Throughout this generation of consoles, we’ve seen numerous indie developers create games that offer unique experiences from those that are already on the market. In 2009, indie developer Frozenbyte released a side-scrolling puzzle-platformer that incorporated in-depth physics called Trine. The game received a solid amount of positive feedback, with the exception that it lacked an online co-op mode and forced those wanting to play together local only. In December of 2011, Frozenbyte released the sequel to their puzzle-platformer, Trine 2. Taking the elements of the first game, while expanding upon them in practically every department, Trine 2 was the improvement many fans of the first game appreciated. Now, with any new hardware comes the opportunity for developers to provide enhanced versions of their previously released games. Last year, we saw Trine 2: Director’s Cut hit the Wii U. This year, Frozenbyte decided to bring the Wii U’s edition to the PS4, with all the bonus content they added there. However, did Trine 2: Complete Story translate as well to the PS4 as it did the Wii U with Director’s Cut?
Trine 2 follows the events of the first game, in which we find the wizard Amadeus waking up in his home to see a glowing light piercing through his room. After going after the light, Amadeus then realizes that it is the Trine, which reunites him with Pontius (the Knight) and Zoya (the Thief). The Trine brings the heroes together once again as they’re help is needed to restore the kingdom. Along the way, the heroes will run into Rosabel, the Princess of the kingdom, and aid her with vanquishing all the evil in the land. The story is told as if someone were narrating a fairy tale, while there is some banter amongst the characters and some storybook sequences to watch. Additionally, there are poems and letters that can be found in levels that provide a bit more background to the story being told. It’s a charming story and one that evolves as you progress deeper into the game.
There are a number of elements that Trine 2: Complete Story truly achieves. Let’s start with the gameplay. As mentioned earlier, Trine 2 is a side-scrolling, puzzle-platformer that relies heavily on physics. You’ll take control of Amadeus, Pontius and Zoya, as each one of them will excel in a variety of situations. Amadeus can conjure up mechanical blocks and planks to help the heroes traverse through the environment. He can also interact with the objects within the environment to help solve certain puzzles or further help the heroes navigate ahead. However, when it comes to battling goblins or other creatures, the wizard doesn’t quite excel here. Pontius is a all-out offense character. When it comes to combat, Pontius can clear out waves of creatures standing in the heroes’ way, whether with his trusty sword and shield or with his hammer. He can also utilize his shield to press forward through areas that have projectiles blocking your path. Zoya is more the all-range character. Her combat is more long-distance, resorting to her utilizing the bow and arrow. One of her neatest qualities is traversing with the grappling hook. You’ll be able to attach the grappling hook to any wooden object or ceiling and either climb, descend or swing your way across. As a puzzle-platformer, Trine 2 doesn’t offer a strict design in terms of solutions. There’s always a solution to an environmental puzzle, whether it’s the way the developers intended or more creative methods by the player. It’s an interesting execution, as it doesn’t restrict players from thinking a bit “outside the box” and being creative on how to advance through the levels.
Progressing through the environments, you’ll find blue experience jars that can be collected, some more difficult to nab than others. Every 50 experience points you get will grant you a Skill Point. Pressing the Minus Button, you’ll open up the Skill Tree, in which you’ll be able to distribute points amongst the three heroes. Amadeus can upgrade his conjuring ability to create up to four blocks at once, or even imprison goblins in battle. Pontius can upgrade his sword to have fire surround it for more damage, make his shield magnetic and also throw his hammer across the screen. Zoya will be able to upgrade her arrow types such as ice and explosion, while also getting a stealth ability. If, for any reason, you’re not crazy about the way you upgraded the heroes, you can reset the skill points and respec your characters. In Complete Story, each of the heroes have received an extra exclusive ability to upgrade them to. Amadeus can conjure magnetic objects to stick to each other, Pontius can use his shield to glide across chasms, and Zoya can shoot low-gravity arrows that create a field that slows everything down. Each of the heroes’ new abilities are certainly welcome additions and actually add a new element of play to the game.
On the Wii U, Frozenbyte took advantage of utilizing the system’s GamePad functionality. With the PS4, they transferred a part of the experience by using the DualShock 4‘s touch-pad. Drawing your finger on the touch-pad, you will be able to aim projectiles and create objects with ease. While it may not feel as natural as the Wii U’s GamePad since you could actually touch where on the actual screen to make actions happen, the touch-pad works really well also.
