Trine 2 – Preview
Trine 2 is the continuation of the magnificent side-scrolling puzzle platform adventure game named Trine. This game is one of the best games that you’ll see this year for the linux platform, and it surely is one of the most unforgetable stories that you’ll “witness” in front of your computer screen. Thanks to the kind people at Frozenbyte, I had the chance to play and evaluate a “beta” linux version of the game this week, so note that some technical problems or unpleasing details mentioned on this article, will not be present on the final version hopefully.
The installation of applications on linux is usually either a headache, or a walk in the park. For Trine 2 it is something in the middle. What I didn’t like is that the installer doesn’t offer any kind of graphical user interface which would make things simple and easy for the linux noobies. What I did like is that the terminal-based installer is very straight forward, very informative and when I used it on 64-bit OS, it detected my distro and offered to download and install the 32-bit packages needed using the proper commands automatically. I suppose that there will be a gui-based installer on the final version of the game, but it won’t be a very bad thing if it stays as it is.
In Trine 2 you control three characters. Amadeus the Wizard, Pontius the Knight and Zoya the Thief. These three characters have different kind of special abilities that you can use to overcome some puzzle based obstacles, or kill enemies that block your way. For example Amadeus can make blocks and platforms appear out of thin air, Pontius can blast the enemies with his sword and hammer, and Zoya can kill from distance using her bow, or get away with the grappling hook. You can alternate freely between the three characters which are actually one entity, except for when one of them dies. In that case you can gain the character back and in full health on the next checkpoint. Most of the obstacles can be overcomed by more than one way leaving room for thought and imagination to the player, as well as some forgivingness in the case that one of the three characters is dead.
If all three characters die, you return back to the last checkpoint. Since there are more than enough checkpoints on every map, I would say that this makes the game very easy and there is virtually no way you’ll get stuck in a map forever. Even if you can’t figure out how to overcome a puzzle based obstacle, there is a hint that shows up after 2 or 5 minutes. A leveling system is also available for the three characters. Many magical vials are present in every map – usually on not so easily accesible areas. Every time you collect 50 of those you gain one experience point which you can use to upgrade an existing ability, or to unlock a new one for one of the three characters. I consider the amazing physics of the game to be the gameplay highlight.
There is a menu item for multiplayer which provides you with options like “quick game”, “host”, “join an existing game” etc, but I didn’t find any available games. I think maybe my closed linux beta version doesn’t offer the cross-platform multiplayer capabilities yet, or my version is incompatible with the version available right now on the other platforms. What I don’t want to believe is that the empty multiplayer lobbies that I saw, is a result of the very few players playing this game on co-op mode. I really hope that is not the case because of the reasons sawn in the following video.
Trine comes back and reunites the three characters sending them on a new adventure for which they don’t have the slightest clue. The rest is for you to discover…
Graphics and Design
The graphics of Trine 2 is one of its strongest elements and what makes it unique among platform games. Really beautiful and advanced visuals that will make every little in-game moment very pleasing for the gamers eyes. Although the gameplay takes place on a 2D environment, the game is essentially 3D. The depth on the backround on every map will make your mind forget about the two dimensions and sometimes you may even try to reach things that are in the backround in a very possitive mind confusion. Attention to design detail is evident everywhere, making Trine 2 the best puzzle platform game on this sector.
Nothing comes without consequencies though, and in Trine’s case it is the hardware requirements of course. I tested Trine 2 on a machine that meets the minimum requirements of 1GB RAM, 2GHz CPU and a graphics card that supports shader model 3 and the game was not playable even when I set the graphics to very low. I then tested and extensively played the game on a machine with 2GB of RAM and a better graphics card and still, I can’t say that the game runs perfectly smooth but it was playable just fine. I didn’t even bother to check running the game with the open-source drivers. Maybe this is something that has to do with the “beta” version that I run, so I hope that there will be performance improvements on the final version of Trine 2.
The music, sounds and narration couldn’t be the dissonance of Trine 2. Mr Pulkinnen did a magnificent job, dressing this unforgetable adventure with atmospheric and somewhat “catchy” music. Every map has different music according to its theme, and there are many points and events that trigger “special” musical pieces. Fantastic!
Trine 2 is one of the best and most unforgettable games you’ll ever play. It is really more of a piece of art than a game. Magnificent in every aspect, we are very lucky that Frozenbyte decided to finally release this game for the linux platform. It costs 14.99$ and it really worths every penny. If you are a linux user/gamer, don’t even think about not buying this game. From the moment that you will start playing Trine 2, you will be breathless with the tons of atmosphere that Frozenbyte developers provided this game with. Even if you are not a gamer, buy this game for your kids to play. I can’t even imagine what a magical experience playing Trine 2 will be for the children. Enter the mysterious and magical world of Trine 2 now!