It’s Really Good: Trine 2 PC Beta Impressions

I’ve been playing for about a few hours. These are my thoughts.

I can’t add much more to what has already been said for the first Trine’s critical praise, gorgeous visuals, and rather enjoyable puzzles. One could only hope that Frozenbyte wouldn’t succumb to ‘sequelitis,’ but after dabbling a few hours with Frozenbyte’s Trine 2 beta I’ve realized they’ve pretty much struck all the chords of the first and more. Right when I booted up the beta I was immediately surprised at the quality of presentation. Instead of opting for a animated CGI menu screen, Frozenbyte simply sliced a real time playable environment for you to fiddle in because yes, the game looks that damn good. One of Trine 2′s main selling points for me is more or less addition of online co-op that works fantastically so far in the beta.

There’s of course in game voice, text, and the ability to join and create your own private games. When you create your own games you have the choice of selecting Classic or Unlimited. Classic restricts each of the three players to one class and Unlimited allows each player to change to Knight, Wizard, or Thief at anytime. This allows for some crazy possibilities on the puzzle solving side where two wizards can keep each other afloat on boxes simultaneously. It may seem kind of like broken fun, but you can always switch back to Classic mode.

Graphics, Graphics, Graphics.

Although you’re limited to adjusting graphical settings outside of game via launcher, there’s a decent amount of options for hardware enthusiasts out there. Graphical details options range from Very High, High, Medium, Low, and Very Low which all look respectable. However, you’ll want to run this game at least on High to Very High.

Anti-aliasing options range from Off, Medium (FXAA), High (FXAA + 2xSSAA), and Very High (FXAA + 4xSSAA). On a GTX 560 Ti, 8 gigs ram, and i7 2600k 4.5 ghz rig I’ve only been able to attain an average 30 fps on Very High AA, but well over 60 fps on High AA. Since it’s a beta afterall, this type of performance for the most part is better upon final code.

It’s not all just graphical settings though, the lighting in Trine 2 is tremendously improved from how it’s used in combination with the art design. Trine 2 has some of the most colorful and detailed backdrops I’ve ever seen for a 3D side scroller. It takes 2D/2D parallax planes to a different level because even the planes distant in the background seemingly have just as much detail that’s brought forth in plane that you’re playing on. When in motion, it all comes together in a fountain of gushing awesomeness.

Oh and the gameplay, yeah it’s good, too.

One of my gripes in the original Trine was the wizard’s limited mana that was often used up lifting boxes or planks. The Wizard had to wait for their bar to regen or find pots to refill it. It was easier to say ‘oh well I’ll use the Knight or Theif for this instead.’ However, in Trine 2 lifting boxes and conjuring boxes don’t affect your mana! That’s good! This left me the opportunity to at least experiment more with more ad-hoc methods of puzzle solving aside from the straight forward mix and match approach.

Take the screenshot above for example. See, there was a giant snail on the right drinking water, so using the wizard’s ability to levitate objects you’ll have to redirect that water (depriving the poor snail of H2O) to a seedling that can grow large enough to jump on so that you can…. yeah, you’ll be doing a lot of this stuff. This is just one of the fairly straight forward puzzles, but the type of puzzles you’ll be scratching your head on will be against the larger enemy types such as the one of the first mini bosses. It took me a couple of minutes until I took hint of the environment. The serpent ended up being his own worst enemy, not to draw any spoilers out for you.

Experience seems to be put to use in more effective ways in powering up the abilities of Knight, Wizard, or Thief. More points down each characters skill tree means that you’ll be driven to solve puzzles in more creative ways. For instance, by using wizard’s augmented ability to conjure four boxes instead of one or two you can traverse your way up via box rather than use the Thief’s grappling hook. Since there’s only two levels of the beta to level up from, I’ve only seen a few other abilities another being the frost arrow for the Thief. All of these abilities you gain solo seem to show up in the multiplayer games, however it is beta.

I’d like to talk more about the online co-op side of things, but there are so few players out right now in the beta that it’ll have to wait until the game launches later in December on Steam. The first two levels are a bit too easy and short, but developers say it’s basically a tutorial. The difference between the sequel and the first game is instead of more levels, the levels will be longer. I’m definitely looking forward to it. In the meantime I’ll be grinding some experience points since progress made in the beta is said to carry over to the full game when it releases according to developers on the Frozenbyte forums.

Pre-Order yourself into the beta – http://store.steampowered.com/app/35720/

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