Trine 2: Director’s Cut Review
Trine 2: Director’s Cut on Wii U is hands-down the definitive console version of the game…and that was even before this month’s patch that brought additional controller support, the ability to use the gamepad’s built-in mic for voice chat, and improved gamma levels to a game that already looked visually superior to the Xbox 360 and PS3 editions.
Trine 2 is a puzzle platformer in which you control a party of three characters, each with different abilities and specialties: the knight excels at close-range combat and has the ability to charge forward, the thief uses ranged weapons and can swing from certain surfaces with a grapple hook, and the wizard creates boxes – a useful tool for solving puzzles, but mostly worthless in a fight.
Creating boxes with the wizard involves drawing a square on the screen, which was pretty tedious using a thumbstick on a controller. For this reason alone, the Wii U’s touchscreen makes Trine 2: Director’s Cut a much more enjoyable console experience.
Levels are mostly puzzle-based, but combat is occasionally thrown in for a change of pace. The game can be either played solo – switching between characters on the fly – but it’s co-op where the game really shines, having someone to back you up in battles or supply an extra brain during puzzle sections.
Unfortunately, as much as I love the basic concept, the game suffers in the level design department. The combat sections are often set up as surprise attacks, resulting in their often feeling more like an unwanted distraction from the puzzle-solving. On top of that, the combat itself isn’t particularly satisfying.
But then, neither are the puzzles. It appears many of the puzzles have been purposely designed to have multiple solutions – likely in order to make the player feel like they’re improvising – but I found it had the opposite effect on me, as well as fellow A Critical Hit reviewer James when he played it.
Because these puzzles have no particularly obvious solution, I frequently found myself wondering afterwards how I was “supposed” to solve it. Which is to say that I didn’t feel like I had solved it. Instead, it felt like I’d someone broken the puzzle, or cheated my way through it. Without that satisfying “ah-ha!” moment of figuring out the solution, the puzzles never felt rewarding. And don’t even get me started on the timed platforming sections.
On a sidenote: while the patch has added the ability to use the gamepad for voice chat, with the option to either have it always on or “push to talk,” it’s a little unclear what exactly you push in order to talk. It turns out the answer is in the digital manual that most Wii U users forget even exists: hold L+LZ, or click the right thumbstick.
The frustrating part is that I really want to like this game. The visuals are gorgeous, the basic concept is brilliant, and it’s clear that the people at Frozenbyte are very passionate about creating quality game; not only have they make it a point to offer as many controller options as possible on the Wii U, but I’ve been told they’d also eventually like to include Miiverse integration similar to Nintendoland in a future update (though they can’t promise anything yet).
These are people clearly committed to striving to be better, and for that reason I hope Trine 2 does well enough to lead to a sequel. Because I didn’t enjoy this installment, I think they’ll finally nail it with a Trine 3.