Time for another find-me-do
Time for another find-me-do
A proper JRPG no more, but no less either.
There is beauty to be found in this beast, and you dont have to look hard to find it.
Ain't no party like a WiiU party
It's cutesy and colourful; proper blue-skies stuff.
DDevil about Rocket Knight
So, anyone here who has had the pleasure of playing Trine 2 in its various forms seems to love it. You can see the AATG reviews of the original multiplatform title on PC here and the Goblin Menace expansion for PC here. Now we present the review of Trine 2: Director's Cut for Wii U, the first time that the expansion has made it to home consoles, along with an exclusive level for the Wii U to call its very own, The Dwarven Caverns. It's currently on a discount until the end of December so this seems like a good time to chuck a review up.
To recap, then. Trine 2 is a physics-heavy action/platform/puzzler with a fairly unique mechanic of allowing you to switch your character between a wizard, thief and knight to perform different abilities. Each character has an ability tree which you can level up as the game progresses, although don't expect to fill them on the first playthrough, there is plenty of room for 'new game plus' baked in.
The wizard is your main puzzle solver, he can conjure boxes and other items, as well as manipulate certain items in the game; however his offensive capabilities are essentially limited to using these abilities to take advantage of the natural dangers in the game. Suffice to say that opportunities are rare, and generally speaking you will be swiftly switching away from him as soon as danger reveals itself.
The thief can grapple and swing from wooden surfaces, and also has a reasonably handy bow, so staying out of harms way and picking things off from distance is the common tactic here. Various upgrades make the arrows more useful as the game progresses.
Finally, the Knight posses a shield which can defend from all but large boss attacks, redirect the various liquid, projectile and fire devices in the game, and even something else rather nifty much later on. In addition to this, a sword and hammer provide much of the offensive and even scenery destructive capabilities in the game itself.
Death of any one character isn't too bad as long as you can make it to wherever the next generally sprinkled checkpoint is, and even if you lose all three heroes, resuming from the previous checkpoint with whatever enemies or boss at the health level you left him at is a pleasant means of stopping the combat becoming frustrating.
Now, the meat - how this game works with the Wii U GamePad (hereon in shortened to gamepad). Series veterans will be familiar with the controls. PC allowed for keyboard/mouse or joypad play, but neither was quite right; keyboard controls can be a little unwieldy for a platformer such as this, but on the other hand, the freedom offered by the mouse for performing some of the wizards conjuring actions is the kind of thing that the mouse excels at and the equivalent pad mechanics get old quite quickly.
With the gamepad, we have pretty much the best of both worlds. The analogue sticks control movement as well as directionality of ranged weapons. However, with the touch screen we can also aim ranged weapons, grapples, as well as quickly drawing boxes and manipulating items with magic. The balance of which you use is really up to you but I found myself aiming with the sticks, drawing boxes and chucking around objects on the touchscreen, but occasionally doing finer item movement control on the stick. There are also touchscreen icons for switching character and weapon if you prefer not to remember too many face buttons.
In practice, the control layout is excellent. The fluidity of pairing a touchscreen with real buttons and sticks offers the least resistance to achieving your puzzle solutions, and doesn't get in the way in the heat of battle. I was even able to rush some puzzles with solutions that I'm pretty certain would be impossible with just the pad or with K/M controls, but just felt the most natural way with the combined abilities. Screen prompts are even screen specific, with buttons displayed on the TV, and touch control prompts on the gamepad.
Graphically, the world is simply delicious, with wonderful lighting, animation and a vibrance to the world that is simply unmatched on something you hold in your hands. It looks very nice on the TV screen too, with the Wii U offering an experience comparable to the PC - with some extra effects over and above what the PS3/360 editions put out.
The game is fully playable in co-op as well, although not on your new Pro Controller just yet, as Frozenbyte is also working on an update that will be released in December that features support for the Pro Controller, voice chat in multiplayer, new languages, and a little bit of what they refer to as "visual vividness" to the game's graphics; hopefully in time for a new game plus runthrough, which I'll definitely be doing.
My play time reads 15 hours in the console's built-in log, and I didn't really hang around to check out some of the more well hidden secrets, so the value speaks for itself; I still have to play through the Goblin Menace levels again to find the treasure chests I missed to unlock the exclusive chapter. If it was a PS2-era game, I'm sure we'd be happily paying £30 for a copy on DVD. Given that we've already awarded the previous titles full marks, and that the improvements in this edition work well across the board, then for anyone new to the game, it's absolutely essential. If you've played it before... well you might just want to give it another runthrough with a slicker control scheme.
FIVE FUCKIN STARS