Trine 2

Trine 2
Trine 2 Cover
Platforms Windows, OSX, Linux, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Genre Cooperatively puzzling
Score Clock score of 9
Buy from Amazon

Growing up, playing a game cooperatively usually meant sitting down with a friend in front of my NES playing Contra, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers. The game was either made easier with a second player (twice as many bullets!), or twice as hard (fellow chipmunks can be used as weapons!). But as games have evolved from the living room to the internet, cooperative play has changed too.

Portal 2 was designed with two campaigns in mind, one for the single player and the other for multiplayer, specifically a cooperative experience with no traditional way to communicate available. Both sets of levels were brilliant in their own right, and excelled in creating a unique undertaking. On the other hand, the original Trine was made for local gaming only. Friends gathered in front of the TV or monitor and lead the trio of heroes on their adventure.

Trine 2 introduces online co-op for up to three gamers, fixes many complaints from the first game, and features some of the most gorgeous graphics I've ever seen in a video game. I finally got to tax my video card. Steve and I played through the entire game together online without voice communication, here are our thoughts.

Steve

Trine 2 multiplayer is extremely fun. It's not as clean or brain-wracking of an experience as Portal 2, yet it doesn't try to be. As a physics-based team platformer, your team can creatively brute-force many solutions in various ways. With a semi-branching experience-based ability system, you can customize your playthrough to best suit your own personal combat and puzzling styles. For example, take a simple scenario. Your team encounters a large wall you can't quite get over with a single box. In Trine 2, you can solve this a number of ways. You could unlock a second box summon and stack them. You could stack a nearby object, if there is one. You could stack a frozen enemy, if you unlocked frozen shot. You could unlock the plank summon to wedge between the box and wall. You could have Pontius balance a box on his shield and jump off that. Or if the wall has a surface you can grab, you could abuse momentum to swing up with Zoya. A game with so many options can become chaotic, yet remains very fun. With your group messing around (see: us), it could take a bit to complete puzzles while everyone tries several things. With a focused team who knows what they're doing and/or are properly communicating, the experience can be very clean. Either way, the game is enjoyable regardless and easily one of the best co-op action platformers currently out there.

And unarguably, Trine 2 is one of the best looking games ever, if not the very best at this time. The original was already visually spectacular, both in technical feats and amount of detail. Yet all of its accomplishments are compounded in this sequel. Again, the backgrounds are filled with so much detail that no one could possibly take it all in by playing normally through the game. This is a true labor of love from the art team, and I certainly hope it's paying off for them. The engine itself runs flawlessly and can easily tax even the best graphics cards on advanced settings. It supports higher framerates without a hitch (despite needing a small config file change to hit 120fps) and contains absurdly comprehensive 3d support at this time. Which, by the way, encapsulates very possibly the best 3d gaming experience yet.

Trine 2 offers nothing to be disappointed by. Every update from the original has been for the best. While Amadeus could single-handedly break Trine 1, the stage is now a more fair as both Zoya and Pontius have received extremely useful (and fun) new abilities. Stages and enemies are more varied, collecting offers more of a purpose as you need all the experience to max your characters, and everything great in the original returned even better. Super-quick loading especially is a welcome contrast against say, Source loading in Portal 2, which was painful to say the least. Trine 2 levels load in under 5 seconds on a disk drive, strongly implying a properly implemented progressive loading system. While playing multiplayer in particular, minimizing load times is a huge deal and their work on that is also appreciated.

All in all, no complaints and very well worth the asking price, multiplayer or not. Certainly not many games can match this truly cooperative prowess.

And never forget: Rock Me Amadeus.

Trine 2 Amadeus Opening

Greg

I also loved the Trine 2 experience, and clocking in at only around 5 hours, makes for a sweet cooperative venture that only needs to span a few sessions (having two kids, it can sometimes be difficulty to find a time that matched up with Steve, but we played whenever we could). I have personally not played Trine 1, but this game still felt like a great jumping off point. It's the same band of characters from the first game, but beyond the trio "going on an adventure before", you honestly don't need to know anything. There's a wizard, a knight, and a thief, now go.

I don't have a lot to say beyond what Steve has already written (that's why I let him go first), but this is a really fun game. The physics platforming with multiplayer is pretty insane at times, but let's you devise some crazy solutions to most of the puzzles. The problem with physics based puzzles is that you will often times be lead down a path that seems viable in your head, but in the game's engine is simply impossible. Quite a few times in Trine 2 it seems like you should be able to jump across that gap, but it's just a few pixels too far and stacking blocks all the way to the ceiling wasn't the right solution.

But we were never stuck on any puzzles for too long (except one that required us to escape from a jail cell and "hide" from the guard, ridiculous requirements if you ask me), and the game moves along briskly. The simple talent trees let you easily add or reset skills to try different attacks and magic out, and switching between characters is a breeze (unless you're playing with three people, then it gets interesting). And once you figure out the tricks to the wizard's magic drawing, creating boxes and planks becomes secondhand.

Online play is seamless, and probably the ideal way to play Trine 2 second only to being in the same room together. I imagine that playing this game single player would be sort of a bore, maybe not, but trying to cooperate and compete with friends is a joy in the world of Trine. The characters could be better balanced though, I know Steve mentions it's improved, so maybe it was really bad in the first Trine. The wizard is basically the guy to be at any time, the thief and warrior just feel along for the ride at times.

Greg's Score: 8

Brilliantly fun, near perfectly executed multiplayer experience, Trine 2 is well worth a visit.

Please enjoy this small gallery of screenshots Steve grabbed that exhibit some of the best graphics in the industry.

Trine 2 Beach Amadeus Zoya Trine 2 Frog Pontius Zoya Trine 2 Green Teleporter
Trine 2 Mirror on the Wall Trine 2 Princess Portrait Zoya Pontius Trine 2 Rain Castle Spire Zoya Pontius
Trine 2 Sunset Cliffs Amadeus Pontius Trine 2 Tentacle Sewer Zoya Pontius Trine 2 Throne Room Zoya Pontius

Comments

Sounds great

I played the first Trine and enjoyed it well enough. It's like you said, the puzzle design was very open-ended thanks to the loose physics engine, and it was fun to experiment with the characters (I mostly stuck with the thief, I'm a sucker for grappling hooks). Co-op seems like it would be a bit hectic, but that probably just makes it more fun.

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