Frozenbyte's awesome physics-puzzler co-op platformer, Trine 2, is available for the PS4 via the PSN. Trine 2 Complete Story for the PS4 keeps the core gameplay, but adds some ancillary features that make it an easy choice for newcomers, and a tempting one for those that have the game on other platforms.
This actually makes the third time that Digital Chumps has reviewed this game, first with Eric's review about two years ago, then my take on the Wii U version almost a one year ago. To be sure, the PS4 release is indeed the most complete and feature rich. Contents include of course Trine 2, the Goblin Menace expansion, and the Dwarven Caverns additional playable level, only unlockable by finding ten hidden pieces of a map scattered about the Goblin Menace levels. Goblin Menace, while originally an expansion pack, is integrated seamlessly here, meaning that your purchased upgrades from the main story will transition over.
3D Stereoscopic video is supported to, although I'm kicking myself for not being able to test this as I loaned my Sony 24" 3D screen to a friend I won't be seeing until after Thanksgiving. Given how vividly incredible the graphics are already -- 1080p in 60fps for the first time on a console too by the way -- I can only anticipate the 3D effect would be quite special. Also of note, the DS4's touchpad, both the touch functionality as well as the button itself, are used. If you press the button, the upgrade screen comes up. The touch controls are used, optionally, with Amadeus the wizard, for moving objects around. While cool, I found it a little more intuitive and to-the-point to just use the thumbsticks for moving and rotating objects being levitated by Amadeus.
Content and gameplay-wise, Trine 2 Complete Story is precisely the same as found currently on Steam and on Wii U. The story brings back the three heroes from the first game, including the timid but skilled wizard Amadeus, the hungry and brawler-like knight Pontius, and the slinky, agile thief named Zoya. One night, the Trine, a mystical artifact beckons all three to come together again to take on an all new adventure. To what end they do not know, but they'll have to rely on each other to fight off goblins, spiders, dragons, etc., survive numerous environmental traps and hazards, and figure out exactly how to navigate their way through forests, caverns, castles, and other visually-stunning areas.
With support for drop in/out online and local co-op play, Trine 2 is best played with friends, but it's still a highly addictive and fun game if played solo. Players only see one character on screen at at time in single player mode, but can instantly switch by pressing L1 or R1. Switching between characters is a very regular function, although my 'default' character is Zoya due to her ability to attach a rope to many surfaces above you, including ones you can't necessarily see. With this, she's able to scale up or down her rope, and swing, too. She is by far the most useful character when it comes to snagging the numerous blue spheres scattered about and for finding hidden collectibles. For every fifty of these spheres you touch, and thus collect, you get a skill point to spend. Some upgrades require two or three skill points to unlock. Upgrades are essential and most are interesting. The good news is, should you decide to scrap your upgrades at a certain point, you can do so at anytime and reallocate. I didn't find this necessary, but I could see where back-tracking to maybe take away Pontius' ability to rush and ram things with his shield and shoulder in favor of giving Amadeus the skill to conjure a plank would be useful. As is the case with everything in Trine 2, the upgrades are best handled with a balanced approach.
Speaking of balance, solving the steady flow of environmental puzzles or getting to hidden areas usually requires good balance and a mild understanding of basic physics. Everything in Trine 2 has momentum, weight, and gravity, etc., and these mechanics are used nicely to create plenty of mostly interesting puzzles. Sometimes the puzzles feel kind of arbitrary, especially those that involve near perfect timing or a perfect jump, and these become a chore rather than fun, but these are the exceptions, not the rule. As you would expect, playing with friends or strangers can yield faster puzzle-solving results or at least some funny attempts at doing so. Fortunately, as long as one of the trio is alive, reviving the others to full health is just a matter of going back, or forwards, to a special marker (checkpoint). These are generally conveniently placed next to very hazardous areas, including a boss fight with a huge goblin. Having the insta-revive ability during a boss fight felt unbalanced, but combat isn't what this game is about, even though there is a significant amount of it.
I would like to think that a Trine 3 is in the works, but even if it is, I'd be curious to see how it would attempt to overmatch the presentation quality of Trine 2. What Frozenbyte was able to do with here is combine stunning technical quality with some of the best fantasy environments you'll ever see. The lighting, right from that very moment in the opening cutscene when Amadeus is trying to sleep, will blow you away and draw you in closer to your display at the same time. I said it a year ago during the Wii U review, and that stands still today -- Trine 2 is one of the prettiest games I have ever played, or seen. The sound package is also excellent, although I'd be lying if I said it was as amazing as the visuals.
And with that, let's get to the summary...