Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords - Revenge of the Plague Lord Review

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Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords - Revenge of the Plague Lord Publisher: D3Publisher of America
Developer: Infinite Interactive

Platform: Xbox 360
Reviewed on Xbox 360

You began as a young adventurer, striving to free Bartonia and the surrounding kingdoms of Etheria from the tyranny of Lord Bane. Now that you've spent time forging godlike items, reached level 50, rule every city in Etheria, trained your mounts to obscene levels, and even put down a god, what is there to do? With the emergence of Lord Antharg – the Plague Lord – there's a whole new threat for Etheria. And that means a new threat only your match-three puzzle skills can defeat.

Kyle Ackerman

Revenge of the Plague Lord is an expansion for Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords. If you want to better understand the workings of the game, read the review in which I described Puzzle Quest by saying "Puzzle Quest is here to bring hardcore gamers into the casual fold by wrapping a Bejeweled-like symbol-matching game in a massive role-playing game framework replete with items, experience points, forging, spells and other assorted wackiness." Revenge of the Plague Lord is a worthy expansion for the original game that adds more classes, items, spells and quests to make life interesting – for just 700 points ($8.75).

Revenge of the Plague Lord doesn't transform the way Puzzle Quest is played. The underlying game is still the same, as is the music and the map. Like any expansion, it adds more content to extend the fun. Officially, the expansion raises the level cap to 60 (from 50) adds four new classes, around 50 new spells and 40 new items. Not every one of these spells or items transforms play, but enough of them are new to make Revenge of the Plague Lord a worthy purchase. The expansion makes it worthwhile to keep playing as a favored class, or to start anew with one of the game's four new classes.

The expansion adds four more classes to the Puzzle Quest formula: the bard, ranger, rogue and warlock. Most of the new classes are just variations on and mixtures of the previous classes. I found the rogue to be a wonderful balance between thief and warrior, while the bard and ranger felt like more thoughtful versions of the other classes, requiring more planning and skill to execute properly while remaining equally powerful. I found the warlock to be the most entertaining. Like the proverbial D&D wizard, he's challenging to play at first, with a dismal selection of spells and nearly no combat abilities. But, in necromantic style, once he can cast a Bone Avatar that dramatically improves his combat abilities, a Great Plague to cripple his opponent's abilities, and ultimately Raise Dead to deal a crushing blow, the warlock becomes an unstoppable and sinister force.

In addition to starting the game over as a new class with new spells, the Revenge of the Plague Lord expansion adds two major elements: the new end game that takes players up to level 60 as they face off against Antharg (the Lord of the Plague); and the major region in the southern part of the map that lets players meet with the Storm Giants and battle the night elf warlock (witch?) Araveine. The new quests add a lot of extra play. I most enjoyed facing off against the Storm Lords. The Storm Giants have spells and equipment that lets them eliminate entire columns of gems in a cascade of lightning, and by defeating them, you can earn entertaining equipment that does the same.

New quests really just add new assignments for those who want to stick with a favored character rather than just starting the game over anew. For me, the value of the expansion is in the new classes, new spells and items – particularly those manifested by the Storm Giants. The updated game even makes multiplayer puzzle combat new, since players sport newer and nastier combinations of spells.

If I had any frustration with the game, it's that sometimes starting the game's quest mode would get me the message, "In order to continue, you must have the required content package," and I would have to exit and re-enter the game (sometimes several times) to play.

Puzzle Quest is a great standby game for when I need a break of a few minutes (or hours). Revenge of the Plague Lord adds enough new content to keep Puzzle Quest interesting for many more months.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on September 11, 2008 11:55 PM.

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