Repetitive Busy Work –
Torus Games deserves some credit for putting a different spin on this licensed product but even the new open world gameplay cannot save this unpolished and unrefined rush job of a gaming disaster.
How To Train Your Dragon 2 is like a very weak version of Diddy Kong Racing where the player flies around as one of the dragons from the movie in an open world to active a race or mini game. This simplified open world mechanic is a welcomed change of pace but is ultimately dragged down by a terrible user interface and lacking mapping system. Take the very first menu screen for example – New Game and Continue are the only options made available to the player but the lack of indication basically gives the player a 50/50 chance of selecting the continue option. When the initial menu system is not user friendly, you know you are in for something special.
The nonsensical opening tutorial system is supposed to get the player up to speed on the loose controls but does poorly through lack of direction. Making matters worse, there is no control scheme option or button layout picture found in the pause menu and the map feature only indicates where major events, like a race, are located. But since all these races can be accessed through the pause menu, it essentially makes the open world pointless.
Speaking of tedium, Dragon 2 is nothing but chore-like busy work. It is bad enough trying to find 50+ spread-out tokens for one dragon let alone recollecting them again and again with each and every dragon. There are other optional tasks, like flying under each rock formation or between two specific narrow mountain passes, but the lacking map system does not detail these events, leaving the player to search aimlessly and repetitively. Imagine trying to play Skyrim without the map or indicator and you’ll have an idea of what is going on here. Because of this, completing these extra tasks, like lighting torches, melting ice caps and flying through hoops, are virtually impossible.
If you have the patience to navigate this pop-up filled low textured world, the actual racing segments, which are supposed to be the highlighting feature, contain some of the most unfair and brutal AI not seen since the NES days. After several attempts, I came in last place in every race I participated in. Not only did I come in last place, I was way behind in last place. Like, the AI was about to lap me kind of last place. Without indication, the player will get hit by invisible items from opponent AI which only makes gameplay frustrating and cheap. This is even more shocking taking into consideration this game was designed for young gamers. Besides racing, the other events are just as flawed. For example, the sheep herding game is nearly impossible to play because the sheep are only one pixel big and virtually invisible from the sky. Even the shooting gallery stages are messed up because there is no option for invert look. Having the AI kick you when you are down is bad enough but gameplay quickly becomes even more annoying when you have to listen to the dreadful voice quips over and over again.
Dragon 2 cannot even be used to farm Achievements as each one is essentially based around collecting or completing everything, which is impracticable due to the lacking map function and unbalanced AI. There is also no online functionality either.
More so than other movie license game tie-ins, Dragon 2 is an all-around awful game and isn’t even recommended for the most die-hard of fans. Nothing works or even resembles the smallest amount of fun. Youngsters will have more fun reading Highlights magazine at the dentist office than playing this train wreck of a game.
Worse Than: other licensed IP
Instead Watch: the dragons in Game of Thrones
Have More Fun: mowing the lawn
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com