LifeisXbox’s Curious Expedition 2 review | You wake up with the lovely scent of croissants and cheese filling your nostrils. A soft rumbling in the pit of your stomach notifies you that you are in need of some sustenance. No problem you think. Standing up, you grab your satchel and don your hat, preparing yourself for a nice breakfast in the nearest café. When you arrive, music fills your ears and the boisterous laughter of two men at one of the tables makes you feel merry. You wave at one of the waitresses, who gives you a playful nod. A couple of minutes pass and you suddenly see her uncomfortably mosey towards you with a plateau. She puts it down and quickly scurries away. You shake your head because you didn’t order this. As you are about to stand up and go after her, you notice a manilla envelope sticking out from beneath the freshly baked bread. On it is the noticeable emblem of the explorers guild. What? A new mission? But you quit 7 years ago… You hastily unfold it and start reading. ‘Oh no,’ you mumble while pushing a piece of cheese into your gob and continue reading. You understand what is asked of you while finishing the last piece of bread. You fold the papers back into the envelope, stash it in your satchel and stand back up. But when you look up, you see the two figures that were once seated at the table not so far from you standing at the other end of the table with their hands stretched out. You instantly realize… This is going to be your second adventure with an entirely new crew as you embark on yet another… Curious Expedition! – Brought to us by Maschinen-Mensch.
Most Memorable Moment
On my second run I got a little too comfortable with my all-winning crew. I ran through the first two main expeditions, only to be utterly mowed down when I went down into a lava biome. Though I can’t say much about this part since it would involve a lot of spoilers, remember this. Vary your crew and loadout, and for the love of god! Don’t skim on the medicinal stuff! Don’t be too stingy!
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion from the writer.
What we Liked!
- Good follow-up| One of the first things straight out of the gate that I’ve got to mention is the fact that these devs are open to feedback! I’m going, to be honest, my first impressions weren’t all too amazing. Why? Because the build that I got to test was missing some key features… More precisely, it was missing some areas + textures for my NPCs. So understandably my first thoughts were. Yup, this is a dumpster fire. But, they came back to us, and fairly quickly as well. And this, my friends, is what a good dev does. They recognize their mistakes and rectify them asap without sugar-coating it. The fact that they went out of their way to do so is in my opinion? One of the biggest power moves a dev can do. So Maschinen-Mensch? Kudos!
- Freedom| Another point worth mentioning is the varied and vast (is)lands for you to discover. Pair this with a wide range of characters for you to recruit and you’ve got yourself a match made in heaven. I’ve always loved the fact that you are free to choose your own path and destiny in games, and this one is no different. You first pick your starting explorer, 2 are unlocked from the get-go, and the rest you unlock by performing certain tasks or discoveries along the way. Chosen? Great! Now the game will generate your starting crew. Not satisfied by what you’ve gotten? No biggie! You can just re-roll them if need be. Ready? Then let’s go on our first adventure! Each expedition will give you the opportunity to go to 3 different lands. Just got started and don’t know what to choose from? Then here is a tip for you! Choose the desert plains. Those are a bit easier at the start, plus, you’ll get the opportunity to get some free water that will make traversing the desert a bit easier. Plus, you’re not going to run in malaria mosquitos. You’re welcome!
- Strategy needed!| Don’t get too comfortable or confident if it’s your first playthrough of the campaign. In my experience that will only lead to certain doom. You won’t make it if you don’t vary the characters that you employ in your party. You’ll need a mix with a little bit of everything. But characters aren’t everything either. The items and loadout that you select on your expedition matter as well. For instance, if you decided to go to a desert land, but didn’t stock up on water because they just take up inventory room, you’ll come out of this one like a loon.
- Difficulty spikes| There is a huge discrepancy between the main expedition and the runner-up expeditions that I just couldn’t look past. Before each big expedition, that is the main mission and one that cannot be ignored or dodged around you’ll get 3 runner-up expeditions. These are fairly easy to complete even if you choose the 3 skull difficulty one. They mostly consist of one run, a few islands, and more than enough spots for either to refill your stock or just rest. But when you go on your main campaign mission, all these things just seem to vanish in thin air. You’ll be on the lookout for a resting area, and item stocks suddenly become a thing to manage very diligently. Even if you send some things through the church vendor to Paris, you’ll still be rummaging around hoping to either find a vendor, or luck out and get free healing or an encounter that gives you a one-time deal on things. Got to the finish line? Then prepare for the next stage. Where you get a chance to replenish some things, but not nearly enough for what you would be needing if you had a bad first stage run.
- Visuals| (Note: This one is entirely up to your own preference, and I won’t include this in the points deduction or addition). I’ve played and reviewed the first Curious Expedition. And I am sorry to say that I couldn’t come to terms with the different directions that this developer took in regard to the first one. Though I understand that, with a new studio comes new visions, I couldn’t fathom why they would go from perfectly fine pixel art to full art. Now, in all fairness, the colorful art looks lively, it still lacks some sort of ‘je ne sais quoi’. Some sections or events feel as if the surroundings look ‘flat’ and lack a sense of depth to them.
- Audio| This… Is a difficult one. On one hand, I wanted to place this in the what I liked category, but on the other hand, I felt that if I put it there I would be lying as well. Let me explain. For instance, the music or ambient noises are really well done. It suits the vibe and environment and makes the world feel alive around you. But when it comes down to the combat part of the game? Again, something just didn’t feel right. The gun noises felt flat, the melee hits felt as if I was slapping someone with a wet noodle or fish. I just… Felt as if it was tearing me apart. If the audio would have been polished all-around then I would have instantly put this one as the first point in my what I liked part.
- Controls| Controls are another part that still feels as if it could use some tweaking here and there. While the map movement controls are perfect, the combat controls feel sketchy, to say the least. For example, whenever you make a roll, you get the chance to re-roll your blank die and even select some that have rolled with a face, but maybe something that you don’t need at that moment. But selecting that die just feels a little bit too cumbersome. Or selecting a target to attack as well. It just feels as if this combat system was ported straight out of the PC version, not optimized for controller use.
What we Disliked
- Nothing| In all honesty, there isn’t anything that I didn’t like in Curious Expedition 2. And this was even before I got the new build to test with. Even if I didn’t get a new build before release, I still wouldn’t have put anything in this block though, since I knew that those were issues that would be patched eventually.
How long to beat the story | Highly debatable. Depends on what setup. But roughly around 8 to 10 hours.
How long to achieve 1000G | 15 to 20 hours. But again, highly debatable.
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