Thursday, November 14, 2019

Cat Quest II (NSW, PS4, XB1, PC) Review

After the conclusion of this next review, SuperPhillip Central will be at its historic 900th review. Before we get ahead of ourselves, however, let's turn our attention towards Cat Quest II from developer The Gentlebros. Here's the SPC review!

Using at least four cat puns was in my review "claws."

It's an age-old question that has spurred serious debate between pet lovers everywhere: cats or dogs? In developer The Gentlebros' Cat Quest II, the question hasn't just spurred serious debate, but it's actually started a war--in the lore of the game, of course (that might be important to note)--between the canine army and their rival feline forces. As a pair of pitch paw-fect protagonists, one cat and one dog, you set out to put an end to the war, whether alone--switching between the two characters on the fly--or via co-op with another player.

Cat Quest II plays out within a huge, sprawling, marked world map--much like you'd see on a globe--with various dungeons and ruins sprinkled about. A good portion of the map is readily available to traverse and explore, but of course, like any RPG of this type, the deeper you go into the map, the more challenging and higher levels enemies you'll encounter. Through defeating enemies and completing various quests--both story-related and optional--your characters level up, get stronger, and are better suited and capable to take on tougher tasks and trials.

Go west, young pets! Adventure awaits!
Many of the quests in Cat Quest II take you inside caves and single-area dungeons that are teeming with tricky traps, enemies, and other dangers. Many of them are themed with the types of hazards or enemies involved, but at the same time, the environments don't run a particularly large gamut. In fact, it's quite the opposite. In caves in the cat side of the kingdom, dungeons are rock floors surrounded by water, and in caves in the dog side of the kingdom, dungeons are stone floors surrounded by sand.

Painful spikes, hostile enemies, and traps aplenty? Looks like a dungeon to me!
While I did say dungeons are full of danger and teeming with trouble, they're also teeming with treasure and other beneficial goodies, too. There's plenty of loot to be discovered in these dungeons, as well as rewards from completing quests, and these mostly come in the form of equipment.

The equipment your unlikely animal duo stumbles upon is for both form and fashion, as they can be leveled up by either paying a special blacksmith to upgrade them, or through discovering duplicates as quest or treasure chest rewards. In addition to that, some equipment have secondary bonuses, like increased experience when equipped, boosted health, higher resistance to certain elemental magic, and more. As an aside, your characters can actively be seen wearing the weapons and armor you equip, which is a nice touch.

Quests are easy to follow along with, as there's generally always a guiding arrow pointing in the direction you need to head towards on the map. The quests in general essentially have you fetch an item, or take out a group of enemies, or enter a dungeon to do a combination of the two. Certain side quests have silly stakes, which is purr-fect for the tone of the game, such as one where you do battle with the villain Meow-Face at the behest of a certain caped canine crusader named The Doge Knight. Other quests either play it a "little" more seriously or just feel like busywork. Regardless, quests are perfect for bite-size play, as seldom do they last longer than five minutes, so even the "busywork quests" do not waste too much time.

The main story of Cat Quest II takes about 5-10 hours to complete, depending on your pace and skill level, but fully finding everything in the game, completing all side quests, and collecting all that there is to collect will take 10-15 hours at a minimum. Thus, there's a fair amount of content to Cat Quest II.

Cat Quest II offers hack and slash action-RPG combat to tantalize prospective players, and overall, battling enemies works well. It's simple and accessible, but it can grow a bit repetitive, much like the quest structure of the game. Still, depending on your equipped weapon of choice, you can unleash quick slices and slashes with a sword that do little damage but attack the enemy more often, or opt to use a heavier weapon to strike slower but ultimately harder. Or, you can choose to have one of your pet partners be a tank, attacking enemies head-on, while the other serves as a healer or otherwise magic (Mana) user.

Combat is simple but enjoyable, and when playing solo, your AI partner is pretty helpful.
Of course, defense, too, plays an important part in Cat Quest II's combat, and avoiding enemy attacks is a combination of easy to see coming and hard to cheese, making for a nice balance. When an enemy is about to attack with a physical blow, a light red circle will surround them. A dark red ring will then expand from the center, and when it encapsulates the light red circle completely, the attack occurs. Avoiding magic is a little trickier due to no window to tell when a spell will come crashing down, but the spot where the spell will strike appears a small amount of time beforehand, giving you a brief window to hightail it out of harm's way.

Cat Quest II is a game that certainly doesn't outstay its welcome, as I feel any further padding would just add to the occasional tedium and repetition I felt while playing the game at times. For this reason, for me, the game was best to play in bursts rather than an extended period of time (other than my first gaming session with it). Filled with charming personality, clever humor, a colorful world, satisfyingly simple and accessible combat, and enough cat and dog puns to last you till you wait for the inevitable third installment, Cat Quest II is far from purr-fect but by no means a cat-astrophe either. (I'm so sorry for the puns. Please don't go.)

[SPC Says: C+]

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