2 types of collectibles: puzzle pieces and figurines of fantasy/mythological creatures. It's a nice touch, that the puzzle pieces can be assembled after we found all of them and we can read a short résumé about the creatures matching the figurines.
The game is fairly short (less than 3 hours probably if you get lucky with some of the minigames), but it also has a bonus chapter, in which we get to see Hansel and Gretel (and another familiar "acquaintance") again. It's a very good little expansion and doesn't feel like a chore.
The graphics is great, the scenery is both well designed and colourful plus the fantasy setting makes it even better. We get to visit beautiful highland areas, gloomy forests and royal courts. The quality of the character models seems variable, most of them look very good, some don't. The sound effects are likewise good with fitting music.
The game is enjoyable and feels refreshing with its appealing setting, altough due to the large amount of characters from different tales and folklore it feels awkward and the story suffers from it as well. The fantasy landscape is pleasant to look at and the whole game is relaxing apart from some time consuming minigames. All in all, Queen's Quest 2: Stories of Forgotten Past is a good HO adventure and is certainly recommendable.
+ interesting gameplay elements, alchemy
+ fantasy setting
+ great visuals
+ good minigames
- the story isn't that great
- some of the minigames are frustrating
- a bit too wide variety of folklore