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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Preview: Trine



Developed by Frozenbyte, Trine is an action platformer + role playing game hybrid that is scheduled to be premiered sometime in July of this year for both the Personal Computer and the PlayStation 3. The X-Box 360 version will be available at a later date. I haven't logged in to my Steam account in weeks so I was very surprised to see that the PC demo is now available for download.


Now that's a lot of gold.

In Trine, you gain control of three archetypical RPG characters - a thief, a wizard, and a warrior - whose souls are accidentally linked to each other. They must find a solution to undo what has happened to them while getting rid of an undead scourge that has been plaguing the kingdom along the way. The cut-scenes are consist of static drawings but the very convincing voice-over narrative during the cinematic and while playing the game give Trine a strong and appropriate fairy-tale/fantasy feel. It's your standard medieval inspired storyline but everything else about the game is nothing short of extraordinary. First, let's talk about the graphics. This is one of the most beautiful games I have ever seen yet. The game uses full 3D graphics that frame its side-scrolling 2D gameplay. The brilliant use of colors and the level of details found here are just staggering. It made me a little teary-eyed because there were some Sonic moments in there when it comes to the level design. Just imagine a new Sonic game made this way - It would be total bliss. I ran the game in 1920 x 1080. Hopefully this will be the native resolution for the console versions as well because I would love to own this on the PlayStation 3.


Every single thing in the game looks absolutely incredible.

Each of the character has their own specialties and you must switch between them often to get ahead. The thief can attack with her bow and can use a grappling hook to swing across chasms as well as reach higher platforms. The wizard can materialize blocks from thin air and he can also magically move unreachable objects and devices. The warrior can use his sword to effectively attack incoming enemies. Your characters can level up by collecting experience vials and it looks as if you can customize their individual builds from the character menu - unfortunately, I wasn't able to do this in the demo. Controlling the game using the keyboard is a bit awkward so I used the X-Box 360 controller instead. Still, the mouse is more efficient when drawing a square in the air to summon a block while playing the wizard. On the controller, you have to do it with the right analogue stick - it's a bit too touchy and inaccurate. The character-switching mechanics work really well and it would be interesting to see if the game would allow online multi-player when it comes out.


Fighting a skeleton - the only type of enemy that shows up in the demo.

The only problem I found in this demo is that it ended way too quickly. By the time that I was used to the game's controls, it was over. It certainly made me want this game even more. Trine is shaping up to be one magnificent game. With its perfect graphics, hypnotically soothing soundtrack, and time tested platform gameplay, the only thing that I can think of that could break the game is how its pacing is going to be framed in its final form. It's really hard to judge it in this demo because it was too short. With the right kind of level structure and overall length, this could easily be a landmark title. I want this game now.

FIRST IMPRESSION: 5 out of 5

For more information about Trine, you can visit the game's official website:
http://trine-thegame.com/

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