How to Train your Dragon 2 Review (Wii U)
Want a game that could have been so much more?
How to Train Your Dragon 2, from Torus Games, is a movie tie in of the same name. It does not however play out the story of How to Train Your Dragon 2. Instead, it is a decent flying game where you play as one of the main protagonists as you take part in a series of mini games that tries to call itself a game.
The main gameplay is the fact you’re a dragon rider taking part in Berks ‘Dragon Games’, which were started because they needed a break from all the pillaging. The developers try to make up for the lack of content by recreating Berk in all it’s splendour. However, the island leaves a lot to be desired. In terms of looks, the island is interesting with all the places to discover and hidden toothless tokens to find. But nobody in the right state of mind is going to look at the island and have their breath taken away. Actually, I will take that back, because there is a certain spot at the top of the island where you can perch. You are able to look over the surrounding area, and from a distance the island does look amazing.
Each mini-game tries to vary the gameplay enough for you to take part in other mini-games. Most of them involve flying, so it is a good thing that the flying is pretty decent. It is actually the best part, you are able to bank and weave and attack other riders. All in all, this could have been a really good flying/racing game but it is ruined by silly tasks. There are mini-games that play similarly to burnout, where you have to attack your opponents as you fly through the fiery rings. During any event that you have challengers you are able to dismount your opponents. This can be done through two standard attacks, your fire breath and the dragon rider dive. The Dive is carried out with a quick button press, which targets your nearest opponent. It is short range though so the added fire breath mixes up the tactics. Whilst the dive is more effective, the breath has far greater range, and a hit at the right moment can mean stopping your opponent in their tracks.
In the racing mini-games, the whole point is to fly through the fiery rings -as they speed you up- and to obviously win the race. I did enjoy these mini-games, at first. That is until you have to go round the same circuit five times. Three laps is fair enough; it is contending with Mario Kart and is about as fun with the impressive movement of your dragon with the slightest control. Five laps, well that is Formula 1 game territory. I know it’s not really, but it feels like it. Even though it is so few laps – all without the skill and intelligence required for Formula 1 games – it just repeats and you lose interest after the first three laps.
The ambient music of the island is brilliant, I totally felt at home on Berk as it played. It is diminished though by the over used taunts of your characters as you unmount your enemy. They are funny at first but lose their humour the second and third time around, especially as it is only ever the same taunt.
Overall, the developers missed a trick here. In my opinion, the game could have been so much more quite easily. The flying is brilliant, allowing you to bank so harshly and attack means that we could have had a game that set island against island in numerous battles. However, we are stuck with an ok racer dragged to mediocrity by idea of the “Dragon Games”. I did like some of the mini-games, which is hard for me to believe but I did. The fact that the game doesn’t just rely on racing but also includes competitions centered around gathering things as well as shooting targets adds some longevity. I did like the game, but not enough that I would buy it. And that is the biggest disappointment considering how good some of the aspects of the game are.
2.5 Toothless tokens out of 5