There's a one big difference, besides the setting, between the first and the second game of the series: where QfG1 was pretty relaxed about the use of time, QfG2 is fully tied with time and things happening during certain days. This is both, good and a bad thing. Oh, and while there's a VGA remake of the game, it's not an official remake, but a fan remake, so I won't be using screenshots of that on this article. It's a solid remake though, so you should go and grab it as it's free.
So back to the business. As I was saying, being tied by time is both a good and a bad thing. See, if you've completed the game previously there's actually very little things to actually solve in the game. Instead of trying to figure out how to solve puzzles, you spend a good chunk of the first 17 game days doing little nothing else but grinding your character in order to make him the best possible exportable for the 3rd game. But let's tackle that a bit later, shall we and start from the beginning.
Trial by Fire is set a little after the end of Quest for Glory 1. The hero of Spielburg travels to Shapeir with his new friends, merchant Abdulla Doo and Katta innkeepers Shema and Shameen. From the very beginning, you start hearing rumors about the twin city of Shapeir, Raseir, being taken over by evil entities, but it's only later on in the game that you can actually go there. The first thing to do is to get to know the lay of the land and start bulking up the hero as well as to become an even better hero by doing heroic deeds of heroism. This time around the setting of the game is heavily based on Arabian fables and legends, so say goodbye to the Germanic themed fantasy.
|The inn where you can hang with your Katta buddies Shema and Shameen and Abdulla you met in the first game as well as watch local entertainment like the dance act of Shema.|
The spells are again thrown by typing in commands like "cast flame dart", but if you're playing with a fighter, the use of a shield will prevent you from doing so in combat, as there's just too much metal on your hands.
Again, just like in the first game, there are class specific things you can do in the game. Of course, the stuff reserved for mages can be accessed by anyone with knowledge of magic, but thieves have their little burglary missions and now there's even a bit bigger side quest for fighters in the form of EOF initiation, where you need to show your might in the combat. Shapeir itself is surrounded by a desert you need to navigate a bit and where you find things to kill and some quests to solve. again, just like in the first game, the desert is done in an adventure game fashion, so you'll need to map your own way. Though there are only a couple of points of interest there, so it's simpler just to jot down how many screens from Shapeir you need to walk.
|Again the game has day/night cycle that effects on the locations. Gone are the merchants and the desert are again filled with more dangerous beasts.|
But, as I stated earlier, the game itself is very much tied to time. This is a good thing if you're playing the game the first time, as it seems like the world is moving at its own pace, throwing more things towards you as you progress. This also gives seemingly tight deadlines for you to complete stuff in. The thing is though, that if you've played the game before, those deadlines aren't very strict at all, as the puzzle solutions are in the end very simple after you've solved them once already.
This structure leads to situation where you aren't actually spending that much time in solving puzzles more than you are spending your time just bulking up your character. The game system works very well for the first time, but in additional playthroughs, the game just starts to feel a bit tedious. This is a reason I think the first game is much more replayable, as you can plow it through as fast as you want. There's only a couple of time tied events in it and those that are can happen on any day during a certain time.
|One place to spend time is the adventurers guild where you can meet new friends and get some combat practice from a fierce warrioress Uhura.|
Now yes, this does make the game a tad longer than the first game is and in a sense it also makes the game a better experience if you're playing it the first time, as it's likely that you still have plenty of other things to do between the elemental attacks. But as I said, if you already know the game, the time between the main events is just frustrating, as you most likely end up doing a lot of thins quite fast and either sleep or just train the mean time. Hence the tedium factor.
|Locked in a mortal combat with a brigand|
In many ways, the last half of the game is more enjoyable even on multiple playthroughs, as you don't need to spend that much time waiting around. You still do need to pass time for a couple of days, mainly by walking around and so on, but things do progress a bit faster this time around.
|Raseir ain't half as nice of a place. It's all dirty and gray and oppressed and stuff.|
Quest for Glory 2: Trial by Fire is an okay game. It's a great game if you're playing it the first time, but in the end, I don't think it really holds up that well if you think of re-play value. The structure of it is far too obvious and in the end bulking up the hero is a bit of a tedious thing to spend a majority of the game time to.
If you want it, QfG2 is a part of a collection sold at GOG.