Trine 2 was originally released on PSN and XBLA back in 2011 and has now found its way onto Nintendo’s newest console under the moniker of Trine 2: Director’s Cut. Along with the new title comes an expansion, a never-before-seen level, and touch controls which take advantage of the Wii U’s tablet screen. Developer Frozenbyte packs a lot of content into this labor of love, but ultimately control issues and a lackluster story hold Trine 2 back from being a memorable journey.
The title continues to follow the story of the original’s three heroes — Zoya, the thief; Amadeus, the wizard; and Pontius, the knight. Each has various, unique abilities which are needed to traverse the treacherous lands and traps that lie ahead. Zoya provides stealth abilities and arrows for long range attacks. Pontius, the bruiser of the group, will hack and slash most enemies to bits. Amadeus can conjure up objects such as boxes or planks that are essential to helping you progress throughout the kingdom.
Initially, you’ll set out on a quest to thwart the goblin menace, but along the way you’ll run into a princess who needs help taking back her castle form the goblin king that’s invaded. As you reach the climax, Trine 2’s story takes an interesting turn. Sadly it’s one that isn’t really explored. When playing Trine 2, I constantly feel like the story is an afterthought, which is a real disappointment considering so much love has been put into the look and feel of the world. The story is by no means bad, but with a little extra TLC Frozenbyte could have provided a satisfying narrative that would’ve better complimented Trine 2’s beautiful world.
What Trine 2 lacks in story, however, it makes up for in production. This is one of the more gorgeous downloadable games I’ve ever seen. Every level is a feast for the eyes. Whether trudging through a swamp, trying to make my way past a giant bullfrog, or sneaking through massive castles filled with alchemy labs, I have frequently paused to take in the beauty of the kingdom that is my playground. The sound design is excellent as well. The music does wonders to add to the storybook feel and sounds of goblin snarls, casting spells and dragon’s breath are all wonderfully executed.
If based on presentation alone Trine 2 would be a must buy. Unfortunately, there are some gameplay elements that can really pull you out of the moment. The most puzzling of these is the jumping mechanic. You’ll be doing a lot of jumping in Trine 2, so it’s frustrating that there is such an issue with being able to consistently control leaps and bounds. It always feels like there is an odd sense of gravity within the world of Trine 2 and often jumps that seem easy prove difficult.
Another area where the game under performs is in its approach to puzzle solving. While you’ll have three characters at your disposable, you’ll use the wizard 75% of the time. His ability to conjure objects is integral to your progression, but conjuring and manipulating these objects can be a real chore. Amadeus has the ability to create a box or a plank that will appear out of thin air. You can do this by either holding down the right bumper and creating a square or a line with the right thumbstick or by drawing the same objects on the gamepad’s touchscreen. The touchscreen, however, is useless because it forces you to take your hand off the controller and drawing shapes with the thumbstick is often to imprecise. These issues aren’t the end of the world, but considering you spend most of your time in Trine 2 conjuring objects, it feels like something that should’ve been given more attention.
The Wii U edition features all six levels of the expansion – The Goblin Menace. For those who finish with the campaign, the expansion offers a nice change of pace, adding more combat to the mix. An exclusive level is also tacked on to the director’s cut and, as mentioned before, touch controls for the Wii U’s controller are on hand as well.
Trine 2: Director’s Cut is a great value. You’ll get about five-10 hours of really good content for around $20. However, its missteps really detract from the experience, particularly if you’re a newcomer to the series. If you liked the original, this is a no brainer, but for others, be warned. Not everyone will fall under Trine 2’s spell.
Trine 2: Director’s Cut is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB for Fantasy Violence. This game can also be found on: PC.