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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Video Game Review: Oooh look at the shiny! (Aka Trine 2)

Uh oh! My PC monitor must be playing up, no wait, I remember you, your red... oh and your green, oh hello blue my old friend. It can only mean one thing, Ive been playing Trine 2.

Or rather, WE have been playing Trine 2. Steven and I were searching for some sort of COOP game, we came to the conclusion of two games, both of them small developers, Leviathans and Trine2.

The first thing anyone will notice about Trine (you can't, not), is that its pretty. Its really pretty. After the dull grey monotone behemoths (were looking at you CoD and BF3) being released recently (except Borderlands 2 which is an exception), it makes for a nice change to play a game that makes a full attempt at using the full colour spectrum, and boy, does it succeed. Even after several nights of playing it I still cant get over how pretty Trine is. Its not particularily high resolution textures or fancy post processing effect - it just builds its scenes like a painting, a glorious, wonderful heartwarming painting that might, if I were not a prime example of a manly man of manliness, bring a tear of joy to my eye.

Seriously, look how pretty it is!

The draw for us however wasn't the glorious in game sunsets (im not weeping, honest), but the COOP. Trine  starts the game introducing you to three characters, each one has a unique set of abilities, but only one of each can be active at a time, in single player this means you are only ever one of the three, switching between them at the press of a button (the story explains this in Trine 1, the three get caught in the same body by the trine).

There is the Wizard, who can summon cubes (and later planks), which he can levitate and use to solve physics puzzles and to reach high up places. By default in the game the wizard cannot levitate anything he is stood on, but he can levitate other players (more on this later). The wizard has no direct way of killing the enemy, but he can levitate an enemy and use the environment to finish the job.

The second character you meet is the Warrior, hes your more standard fantasy hero, the dull witted paladin out to rescue the kingdom and smash his way through everything on the way. While he has his uses like all the characters in the game, I think we both felt he is the least interesting to play. His abilities are a shield and sword, simple slice and block mechanic, and later a big ass hammer, which can be used for knocking down barriers. His shield can be used to get past projectile and liquid obstacles safely.

Last but not least you meet the Thief, a fast moving, elemental bow wielding ranged type with a grapple hook (can only attach itself to wood not stone) for reaching otherwise impossible places. Pretty soon into the campaign your going to want to unlock the Ice arrows, these allow the thief to slow (and a second upgrade later, totaly freeze) the enemy temporarily, and the explosive arrows which pretty much makes the Warrior void by giving her the ability to knock down walls and do knockback damage to enemies, keeping their distance from you. The thief has a stealth ability that was pretty much usless whilst playing coop, but may be more useful when playing solo.

Pretty early on in the campaign Steven and myself settled into a rythm, he would favour the wizard, creating barriers, levitating blocks and aiding me to reach upgrade orbs scattered around each level, only switching to the warrior if needed. I would favour the thief, hopping around, swinging around, falling off of things and generally being less useful (probably spent too much time enjoying the scenery) but having fun doing it.

The story is okay, something about two sisters, honestly, we werent paying much attention, we were genrally laughing too hard to care, we were in it for the puzzles and the coop problem solving.

"laughing too hard to care, we were in it for the puzzles and the coop problem solving."

Whilst all the puzzles are set up to be solved single player, almost all of them work better if you have a friend there to help. So you never feel useless. There is also a ton of upgrade orbs that a single player could never reach. Boss battle rarely sink into the mash A button, often opting for a puzzle element to get by.

Steven discovered an exploit in the game were not entirley sure was intended, it allows the wizard to levitate himself (and anyone else) giving the ability to skip large parts of the level, and while we occasionally used it if we got fed up falling to our deaths repeatedly, we avoided using it when possible, opting to play the game as intended.

 "Do your eyes a favor and give them this as a gift."

The campaign has some easy bits, some made easier by having a partner, others are just elementary. It also has some very tricky parts, often taking the combined brain power of us both to work out. There are some gaming changing abilities, the anti gravity arrow being one, allowing you to go back to earlier levels and reach areas you might have struggled to before, and the wizards ability to summon up to 4 boxes/planks, again making previously unreachable areas accessible.

There are option when you start a multiplayer game, to allow players to play as only one character or all of them and to switch on or off player levitation, which will make the game more challenging depending on what sort of experience you want to have. We have only tried the game with two players, but id be interested to see how a 3rd adds to the gameplay.

The game is a joy to play and only gets better with friends, and so very, very pretty. Do your eyes a favor and give them this as a gift. It will only cost you $10.

93/100 Difficult to reach magic orbs.

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