Ah, the joy of exploration. That feeling of freedom, the feeling of limitless borders, the sense that for once, you truly are one with the earth. But exploring takes a really long time. And it’s kinda expensive. But then, in 2014, Little Orbit released a game which allows us to explore, without having to put up with the cost or the time or angry tribes of people who just want to eat you. That game was How To Train Your Dragon 2.
It’s basically a game where you fly around, fly around a bit more, you’re probably getting the message. That’s basically what it is: a game where you spend a lot of time flying around. But, seeing as I said I would (and because I kind of have a massive crush on Astrid!), I will review it fully.
Each game I review will be measured on five categories: Gameplay, Graphics, Character(s), Replay Value and Soundtrack, as well as the Overall Impressions. Right, here we go!
Gameplay (out of 10): At first, you think “wow, this land is vast”. And… well it is. The gameplay mainly involves flying around finding collectable tokens (50 for each character), and flying through, into, around, and onto the scenery to complete objectives.
That’s all well and good. But alas, it’s also just text. The gameplay you see, has issues. The tokens are easy to find at first, but slowly become scarcer and scarcer. The controls feel stiff, unless you alter the sensitivity on the menu, when they feel completely uncontrollable.
The camera is never where you want it to be, meaning that you’re too busy moving the camera to concentrate. The racing is fun, but the stiff controls and the targeting system which doesn’t seem to work just make it a bit too awkward.
But, the mini-games are a lot of fun. Games include Sweep the Sheep, where you have to use your dragon to pick up sheep and put them in their respective coloured pens, and one where you have to shoot pop-up Vikings.
Overall: The gameplay is mixed. The main game itself suffers from a lack of attention, possibly related to time pressures to release the game in line with the film (which will be reviewed at a later date), and feels slightly unfinished in places. However, it is a lot of fun to play the mini-games, and flying around is really very nice and peaceful. 7/10
Graphics: I cannot heap enough praise on the graphics. The most beautiful game I’ve ever played, and that’s not even a difficult statement. All the textures feel beautiful, and it feels like you’re flying in the film. Not a lot else I can say without you seeing the graphics. 10/10 (give more if I could)
Characters: The six main protagonists from the film (Hiccup, Astrid 😀 , Snotlout, Ruffnut, Tuffnut, and Fishlegs) are the playable characters… at the start at least. Hiccup’s mother and father (Valka and Stoick) are unlockable, either by being very good, or by using a cheat combo.
All the characters are voiced by the same actors who voiced them in the films (Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, TJ Miller, Kristen Wiig, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Cate Blanchett and Gerard Butler), apart from Astrid, who is voiced by Angela Bartys in the games instead of America Ferrera (not that I knew originally, must be related or something).
All of the characters’ dragons are back as well, and the characters are… ok. They look as they did in film 2, sound like they did there. Sadly, the actors presumably were brought in on a day off, as none of them say more than about 5 lines in the entire game. It’s not bad, it just feels a little predictable. 6/10.
Replay Value: Every time you play the game it feels slightly different. It isn’t any different, but you approach it in a different way. And there’s plenty of room to do so. There’s a million different ways you can go, whether you want to explore first, or just run through the game. 9/10
Soundtrack: The soundtrack for the games was composed by John Powell. And it is an absolute masterpiece. Classical strings and instruments, it has to be heard to be truly embraced. It sounds beautiful and feels beautiful. One of the strengths of the films(among many others) is the music. It’s given me a new love for classical music. 10/10
Overall Impressions: How to Train Your Dragon 2 is a game with a lot of flaws. But when you’re playing it, you don’t really notice them that much. What you notice is a beautiful game with a beautiful soundtrack, and it is everything you would want a game based on such a wonderful film to be really. 42/50.
Final Score: 84/100.
How To Train Your Dragon 2 84/100