Trine 2: Complete Story PS4 Review
Publisher: Frozenbyte Developer: Frozenbyte Genre: Platformer Players: 1-3
Age Rating: 12+ Other console/handheld formats: Wii U
Trine 2: Complete Story combines both the original Trine 2 game and the Goblin Menace expansion; as a whole it does not really expand much on the first game, but does come with a bit more spit and polish. The plot follows the heroic trio from the previous game – Zoya the Thief, Amadeus the Wizard and Pontius the Knight – as they help the crown princess Rosabel to regain her kingdom by defeating all of the evil that has befallen it. However, all might not be as it seems…
For a lower budget game there is a lot to see and do and Trine 2: Complete Story certainly makes for a different experience than what most other games of its type have to offer. Just like the original, game-play sees you taking control of three characters at once during single player mode, switching between each character at the push of a button – á la Sonic Heroes (albeit without the other characters’ screen presence) – or as part of a team online, playing with up to two other players.
Each of the three characters all return with most of the same abilities they had in the previous game; whilst some have been done away with, other abilities have been added instead. Zoya returns with her bow and arrow and grappling hook, though this time around she is also able to turn invisible for a short period and comes equipped with explosive arrows, which are certainly useful and pack a punch when aimed at enemies or at breakable walls. This time, Zoya is also able to use her frozen arrows to create platforms of ice for everyone to stand on to cross over water. The invisibility skill is not very useful at all though, depleting very quickly if Zoya moves and so does not make much of a difference during combat.
Pontius also has some new additions, but still comes equipped with his usual sword and shield. This time around Pontius can now hover using his shield and can glide towards other platforms from higher grounds. Pontius is also equipped with a hammer that can be used to break down walls to open up the next area. He is also, once again, able to dash forwards, enabling him to make leaps across wide gaps. Pontius, being the brawn of the group, is the most useful when facing enemies and bosses.
Amadeus also has some new powers, and in addition to being able to levitate and conjure items, he can now magnetise planks and crates that he conjures in order to make it easier to tie them together when trying to create access to a higher area or cross a chasm. Amadeus, as before, is the weakest to use in combat, not having any sort of long-range fire power and only being able to pick up enemies and toss them over cliffs or stop them in their tracks by dropping conjured items on their heads, stunning them.
Controlling each character is, for the most part, very fluid; the animations are smooth and switching between different characters and abilities is simple enough, though the only issues experienced was when controlling the Wizard and his ability to conjure items, especially after he is upgraded to being able to conjure multiple items. Using the touchpad, you have to draw either a square or line to conjure a crate or plank respectively. However, if your drawing skills aren’t quite up to scratch, you’ll find yourself conjuring too many of an item that you don’t want and will end up littering the screen with them. Of course you can use the control sticks to also conjure items, though surprisingly this is more complicated as you struggle to draw a simple line across the screen.
Upgrading has also been simplified, and in order to upgrade, this time around collecting 50 potions will reward you with points that enable you to purchase new upgrades, such as an extra item for the Wizard or new arrow types for the Thief. In the previous game, you could find hidden treasure chests that gave you items that enhanced the characters’ abilities, though that has been done away with in this game and instead you can find collectible poems and artwork.
The story is perhaps the weakest part of the game, though it is at least nicely narrated, as if it were your own wisely grandfather telling you a magical bedtime story. The plot doesn’t really do much to pull you in and is very basic, with the story following the heroic trio as they rid their kingdom of evil, at the request of the crown princess Rosabel. There is a twist that, because of the shallowness of the story and characterisation, you don’t really care about, but as with any game of this type, it is not the destination that matters, but the journey, and the story here is a mere stepping stone into what becomes a voyage of mystical wonder and awe; as the game progresses, the heroes come across all manner of wildlife, including gigantic snails, snakes and scorpions. Each of the main characters themselves don’t really have that much development and are also very basic – Zoya likes jewels because that is what thieves are supposed to like and Pontius enjoys challenges that test his strength as a Knight. At one point during the plot, however, the Wizards wife is kidnapped making for some interesting insights into his relationship and therefore adding some growth to his personality, other than him just being a Wizard with power who frets about everything. Each character is still likable, and the story as a whole innocent, harking back to fairytales of old about good triumphing over evil.
The games crowning glory is its graphics and they truly add to the awe that the adventure offers. The art-style has truly expanded on the first game and you can tell a lot of effort has been put into the graphics, with some of the best water and lighting effects seen in a game. The levels are very colourful and magical, and once again the foreground meshes perfectly with the background, with lots of detail in the environments. Swimming makes a welcome return and the underwater graphics are truly a beautiful sight to behold with some wonderful light beam effects as they pierce through the water and glisten off deep-rooted wooden joists and other boulders and debris found under the water. The colours underwater also make a great contrast to the colours when on land, making any underwater venture seem as though you are travelling somewhere long forgotten.
As mentioned earlier, the game can be played in single player, or as co-op, with up to two other players and it is here that the most fun is to be had. As with the first game, the death physics certainly make for some comedic moments, especially when a character falls and then finds themselves entangled on a spike or a piece of the scenery where they shouldn’t be. But however fun it may be, it is a shame that there are a few problems to be had. If two players are using the same screen, there is no split-screen; therefore sometimes you may find yourself feeling redundant as you wait around for the other players if you have successfully managed to get through somewhere the others haven’t. Solving puzzles can also be difficult without the aid of a split-screen; if one character wanders off to turn a lever or collect a potion, that character will suddenly reappear at the side of one of the characters who are on-screen. This can make for some rather frustrating moments and can make the gameplay feel restrictive.
The bosses and enemies found in the game are very easy to defeat, with booby traps in the environments being more of a threat. The enemies are there mostly to enhance the danger that the traps present. The bosses in the game aren’t particularly memorable or challenging either, and so do not offer much in the sense of peril or tension.
This time around the game as a whole feels more linear, with more logical puzzles to solve. The first game was made in a way so that you could complete the levels a multitude of ways using the each of the characters’ skills in some way or other, though that freedom has been stripped back somewhat in this second outing, with the characters having to reroute fire or wind using pipes, using mirrors positioned a certain way to teleport, or use half-logs to reroute water onto a specific spot to help grow vines and leaves in order to create platforms.
Overall, Trine 2: Complete Story may not be particularly memorable or significant, but it is certainly a visual treat for the eyes and the pros far outweigh the cons, with each play offering something fun and new. With the added Goblin Menace expansion, this is one magical game that will have you hooked for hours at a time.