The lights are on
PC- Xbox Arcade - PSNDeveloper: FrozenbytePublisher: AtlusRelease Date: December 7th, 2011 (Dec 20th for PSN/Xbox360) Introducting the new video reviews, first one featured below. For those that like to watch and not read!
Trine was one of those hidden games of the 2009 PC gaming world. Though it was a small Steam download, it soon became a hit due to its accessible gameplay and beautiful art direction. With the slew of big name titles currently hogging most of my time, the sequel was something worth checking out.
Trine and TrueMuch like the previous installment, the most obvious thing Trine has going for it is stunning art direction. For a 2D platformer, the look is unmatched. Like a journey through the color wheel, vivid tapestries adorn each and every level. A bright purple contrasts a deeper blue in the forests, and orange rays peek through openings on a sunset village. Impressive plays on lighting help make Trine 2 just as enjoyable to watch as it is to play.
The story continues the adventures of the same group of heroes as the previous installment; the wizard Amadeus, the thief Zoya, and knight Pontious. Joined together by the mystical Trine artifact from the previous game, the heroes are bound together to help stop an unknown evil. While the actual plot will do little for the lore enthusiasts, the basic tale of three unlikely heroes on a quest is enough to satisfy for a 2D platformer. The voice actors for each character chime in on occasion to help bring the characters to life, but it is the narrator that truly captures the feel of the game. Much like the previous installment, the narrator will recant the tale at each load screen and give his quips while you progress regarding the characters. You get the feeling of playing out a story from a children's book rather than it happening in real time. Backed by a fantasy-inspired original soundtrack, you can't help but feel like a kid hearing a fable for the first time.
Power of ThreeThe basic gameplay has not changed much since the last installment and still consists of platforming, combat, and puzzle segments. These are further augmented by the three available characters and their abilities. The wizard, Amadeus, can spawn boxes and platforms by drawing them out with the mouse, but cannot attack as efficiently as the others. The thief, Zoya, has a grappling hook and bow to get to vantage points and fight from afar. The knight, Pontious, is combat ready with sword and shield, but is not as agile in platforming. The balance makes for constant switching between characters to adapt to each situation as it presents itself. You could technically get through the game with one sole character, but their usefulness in each dilemma warrants a shuffle of their roles.
The platforming is made even more interesting by the in-depth physics engine. You will stumble across many puzzles that consist of transporting water from one source to its destination, a Portal inspired platforming section, and many other puzzles that will could leave you scratching your head for a while. These well thought out puzzles are enjoyable, but by the sixth stage you tend to grow tired of fitting pipes to blow air to a platform.Between these platforming sequences are combat encounters. Hordes of goblins, spiders, and other monstrosities will relentlessly throw themselves at you at certain areas. While you may rely on the knight for these sequences, the thief and wizard can both hold their own with enough practice.
Custom CharactersScattered throughout the game are small blue orbs and flasks. These gradually level your character as you collect them. Some are dropped from enemies, others are strewn across the path, and most are dangled just out of reach. They act much like Riddler Trophies in Arkham City, daring you to stop your progression to dedicate time in figuring out how to obtain them. Even after spending five minutes attempting to time a jump perfect, they are well worth the investment.
Each time you level up you earn an additional skill point. These can be invested into one of the three characters to upgrade their current weaponry or add new abilities. The wizard can be upgraded to spawn multiple platforms at once, the knight can add a flame sword to his arsenal, and the thief can fire two arrows at once. These upgrades become plentiful as the game wears on, but it's important to spread the wealth and not invest too much into a single character.The last installment featured accessories that you could equip to further power your characters, but those have been replaced with collectible paintings and poems. These more hidden secrets are usually off the beaten path, but do little more than add concept art and poetry to your menu unlocks.
Team TrineActing as a totally different experience all together, the multiplayer of the game really stands out. With two other players, you must now traverse each stage with all three characters. It adds a bit more challenge and thinking to the mix, as you must now move multiple players past each puzzle. Teamwork and cooperation is key in progressing past the challenges.
Unique actions can be performed with the heroes split in three. The wizard can levitate a box across a gap with the other player on top, the knight's shield can acts as an additional platform boost, and the thief can tail behind the knight's shield to fire arrows from cover. It's this unique feeling of camaraderie that the single player does not contain, and makes the multiplayer a mode worth investing time into. The game features a Standard mode and Unlimited mode, in which multiple players can be the same role. You can have three wizards all stacking boxes or three knights all battling goblins.Despite the stunning presentation, the overall experience is short lived. Clocking in at a mere six hours, it won't be long before your adventure will be at an end. Checkpoints are plentiful, and perhaps...too plentiful. Combat is easily thwarted by camping near a checkpoint to instantly restore health or lost characters. Enemy types tend to stick toward the goblin side, with only a few variations in between.
OverallTrine 2 stays true to the formula, and risks little in expanding beyond. There is little issue with that, as the infinitely satisfying gameplay will keep you entertained from beginning to end. It is an adventure game that is more fun with friends, and is one of the more enjoyable downloadable titles to close out the year.
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