Review: Trine 2: Director’s Cut (Wii U)
Originally released back in 2011, Finnish developer Frozenbyte’s side-scrolling action platforming/puzzle game has been given new lease on life in the form of Trine 2: Director’s Cut.
An enhanced version of the original, the Wii U version packs in the previously PC only expansive Trine 2: Goblin Menace and an exclusive level, “Dwarven Caverns”, not to mention taking advantage of the Wii U’s GamePad controller and graphical horsepower.
While Australian’s have had to wait two months to get their hands on the game, it was certainly worth the wait. Find out what we think about one of the Wii U’s finest eShop titles.
Trine 2: Director’s Cut is a wonderful blend of side-scrolling action/platforming, fantasy storytelling and complex, clever puzzle designs. Arguably, it’s quite possibly one of the best titles available on the Nintendo Wii U, compared to other digital and retail titles.
If you’re unfamiliar with the premise, here’s a quick overview. Trine 2: Director’s Cut follows the exploits of three heroes, Amadeus the wizard, Zoya the thief, and Pontius the knight. Together they travel across a magical kingdom, from an enchanted forest, to a magical cave and a water-soaked castle, in order to save it from a dark presence, all while guided by the all-powerful Trine.
The story here isn’t anything to write home about. By and large it’s a relatively simple tale that feels like it’s purely there to provide the game’s action and puzzles context. In no way does this impact, or hinder, your enjoyment. If anything, it pushes Trine 2‘s clever game design further by having you pay more close attention to the gameplay, rather than getting easily distracted by the narrative.
That said, the interplay between the three characters is charming. Over the course of the game I came to connect with each of them, thanks to their brilliantly written dialogue, with each line serving as a character building device. I’m prepared to assume gamers who are picking up Trine 2: Director’s Cut for Wii U haven’t played the 2009 original, so for them to be easy to “get to know” is an important for player accessibly.
Having three heroes as the stars of the game, means having three playable characters. Trine 2: Director’s Cut can be either a single or multiplayer experience. Arguably the game is designed to have three players all the time, though it’s entirely possible for you to clear it just by yourself. On the multiplayer front you can choose either local or online co-op. Almost every compatible Wii controller can be used for local, now including Wii U Pro Controller, and all you need to do is power on a second controller and press start for drop in/out co-op.
Online is a little more interesting. You can either join or host a game – the former will see you dropped into any random level, regardless of how far your personal progress is. You can also invite friends along too, which I certainly recommend. Trine 2: Director’s Cut requires a fair deal of communication when playing with others in order to clear some of the more trickier puzzles. Luckily, Aussie’s are getting the game fresh with voice-chat support, so you can easily talk to your fellow players at anytime.
For the sake of argument, my analysis of the gameplay is from a single player experience since I played the bulk of the game that way.
Despite having three playable characters, you can only ever control one at a time. You can however, switch between them at anytime. Each character brings their own strength, meaning you could never just play as one character, and as a whole they each make up a singular unit.
Amadeus is useful in solving puzzles since his magic allows you to create helpful items and manipulate environmental objects. He lacks any sort of “offensive”, though through spending skill points you can use his magic to pick up and trap enemies. Zoya uses her grapple to attach to wooden objects and zip around, meaning she’s the ideal choice in moving around the game-world. She also is able to shoot arrows, meaning she’s perfect for long-range offence. Finally, Pontius is the “tank” of the group and with either hammer or sword is capable of mowing down enemies. His hammer also allows you to break through crumbling stone, revealing either a way forward or a secret.
Hopefully from seeing each characters abilities you can understand how each character works in comparison to the other two, and they all rely on one another. Trine 2: Director’s Cut features a light RPG progression mechanic, where collected orbs adds to your overall experience level, granting you the aforementioned skill points. Design wise all the different abilities of the characters all mesh well, and when set against the design of the games puzzles, makes for a truly rewarding experience.
Puzzles range from overly simple “how to get across”, to more complex ones that involve using every single characters unique strengths. Playing solo this is certainly tricky, and I admittedly had more than my share of “rage quit” moments. Yet, even in those moments did I feel cheated by the game. Quite simply it all boiled down to how I couldn’t solve the problem rather than it being a slopingly designed.
Of course, playing with another two friends would see you easily overcoming most puzzles, but a different challenge arises in that all three need to work together. So no matter what, the game’s design will continually challenge you. And that’s what you want from a video game. While it’s nice to sit back and relax, you also want to be pushed, challenged and use those brain cells. Trine 2: Director’s Cut is certainly one of those games that will do that.
If you’ve heard rumblings over Miiverse, or even across internet forums, about how Trine 2: Director’s Cut is one of the sexiest looking games on Wii U, well… you heard right. Even though the game is essentially a glorified 2D side-scroller, visually it’s more impressive than some of the fully 3D games from the last twelve months. The entire game itself is actually modelled in 3D, with what does look like some pre-rendered backdrops, and aesthetically gorgeous.
A benefit of the Nintendo’s more open policy with indie developers means Trine 2: Director’s Cut benefits from the PC/Mac visual updates, something the other console releases missed out. This means the Wii U version is visually the best version available, and thanks to the console’s added horsepower everything almost pops out of the screen. Colours are vivid and lively, whereas the entire game-world itself tethers with such rich life.
The entire game can be played on the Wii U GamePad, though sadly the bright, sharp resolution displayed on your TV drops down in quality on the controller’s screen. It’s perhaps unavoidable, though has me conclude that really, this game doesn’t make fantastic use of the console’s unique features. While Frozenbyte have implemented touchscreen controls, and the aforementioned Off-TV play, I don’t think it’s really enough to say the team fully utilised everything available to them.
If you’re going to take that as a negative, I’d be quick to point out that despite this Trine 2: Director’s Cut includes a wealth of additional, and exclusive, content. Aside from the reasonably meaty expansion em>Trine 2: Goblin Menace, which adds new complex puzzles, Frozenbyte also developed an all-new level for Wii U – “Dwarven Caverns”. This reason alone possibly makes the Wii U version the most desired version for fans to own.
While the game’s story is run-of-the-mill fantasy, the three playable characters and their charming interplay brings a lightheartedness to the experience. This, combined with a whole stack of additional content, a strong visual presence and some incredibly challenging and rewarding gameplay sees Trine 2: Director’s Cut worthy of standing aside other Wii U heavyweight titles such as New Super Mario Bros. U and Mass Effect 3: Special Edition.