As you might know from my another review, I really enjoyed the first game of the Trine series. After first completing it, I was eager to play through another adventure like this, and when I saw that a sequel had been announced, I was happy. A few years passed, and it was finally released - better than I had expected or even hoped it to be!
Trine 2 is once again set in the magical world of a fairy tale. The three heroes (Pontius the Knight, Amadeus the Wizard, and Zoya the Thief) are gathered by the Trine to save the kingdom, and they all readily step up to the challenges laying ahead. This time you don't face any skeletons - no, the world has changed, and so has the evil. This time your opponents are all kinds of goblins and nasty creatures. Defeating them is perhaps easier in Trine 2 than it was in the first game. The are some mini-bosses (as always in games) and a boss, which is also a bit too easy to beat. Nevertheless, the story is interesting, slightly predictable (just enough to keep you playing), and overall awesome.
What I really enjoyed about this game were the graphics. The title of my review is actually mostly based on the visual part of the game, because other parts were difficult to improve from the prequel (not because they didn't succeed in improving, but because the old ones were just so good). The textures, though sometimes buggy, have improved a lot. The art of the world has been imbued with the possibilities of modern graphic cards and technologies. As a matter of fact, when I tried to max this game out on my laptop, the game started running as low as 14 fps! That was quite surprising (and amazing), because I could not even expect a side-scrolling game to be so demanding on the hardware. Anyway, all sorts of lights have been added to the background, together with different lightning effects, beautiful scenarios, detailed monsters and effects and so on. The new world is truly enjoyable for a fan of the "art" games, instead of super-realistic virtual worlds.
What was a small let-down though, was the really small amount of improvements to the gameplay. I could even say, the amount of things taken away from the Trine. There is no longer a need for mana restore potions - mana has been removed from the game. The same way have been removed the inventory together with magical objects and items. The difficulty of the game has been made VERY much easier - the healing checkpoints are now common enough to never need a healing potion! The puzzles have been made more difficult in my opinion, though - almost every puzzle is now dangerous or even deadly, with the danger ranging from endless falls, flowing acid or lava, many tubes that send fire toward you, and much more. Overall, I would admit that even though the graphics have been improved very much, the actual gameplay has been dumbed down to make it easier (probably a good thing for some players). As a positive side of the changes - the chests that used to containing the magical items now contain beautiful collectible paintings and quite interesting poems that tell the background story of the game.
Of course, how could I forget about the voice acting! The voice actors have stayed the same, and that is a relief to me, as someone who loved the voices in the first game. The feeling of listening to a fairy tale is always present during the monologues/dialogues of the characters and that adds to the awesome story. Not much is said on the loading screens, but the small paragraph is well told that it raises the wish to play on and explore more of the mysterious castles/caves/forests etc.
As my final verdict, I must say that in my probably quite biased opinion, this game is worthy of the word "masterpiece", despite the flaws that it has. The annoying amount of checkpoints, that not once saved me from exiting the game with anger after getting killed in one way or another, might have made the game less challenging, but that was not enough to change my opinion. The new visuals and the story compensated for all the other bad sides that I might have encountered during the gameplay, and therefore I do not even remember them anymore! If you read this and still have not played Trine 2, do it! You should try the first part before, but you may as well skip it if you really (and I mean REALLLLY) want, due to the independence of this game from the prequel. This is a must-play for everyone.