Trine 2: Complete Story contains not only the 13 levels from the original campaign, but all the content from the Wii U’s “Director’s Cut”. This includes the six levels from the PC-exclusive “Goblin Menace” DLC, as well as the exclusive level that was only available on the Wii U. Once you complete the main campaign, you’ll go right into the Goblin Menace stages. The story continues with Amadeus’s wife being kidnapped from goblins and the heroes are under attack in the kingdom. From here, our heroes continue their quest, but to much more extravagant locales. They’ll venture through the scorching desert, floating islands, and even the insides of a beast. Personally, the stages incorporated here actually seemed to stand out a bit more than the original campaign’s. That’s not to say the original 13 levels were of lesser quality by any means, but the Goblin Menace stages were slightly more memorable. Additionally, you’ll have to find map pieces hidden in each of the Goblin Menace levels to unlock the 20th and final new level, the Dwarven Caverns. This stage serves as more of an epilogue to the two campaigns included and is a nice addition.
Throughout the game, you’ll encounter a few boss battles, which tend to get a bit intense. The bosses in this game will kill you…instantly, if you’re not quick on your feet. You normally can’t approach a boss head-on, swinging your sword like crazy and hope to win. This is a good thing, as a boss should always entail a challenge. While Trine 2’s boss aren’t “insanely” difficult, they maintain a solid challenge that will test your skills. The final boss battles in both the main campaign and Goblin Menace aren’t as difficult as the main bosses due to not being able to die instantly from them, but they’re still challenging battles that feel climatic.
Upon beating the game, you’ll unlock a few extra features to tinker around with. For starters, you’ll unlock “Hardcore Mode”, which only allows your characters to respawn when you reach a checkpoint once. Also, it removes any mid-level saving. If all your heroes fall, it’s back to the very beginning of the level. This is more for the old-school gaming fan and those really looking to test your skills. You can also now make the Player Selection “Unlimited” so that when you play online with other people, you’re not restricted to a character that’s not in play. Speaking of the online, I’m pleased to state that the game ran smooth as butter, with not an ounce of lag. Playing the game online with a friend or two is definitely the way to go, as chances are you’ll get even more enjoyment out of the game helping each other…or laughing at each other’s mistakes. The trophy set is also much more extensive than the original’s release on PS3, offering 51 trophies now (Platinum is still included).
When it comes to the visual and audio presentation of Trine 2: Complete Story, it’s simply a spectacle. Visually, Trine 2 is absolutely beautiful, full of color, lush detail and incredibly rich texture work. This is one of those games where your jaw will hit the ground when you see how stunning the environments look. It did so when we saw the original release, it furthered that on the Wii U, and I can happily state that it continues to do so on the PS4. The visuals are in full 1080p like the Wii U edition but the enhancement here is that it runs at a smooth 60 fps. The incredibly silky smooth framerate was what really stood out the most for my experience in Trine 2: Complete Story. Ari Pulkkinen (whom is known for his exceptional soundtracks for “OutLand” and “Dead Nation”, as well as the original “Trine”) is brought on board once again to provide another great soundtrack. Whether you’re exploring the lush jungles, scorching desert, or combating enemies, each track fits perfectly in the game. Some tracks are heroic, some charming, some more engaging, and they all blend to provide a soundtrack that nails the game’s atmosphere. The voice acting is decent as well, with the game having that fairy tale feel to it. None of the characters sound “too” serious, but they don’t sound mundane either. It’s that fine line of solid voice acting for the game it’s intended to be. Sound effects are also very effective. Whether you’re hearing the environmental ambiance, the exploding arrows hitting against an enemy, the fire sword swinging away, or even the audio muffling a bit when going underwater, the attention to detail is here.
Frozenbyte really won me over with Trine 2: Director’s Cut last year and the same remains with Complete Story. Players whom only played the original PS3 release would do very well to double-dip into Complete Story, as the Goblin Menace DLC actually surpasses the core campaign. With it’s charming story, jaw-dropping visuals, great audio, impressive physics and unique gameplay, Trine 2: Complete Story is a game that any PS4 owner can really dig into. It may be one of the pricier indie-based games available on the PSN at the moment ($19.99), but it’s well worth every penny and highly recommend it for platforming fans.
Overall Score: 8.5 out of 10 = BUY IT!
A special thank you to Frozenbyte for providing us the review copies for “Trine 2: Complete Story”! Copy tested on the PS4.
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