Review: How To Train Your Dragon 2 (Wii U) - CDW

graceacupuncture - 01/03/2023 - STRATEGY - 367 Views

Never before have I experienced a game like How To Train Your Dragon 2 on Wii U. Really, it’s such a bold accomplishment it warrants contemplating for a moment. In my many, many years as a gamer I’ve played a huge number of games: E.T. on Atari, Superman 64, Shaq-Fu, Bubsy 3D, Ride to Hell: Retribution… even ‘Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties’ on 3DO. This is all important context, because How To Train Your Dragon 2 is the worst videogame I’ve ever experienced in my life.Review: How To Train Your Dragon 2 (Wii U) - CDW

This is a real promotional image the developers released.

How To Train Your Dragon 2 is going to be the game I use in future arguments that proves whatever game the other person is talking about isn’t the most tragic thing to happen to gaming. I completed this game. Two weeks of my life were spent trudging through this awful, mundane, lazy, horrid, putrid excuse of a release. After the first few hours it wasn’t merely for the review, but was to say that I god damn did it. Now I can do anything. No longer will X-Factor faze me, Kim Kardashian make me cringe, or three hour bus delays bother me – because I completed How To Train Your Dragon 2.

Allow me to break the gameplay down for you. You start the game, and are immediately greeted with the training section. No title menu, no story, you’re just sat on Toothless with a training list in your face. Here you learn how to fly through rings, shoot cardboard Viking cutouts with your fire-breath in rail-shooter style, and pick up sheep to put back into their respective coloured pen. Each objective has a grading system (bronze/silver/gold), but these only unlock different dragons/characters from the movie – which are purely aesthetic changes.Review: How To Train Your Dragon 2 (Wii U) - CDW

From here you can see the entirety of the game’s “level”.

Once you finish training you’re into the full game, which consists of… flying through rings, shooting cardboard Viking cutouts with your fire-breath in rail-shooter style, and picking up sheep to put back into their respective coloured pen. This isn’t an exaggeration. The entire game consist of these “minigames” and nothing more. There’s no story, no multiplayer, no unlockables, no collectibles (unless you count the dragon skins), no variation, no hidden missions – this is it.

That’s not all: there is only one level. It’s not even a whole level, the game all takes place on the same piece of island. You don’t even get to see the whole island, because the game doesn’t allow you to leave the set area. So really it’s less one level and more one cliff face. Think this means the graphics on the one area will be at least be terrific? Absolutely bloody not. Game looks like a rejected GameCube era title who’s disk has been through into a blender. The graphics clip, the colours are muddied, what little scenery there is looks arse ugly, and despite everything the game still has frequent screen-tearing.Review: How To Train Your Dragon 2 (Wii U) - CDW

That’s supposed to be a sheep under there. I promise.

You’d imagine at least riding a dragon would be enjoyable, but they somehow dropped the ball on that too. The controls are painfully inaccurate. When trying to make precise turns the controls feel slippery and imprecise. If you have the audacity to try to descend for any period of time Toothless will divebomb at triple his normal flight speed.

The fire-breath only fires straight ahead of you, so hitting anything in free-aim is impossible with these flight controls, leaving you entirely reliant on the homing fire that has a very loose definition on what is and is not a target. It’s a travesty of dragon flying.Review: How To Train Your Dragon 2 (Wii U) - CDW

This is an Xbox screenshot because I’d lost heart looking at screenshots by this point.

Does How To Train Your Dragon 2 have any redeeming features? Well, the soundtrack is quite lovely. However, it gets NO credit for that because it is literally (literally) three tracks from the movie’s soundtrack ripped into the game with no context. If you turn off the music from the options menu you’re greeted with bloody terrible dragon effects that sound as if they were recorded in an outhouse submerged in sand, and a selection of incredibly repetitive soundbytes from the movie of your chosen dragon rider (on average I’d say maybe 3-4 per rider, tops). Though I admit without these ghastly clips there would be no connection to the movie franchise at all.

How To Train Your Dragon 2 is available now on Wii U, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 (and ports on Wii and 3DS). For love of everything that is good in this world – do not purchase it.