Friday, August 17, 2012

Trine 2

Trine 2 is, as implied by its title, the second installment of the acclaimed Trine series by Finnish independent developer Frozenbyte. It once again follows the three memorable characters from the first game, but it takes place many years later.

The Trine, an artifact of great power that binds our three heroes together, as it has since the first game, seeks out each hero—Pontius the Knight, Amadeus the Wizard, and Zoya the Thief—and takes them to a strange enchanted forest. Unsure of what the Trine wants them to do, they traverse the mystical wood and discover that once, long ago, it had been a vast kingdom led by a noble queen. Now it was only ruled by savage goblins and strange beasts of the wild.

Eventually, the three come across a strange woman named Rosabel, who reveals that she had once been the queen of this land. She begs the trio to find and depose of the Goblin King, who currently resided on the throne of what had once been the kingdom. And so the three characters set out to dethrone the unrightful ruler, unaware of the true dangers that lay ahead.

Trine 2 is a brilliant game. It took the good points of the original Trine and improved all the rest. One of the biggest differences is replacing the main enemies—skeletons in the first game—with goblins. The entire theme went from being about a world where everything is dead, to being about a world—a strange and beautiful forest—where everything is alive.

And the visuals are no laughing matter. Trine 2 possibly has the greatest graphics of any platformer game that has ever existed to date. The level of detail is spectacular, from the gorgeous background scenery to the many different creatures you encounter along the way. You can see a sheep pasture in the background of the first level, and even that looks real.

Where I feel the game felt bland, and somewhat annoying, is the puzzles. They were confusing as heck, and often I felt that they were really made for multiplayer co-op mode and didn't really have a good solution in single-player mode. That being said, it felt like the only way to get past certain puzzles was to use slightly broken gameplay mechanics to glitch your way past.

And don't get me wrong there—the gameplay mechanics work great; they just have their minuscule flaws that can be taken advantage of.

In addition, I felt that the soundtrack didn't meet par with that of the first game. It was still beautiful and fitting, but it didn't stand out as Trine's soundtrack did. It didn't make me want to instantly go and purchase the soundtrack with my very own money. However, Ari Pulkkinen is a great composer, and you should buy his scores anyway.

Something that played a major role in why I loved this game was the hidden backstory. All throughout the game you find poems and letters that hint at what may have happened to the great kingdom. This adds a feeling of mystery to the entire experience, and it makes you want to continue and figure out each piece of the puzzle.

In the end, Trine 2 is a game you don't want to miss. The graphics are amazing, the soundtrack is great, the story is deep and intriguing, and it felt so refreshing to be able to return as the three heroes from Trine—I actually missed them after I completed the first game. However, as much as I loved this game, I felt as though it couldn't surpass the classic experience of its predecessor.

Trine 2 certainly has its flaws, but those are so far outweighed by the good things that you really shouldn't worry at all. This game receives a very high recommendation from me.

As a side note, this is one of the only games I've ever played (or sequel in any form of media) where you don't necessarily need to experience the predecessor first. You can start with either Trine or Trine 2. Either way, I hope you enjoy!

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