Trine – The PS3 Attitude Preview
Trine is an unique game heading to the PSN later this year. With innovative physics-based gameplay, an intriguing story and melancholy soundtrack, there is a justified amount of interest in the game from many corners of the gaming world.
We recently had some time with the PC version of the game and came away impressed.
With the PSN being bolstered weekly with new, quirky and sometimes downright daft games, the question is whether Trine warrants a purchase, based on what we have seen so far?
Trine takes place in a world where the lack of a King has left a power vacuum. Subsequent monarchs have been short-lived and an evil power has taken hold of the land,Â re-animating the corpses of the fallen.
In step our adventurers to unwittingly take up the fight.
Trine sets you in control of three unique characters, each with their own abilities and specialities. To traverse the various levels you have to combine the skills of these three through branching paths and complex puzzles.
Zoya the Thief is the first character you play as, initially out to steal a great treasure from a forgotten shrine. Using your grapple and bow, you get to grips with the controls quickly. As with all the classic games, the controls are very simple but implemented fantastically well.
Once you reach the treasure, the story shifts to the perspective of the Knight, Pontius. Well, we say ‘Knight’, but this isn’t strictly true. He desperately wants to be a Knight and sees the undead as the ultimate test of his mettle. He is a man of simple pleasures; things like a sword and shield give him great satisfaction when he is throwing them about. Particularly when there is an enemy on the receiving end. He is in the castle in search of enemies when he stumbles across the shrine. Upon touching the treasure, the story jumps once more.
Amadeus the Wizard is the third character you control in this introductory sequence, and wakes up already in the castle. It turns out that the castle is in fact an ancient academy. In the better days, the best of the wizard graduates would take up posts around the land. Unfortunately, Amadeus is not a good wizard.
What bothers him more, however, is his inept approach to women. He ought to know a spell for a fireball by now but he has not found time for the necessary study as yet. Instead he has to make do with telekinesis and object generation. This is perhaps the most interesting aspect of the game.
The wizard can create objects out of nothing – a handy trick! This is achieved by ‘drawing’ the outline of the object. The cube generated is a fixed size no matter how large the outline, which is actually a relief – imagine unwittingly squashing your character with an oversized cube!
Once he reaches the shrine, the three characters are bound together, and you can finally interchange between any of the three at will. This is essential for progressing through the subsequent levels, as the wizard is pretty naff at fighting, whilst the knight can’t swim.
The puzzles in the earlier levels are very simple – put an object on this button, go there. Cut this rope, go through here. However we think it’s safe to say that the puzzles will get pretty devious as the game progresses, particularly if you play the game co-operatively (oh yes!).
With upgradeable abilities for the characters also possible through the collection of green vials, there exists huge potential for more and more diverse level design. We can only assume that the devs have implemented this well, with rewards for only the most diligent of explorers.
The health and magic bars which are constantly viewable are locked to each character, so if one is weak or – heaven forbid – dead, you can change to another character quickly and continue on the quest. Checkpoints are well positioned in that any fallen comrades are revived when you pass the checkpoint and are ready to join the fray once more.
The only minor flaw that we found in our play through was that is was very easy to see generating enemies, which seem to always come from the same patch of ground. This meant that there was little in the way of fighting – more just swatting air as the demons materialized.
It is worth saying that this could simply be an aspect of the earlier levels designed specifically to curb difficulty early on.
The PC version of the demo was certainly plenty to get our teeth into and has left us wanting more. The unusual look of the game – combined with an intriguing story and differing character strengths and weaknesses – has left a substantial impact on us.
In all honesty, Trine looks stunning. The game marks the glorious return of the 2D platformer, and we couldn’t be happier. At $20 it might be a bit on the steep side, so we shall have to wait and see what the full game brings.