Sunday, November 15, 2009

[REVIEW] Trine

I've been wanting to play this game for a long time, and when it finally hit the PSN last month, I didn't have the $20 to throw down for it (remember, this was during my suspension). I finally got my first real paycheck yesterday, so I stopped by Best Buy, picked up a $20 PSN card and bought the game. I just beat it tonight, and got a good chunk of the trophies, and this game really does strike a chord with my favorite genre of games: 2D side-scrolling adventure (2DSSA).

Truth be told, Trine isn't your traditional 2DSSA. The game is broken down into 15 levels; there is a master map, but it's just an overworld map you see in between each level. Asides from that, you're shooting blanks in the dark at a midget. Quite honestly, as linear as the game is, there really is no need for a map, because you can find your way to the end...just keep heading right.

That doesn't mean the levels are easy. The puzzles have you use each of your characters - the Wizard, Thief and Knight - to solve them, and many puzzles, if not all, require you to switch between them, which is done real-time. The Wizard has his magic, which consists of manipulating items in the world, or the items he creates himself (boxes of various sizes, planks of various lengths, and floating triangles for the Thief to grapple to). The Thief has a bow and grapple hook, which you earn fire arrows later on, and can shoot multiple arrows at a time. The Knight is your powerhouse, wielding his sword, shield, and brute strength; he will get a fire sword and a war hammer later on in the game. Each character does have it's own persona, but there could have been a lot more work into their personalities to further separate them from the group, despite them being fused together into one being with the game's story.

Speaking of which, I'm not too thrilled with the story. Three people are close enough to each other that they miraculously find each other, which they end up touching the Trine, a mysterious artifact that combines their souls into a single being, allowing you to flip-flop between each one when their unique attributes are called for in the game. I won't spoil the story, but it's very lackluster at the end.

I don't feel my $20 was wasted, but at the same time, I feel there could have been a bit more polish, less graphical side, more of collision detection and enemies getting stuck inside of boulders and such. Despite the minute setbacks, Trine is a really good game. Hell, I could even say Trine is the PSN's Shadow Complex, but I can't say that, because SC shits all over Trine, and Trine is supposedly due out later this year on XBLA. It's hard for my recommendation to stick, being that we're in the holiday rush, with Modern Warfare 2 being released last week, and Assassin's Creed II and Left 4 Dead 2 are out in days.


Classic 2D Gameplay I absolutely love this genre, but the overall feel is diminished due to the developer breaking it down into levels rather than a large, expansive overworld, similar to early Metroid games and Shadow Complex.

Subtle RPG Elements I believe it was a wise decision to have the leveling up focus on abilities rather than attributes, simply because of the size of the game. Each character has three main abilities, each with three levels. Each ability does serve it's purpose and is well enough distinct in it's own as not to be confused with any other.

Puzzles Oh good lord, the puzzles. Rather than having a puzzle reserved for each character, each puzzle needs a combination of the three to be solved, be it the Wizard's ability to conjure materials to use, the Thief's grapple hook to scale the puzzles and arrows to dislodge boulders and slice rope, or the Knight's brute strength to move items around.

Treasure Power-Ups Many of the treasures you come across will enhance the character it's assigned to, be it extra health or more energy. 


No Main World This is something that kept urking me in the back of my mind, but it wasn't necessarily a huge upset with me. Each area is given it's own level - totaling 15 - with a good variety. They are given their own...personality of sorts, however, I don't want to use that word, as it's too strong, and yet, each level isn't that great.

Treasures By the end of the game, I had all of the treasures, yet they didn't do too much to enhance the characters, and felt fairly useless.

It goes to say that Trine really is a good game. Metroid, Castlevania, Shadow Complex...if you like any of those series, you probably have already bought Trine, beat it, got the Platinum and probably ignored this very review. If the holiday rush isn't impeding your spending, buy Trine.