Friday, 31 March 2017 20:37

REVIEW: Troll And I (Xbox One)

Written by Stacefacemayham
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I love games where you get to interchange between characters. Even if you are like me and often games alone in the confines of your room, an in game companion makes it feel a little less lonely. In Fallout you have Dogmeat, the Last Guardian has Trico, Link has Navi, heck even the Dragonborn has the annoyingly helpful Lydia. In this game you have ‘Troll’.

“Troll and I” by Maximum Games, is an adventure game with many puzzles and platforming elements. It opens in a post-Stalin era, with a corporate, suited douchebag employing the skills of Nico, a talented yet conflicted hunter. What does the bumbling business man want? A Troll, dead or alive, of course. 5 Years later and we are in Scandinavia, and being introduced to a boy in a dire need of a haircut; Otto. After his village is mysteriously burned to the ground, Otto is saved by a fearsome yet overgrown Troll doll, also in an urgent need of a hairstylist. They travel together and bond, trying to overcome hordes of hunters and other creatures, and well who knows what other objectives they have, as it is all very unclear.

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The game gives you no clear direction. Controls are mentioned only briefly, making you fumble around until you complete the action needed, this makes it a while before anything feels like a fluid movement. Due to no clear objectives, this also slows down the game, as I often found myself frustratedly running around an area for way too long trying to figure out what it wanted me to do. The so-called hint button literally only spins the camera slightly and mentions the general area it wants you to be in, without giving clues on how to get there. More a mocking slap in the face than a hint.

The game does have a crafting system which I honestly didn’t mind. It was no Far Cry, but collecting resources and building weapons was a fun element and urged you to investigate dead enemies and your surroundings for craftable elements. They weren’t as frequent as they should have been for the amount of combat you were often involved in. Idols were also available to upgrade both Otto and Troll’s abilities, and believe me you want to as any help along the way is surely needed.

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Controls wise, there is a lot of work that needed to be done before this should have hit shelves. Both Otto and Troll handle like they are literally pushing each other in a dodgy, shopping trolley. As Otto, I found the targeting system was sloppy with only a faint circle indicating if you were going to hit or miss throwing one of his main weapons, a spear. Even when you were dead centre some hits didn’t register, frustrating when weapons in this game are actually really hard to come by. When I did fight as Otto I preferred melee combat, as it was more accurate, the only downside is that these weapons have durability and break eventually.

Despite saying all this, 90% of the time I would fight using the Troll. By clumsily using the RB button to switch to Troll, he could end a fight in half the time a scruffy little village boy could. The only problem with this was his awful behind the head camera views which hid enemies and an oh so similar sloppy targeting system when trying to ground pound enemies scurrying around his feet. The controls are just down right bad, to the point even jumping and climbing scenery is slow, clumsy and cumbersome, leaving myself feeling manic as Otto rolled at a wall continuously till I found that sweet spot.

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The visuals feel dated, even for an indie game. A story dripping with the mythology of Nordic monsters, should have environments complimenting that fable-istic, fantasy feel. This is not the case here. The environments are bland, making me sigh instead of being eager, when I am lured into having to venture off the beaten track. I personally think instead of going this 3D rendered world the developers have going on, they should have designed the whole game in a cell shaded, cartoony environment, similar to the cover art, staying true to old, fictional tales of the past. Not to mention framerates drops and screen tearing was often visible when moving or looking into the distance.

Now I know in my Last Guardian review, some of the similar things pop up, however the ‘Last Guardian’ had something ‘Troll and I’ didn’t...soul. Trico was endearing and animalistic often showing elements of his little quirks in things he would do, you cared about him as you played. In this game, to be honest, I couldn’t give a toss if either of them made it out alive. There really is very little to like about either character. In a small part, the voice acting could be to blame, or just the lacklustre story.

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Lastly, to round off a game that in general is simply put it; unpolished, is the fact it is glitchy as hell. I am not joking, I actually threw my controller at the floor not once, but twice. The second time, earning me a scolding from the boss. I run out of a cutscene area without Otto, frozen loading screen, glitch. I get the Troll to push a wall, try to release and he is stuck, glitch. Move a wall and the moving sound clip radiates through the next 30 minutes of game play, glitch. I throw a rock at a cliff to cause a landslide but the rock doesn’t respawn, glitch. This game almost owes me a controller. The most annoying part of the glitching is the redicuously rare moments that the game auto saves, and with no manual saving means everything you lost rebooting needs to be done all over again, almost bringing me to tears.

I was so excited for this game, so you have no idea the disappointment I have writing this review. It has so much potential to be good but it misses the mark in so many areas. With a better story and improved controls this could have been a standout game. It is definitely a game I hope gets a revamp in the future, because in it’s present state it’s similar to the Troll in the fact it is... a monster.

Additional Info

  • Review Score: 2.0 / 5.0
  • Release Date: Out Now
  • Platform: PC, PS4, XBOX ONE, Nintendo Switch
  • Publisher: Maximum Games
  • Genre: Strategy, Action / Adventure, Adventure