I had high hopes for Trine 2. As a big fan of the original, released in 2009, Trine 1 was one of my quick-draw answers for when friends asked me to recommend a game to them. Two years of endless ravings about how great Trine 1 was, really builds up anticipation like nothing short of a multi-million dollar advertisement campaign. The wait that came between Trine 1 and Trine 2, was completely worth it.
Gushing fan-boy enthusiasm aside, Trine 2 is a spectacle not just for what it accomplishes as a game, but also how it excels at representing what a true sequel to a game should be like, with improvements all around, and not just more of the same.
The stagnant, skeletal enemies of Trine 1 have been replaced with lively goblins featuring their own cultural personalities. They scurry out from behind walls, leap at you from foliage, claw at you if you stand too close to the edge of a platform as they climb up, and squeal in terror if Amadeus (the wizard) levitates them into the air. There are more than just goblins in Trine 2, but I would rather you discover how the goblins are the least of your worries, on your own.
The landscapes and scenery of Trine 2 could easily serve as standalone pieces of art, and Ari Pulkkinen’s charming soundtrack only helps to meld the enchanting environments into one unforgettable gameplay experience. The soundtrack of Trine 2 is full of scores that can easily rival what one would hear in a multi-billion dollar film, a fact that I am sure Frozenbyte holds in humble pride.
As impressive as the visual style is, the environments would not be half as interesting, if it were not for the incredible set pieces the level designers put together. There were points in Trine 2 where I verbally swore, just from pure shock at what was going on around me, or at the sheer luck of having accomplished a daring stunt on the first try.
In Trine 2, the environment is as much the enemy as the goblins are. While the goblins aggressively test your skills, the environments do so passively. Often seen in Trine 2 are rooms where an impassable obstacle impedes your progress. You could use Amadeus to conjure up platforms to run across a gap, or you can utilize Zoya’s grappling hook to swing across (my preferred method) if the gap is too wide for Amadeus’ platforms. Or, if a stream of acid is dripping out of a vat in the ceiling, use Pontius’ shield to pass safely underneath. Be warned, though, the puzzles are hardly that simple, and will certainly fray your patience.
I only had three issues with Trine 2.
One was how Amadeus (the wizard) could move some objects he was standing on, but not others. For example, standing on a crate, I would try to levitate it around, and would be unable to do so. Yet, I could stand on some platforms or giant plants, and be able to move them around while standing on them. This flaw gets very frustrating later in the game when the difficulty in the puzzles bumps up a few notches. Not game breaking, but certainly clunky compared to how well everything else plays out.
The second issue I had was how the goblin mini-boss encounters were nearly identical to the goblin boss encounter the mini bosses lead up to. Without spoiling anything, I will just say that once you figure out how to kill one of the mini bosses, killing that particular boss later on will prove no trouble at all. To me, this felt straight out of the Super Nintendo era of platformers, where the developers would just re-skin the boss. (Like in Donkey Kong Country, where King K. Rool was essentially the same boss as the giant beaver from the first area.) Again, not a game breaking flaw, but certainly disappointing compared to everything else about the game.
Finally, and perhaps most disappointing of all, was the lack of real treasure in the game. Scattered throughout the game are treasure chests, and frankly, some of them were a pain in the ass to get to. The reward was, sadly, hardly worth the effort. Inside these chests were either a “collectable poem” which was always a rhymey little quatrain, and the other type of treasure was “collectable art” which is basically concept art. This is the only step backwards Trine 2 takes, because in Trine 1, the treasure was always to boost some stat or something cool. Frozenbyte should have atleast given us something cosmetic to equip after having gone through the trouble to reach some of those chests.
If you take your time to explore and enjoy the world of Trine 2, you can easily get ten hours worth of gameplay out of the game, and I am positive that once you finish it, you will already start looking forward to playing through it again.
If you liked Trine 1 – Buy it!
If you like platformers – Buy it!
If you want to get your girlfriend a game – Buy it!
If you dislike puzzles in video games – Avoid it.
Overall opinion: Buy it!
Trine 2 is available now in the Steam Store, and is to be released on the PlayStation Network December 20th, and on the Xbox Live Marketplace December 21st.
– I believe the game would have been easier utilizing the co-op feature (up to two others), but I was able to beat the game entirely on my own.
– I loved the banter between Amadeus, Pontius and Zoya, and I really liked how they would clue you in on how to solve a new situation without making you feel dumb. “I bet Pontius could block those with his shield.”
– I thought how the creatures attacked from the foreground/background was a great way to add depth to the game, a vast improvement from Trine 1.
– Fighting goblins in a lightning storm to Ari Pulkkinen’s track “Boss Battle” was incredibly epic.