Trine 2: Director’s Cut Review
The original Trine was a hit on the PS3 and PC three years ago because it combined absolutely stunning graphics with a whimsical soundtrack, some excellent physics-based puzzles, and a three character-swap mechanic that worked as well then as it did in the Lost Vikings nearly two decades ago. Fast-forward two years and the sequel hits those platforms as well as XBLA, and brings with it online co-op. While local co-op made the game easier before by taking all of the frustration out of puzzle solving, it definitely felt like a tease compared to what could be done online.
The online component was executed wonderfully, with lag-free play allowing the puzzle solving to be done without a hitch. Beyond that, the game was more of the same, which wasn’t a bad thing at all. The folks at Frozenbyte took a formula that worked and just ironed out the biggest rough edges. The controls were a little tighter, the graphics a tad more vibrant, and the music had a little more depth to it. It’s the perfect example of what you want a sequel to do when improvement is all a game really needs in a sequel, since it took what made the original work and expanded upon it.
Here we are a year after the initial release and the Director’s Cut has hit the Wii U. It may seem a bit odd to not have the whole series playable on the platform, an issue that also plagues the XBLA version, but the plot doesn’t really matter much, isn’t very compelling, but is thankfully at least told in a beautiful storybook style that makes it fun to look at. It isn’t that the original Trine isn’t worth playing, it just isn’t essential to enjoy its successor.
As the wizard Amadeus, the knight Pontius, and the cat burglar Zoya, you’re out to get the Trine – the oh-so-magical thingamajig that drives the plot and gives the series its rather awesome name. Like the Lost Vikings, each character has their own skills that you’ll need to use to progress. If there are a slew of goblins to slay, then you’ll want to send Pontius out there to slice them up. He’s also great for blocking fire with his massive shield and can smash rocks with his hammer. It never hurts to have a guy wielding a giant hammer on your side.
Amadeus can use his brain to form boxes as platforms or make anything in the area levitate – a handy feature in co-op if you’ve got someone who needs to get somewhere. He’s got just enough brawn to pull levels and drop boxes on things, while Zoya can take out long-range foes with her bow and arrow while swinging around on her grappling hook. The former skill comes in handy if Pontius is out of action, while the latter just looks really awesome and results in some of the game’s most stunning moments. Also, it’s great for getting from point A to B with spikes underneath you. The puzzles are all varied and you’ll definitely get stuck a lot – but the feeling of satisfaction when you find the solution to your current conundrum is always worth it in the end.
The Wii U version adds the ability to draw boxes on the touch screen, aim arrows by drawing their path, and lets you swap between the hammer and sword by tapping. None of these things really add much to the experience, and while it does take slightly less time to draw the boxes than it takes to draw them with the button/right stick combo, I still prefer the controls of the PS3 version. Still, the Wii U-only features are all nice little things that give you a bit more incentive to play it on this system, and also on the Gamepad instead of just on the TV. Outside of the Gamepad drawing functionality, the main selling point of this version over other ones is its inclusion of the Goblin Menace expansion that won’t be on any other console version and adds quite a bit of content, as well as a Wii U-only level.
T2’s graphics really pop on the Gamepad’s small screen and it amazed me to see just how much of the detail was retained on it. I thought for sure that with it not being an HD-quality screen that the visuals would suffer, but they didn’t. Instead, I was just amazed that such a gorgeous game was being played on a controller/tablet combination device. If you’ve never played a Trine game before, just seeing it for the first time will blow your mind. Fortunately, once loved ones get done putting it in a dustpan and carefully re-assembling it, you’ll be able to enjoy the incredibly colorful environments and amazing medieval setting.
While the graphics as a whole are jaw-dropping and among the most colorful out there, they’re hurt a tiny bit by animation issues. Zora’s swinging looks great and everything Amadeus does looks fine, but there doesn’t appear to be much animation for Platius’s shield, and he just tends to shift from one direction to the next in a single frame. It isn’t a huge deal, but really sticks out terribly given how lush every other thing in the game is.
Trine 2’s audio is nearly as enjoyable as its visuals, with fantasy fare blaring and fitting the setting perfectly. I’m not usually a fan of that kind of music, but it works absolutely perfectly here and sounds magnificent – even through the Gamepad’s imperfect speaker setup. The voice over narration for the story is done well and treats the plot and its characters with just the right amount of seriousness and sarcasm. There’s a light tone to the game and it does tend to poke fun at some tropes present throughout the adventure.
Trine 2: Director’s Cut is an excellent game and an absolute must-own if you don’t already have it for another console. If you’ve already got the 360, PS3, or PC versions of the game, I’m not quite sure if the additional content is worth $20 – that will really depend on how much you liked it. If you’re a casual fan of the series, then it’s probably not worth full price, and if you’ve got a good enough PC to run it, then your best bet is to stick with that unless you’re dying for something to play on the Wii U. It looks and sounds great on the Gamepad, and is one of the most amazing titles to see running on the device.
Reviewed By: Jeremy Peeples
This review is based on a digital copy of Trine 2: Director’s Cut for the Wii U provided by Frozenbyte.