Dec 19 2011

Review of Trine 2

You know when you start a new game, and you can’t decide which class to choose? Do you go for the sneaky rogue, the burly warrior, or the flashy mage? It’s a big commitment sometimes, you’re deciding how you will be spending the next twenty odd hours of your life. The Trine series does away with this predicament, mashing all three classes together in one fantasy setting archetype dynamo. This introduction may have given you the impression that Trine 2 is some sort of RPG where you play a 6 armed dude, but it is in fact an intriguing mix of 2D side scrolling puzzling and action. Following on from the original Trine, the three heroes; rogue, warrior and wizard, are combined together to save the kingdom.

Yes, this game looks amazing

Other than the original Trine, I can’t really think of any other games that play like Trine 2. Obviously it’s a side scrolling platformer at heart, but the open-ended way you are able to approach each obstacle is very unique. As mentioned earlier, you play all three classes at the same time, switching between them with the numerical 1,2, and 3 buttons. Each class has wildly different abilities; The rogue has arrows and a grapple hook, the warrior a sword and shield, and the wizard has the ability to summon boxes and levitate a large variety of objects on the map. That’s quite a big skill set to choose from and a lot of the time you can get from point A to point B using any three of the characters. Obviously there are certain puzzles that will require a specific character,and fighting goblins, although not impossible with the wizard, is very annoying when not playing the warrior. Overall though I felt like I could be playing any of the three characters at any time and still be pushing forward. This makes Trine have an almost sandbox like feel. Obviously it’s entirely linear in the way in which the game progresses but the options given to you are so varied it that feels very organic and open.

It looks eerily amazing

Although this organic way of progressing does make the game feel very unique, I found it a bit disconcerting. I found the game too organic. I know this may sound like a strange complaint, but with all the options available to me, I never knew if I was completing the puzzles the right way. I missed the game telling me: “Well done! You did that part just the way we wanted you to!” I felt at times I was missing out on certain ways of completing puzzles so I would go back and do them again, playing around with different things in the area. This is also coupled with the blasé attitude to finding power ups the game expresses. Scattered throughout all the levels, semi hidden, are experience point bonuses. You can get them if you want, but there’s no show and dance when you do. Although the experience points do allow your characters to gain new abilities I just wish the game would make me feel better about myself for getting them! Even just a little “You found a secret area!” would do.

It looks bouncily amazing

My inferiority complex aside, I think Trine 2 could have benefited from a little stricter level design in some areas. I never really used the Rogue’s grapple hook the whole game, and it would have been nice to see a few high tension area’s where I had to use her quickness in pure platforming action. The warrior is really only used when goblins appear, and it would have been nice to see him used in a few unique scenarios. The wizard on the other hand is probably the star of the show. I could basically use him to get past any section of the game, easily summoning  a few blocks and jumping to where I needed to get to, or even levitating the block underneath the one I was standing on to fly around the map. This isn’t to say that Trine 2 is bad, it’s actually incredibly fun and I enjoyed every second I was playing it. It is just a very different platforming experience from the norm. The lack of structure while disconcerting allows you to tackle every section just the way you want to and will lead you to playing it through again, focusing more on the characters you may have ignored during your first play through.

Seriously, this game looks amazing.

Trine 2 is also amazing to look at. In my mind this is the best looking game released this year. Every part of the game looks spectacular, from the opening to the final boss. The game has a medieval fairy tale vibe and the art style and direction just riff on this so well. The back grounds always have something pretty going on that ties in with whatever area you are currently exploring. Admittedly it is easier to construct a pretty 2d world, Trine 2 just takes it to the next level. Even purely watching the game in action is a treat, and it runs silky smooth to boot. The fairy tale motif is used throughout the story of the game and it fits in nicely with the graphic style and characters, though it’s not overly compelling. You will most likely want to progress in this game to see how beautiful the next area will look, more so than to see what happens with the two princess.

Trine 2 is a real treat to play. It feels great to jump around playing any of the three characters solving the games puzzles. This and the fact it’s gorgeous make it hard to not recommend to anyone to try out. It’s a lot of fun but I think it could have been a lot better with some tighter direction and playing up on the characters differences a little better. Regardless of its shortcomings Trine 2 gets a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Michael Raston is a gamer in his mid twenties. After wasting most of his life playing games, he has decided to start writing about them. check out more of his ramblings at http://lowerguk.tumblr.com/ or send him an email; mraston@iinet.net.au

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