Average User Score: 8.3Dec 9, 2011This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The game makes your jaw drop in awe as soon as the playable title screen appears, and won't let you close it until the very end. While many games have level variety, switching from city to jungle to ice plains to deserts, only few of them have in-level variety of the magnitude Trine 2 has: Here, you may start at the outskirts of a forest, and without a level load, progress into dark spider-infested caves; or you begin at a sunlit beach and before the level is over, there's a thunderstorm with massive waves, from which you seek shelter in a ruined castle.
Seldom do I use the word beautiful, but it's impossible to express the visuals of Trine 2 with any other word. Trine 2 basically defines a new category of visuals, all for itself. While some games are stylized, and other games are realistic, Trine 2 is beautiful. Colors are so saturated that anything more would be "too much"; depth of the maps is astonishing -- while you focus on what's happening at the front, the background is alive and oftentimes, others in the room will exclaim something like "Look! Back there! Do you see it! Wow!"
As great as the graphics are also the sounds and music. Normally, the music is slower and gentle, but as soon as enemies appear, it quickly changes into a battle mode music, which lasts until the last enemy is slain. Superb are the voice-overs; the heroes are dubbed with great care, while the voices of goblins and other monsters deliver both threat and humor ("Do you think we'll have to fight them?" asks a goblin...)
The game controls are very intuitive thanks to the combination of mouse aiming and keyboard movement.
But the core of every game is its gameplay, and so, the rest of this review will be about how it plays.
Trine 2 plays great and is entertaining from start to finish. Developers are offering well-paced and balanced mix of 3 elements: Exploration, Combat, and Puzzles. The separation of battles by traveling and puzzles makes sure that you will not be battle-fatigued, and also allows the game to regularly catch you off-guard (my wife at least tends to be ambushed almost every single time, as she forgots to switch to the Knight when moving forward). The exploration aspect is, in a way, similar to Half-Life 2, where quite often, you have several paths opening before you, but if you select "the wrong one", you will quickly come to its end, perhaps finding a treasure, and so there's not much backtracking. Plus, it seems that optional sections are intentionally significantly harder, thus signalling "You don't have to go here if you don't feel like it". It makes the rewards at the end ever more rewarding.
Combat has been improved by orders of magnitude from Trine 1 by 3 things:
1. The main fighting force of the enemy, green goblins, are now equipped with spears, which can be thrown or used for stabbing and smashing, so they have ways of attacking you from a distance as well as up close. This solved one of the flaws of original Trine, where players often sniped skeletons from afar without fear of retribution.
2. Ambush system, where enemies are not idly waiting in the map, but rather hide in the background of the level, and jump to the front when the player is well-positioned. This produces enemies all around the player for increased challenge, without being "unfair" (like the teleporting demons in Doom 3 are)
3. Enemy variations, with significantly more enemy types than the original. While the original only had skeletons, spiders and bats, here you will face goblins, trolls, demons, spiders and some more, which I'm not going to spoil.
Puzzles are vastly improved with the addition of fluids and steam. You will find yourself creating irrigation lines, combining steam pipes to fix broken steam systems, and finding counterbalances. But some enemies require puzzle approach as well, simply because they cannot be killed, and must instead be tricked or avoided.
Already during the Beta, many public testers were reporting that puzzles may sometimes be "short-circuited" by using wizard to "self-levitate". In the end, developers decided to leave this option in, so remember, if you're completely stuck on a puzzle and it requires you to get over some obstacle or gap, your last resort is always self-levitation (which is not easy to do, so it won't happen by accident). Hardcore gamers may impose self-regulating limit on themselves to force them to be creative.
As I'm writing this, I'm also looking at the community forums on Steampowered.com, and see a prime example of the creative genius of this game: Players are discussing how to solve certain puzzle at Level 3, and there are already 4 totally different solutions to it listed. How many other games do you know where each puzzle has multiple solutions?
To sum it up -- Trine 2 is an amazing game and is accessible to hardcore as well as casual players. I can recommend it to anyone.… Expand