*Advertisement Feature (the game was gifted for the purpose of this review, all opinions my own)
Welcome to a weekly feature on my blog – Ben’s Zone. Written by husband… Ben. A foodie, coffee obsessed, ex-smoking, ex-drinking and Ridgeback loving Dad. Who is also seriously into his fitness. You can find him on the blog (most) Sundays. Enjoy 🙂
Dreamworks: How to Train your Dragon – Dawn of the New Riders Xbox One Review
How to train your dragon – dawn of the new riders is a computer game available on Xbox, Playstation and Nintendo and released to coincide with the third in the popular films series. The game follows the adventures of Scribbler and his dragon Patch as they try and find out why the island home of the dragons was set on fire.
In playing, the game seems a lot like the Nintendo game Zelda. Scribbler is viewed from the top and runs around a series of island scenes or dungeons. A map function is provided to help the player navigate and there are puzzles to solve as the player moves throughout the level. Some of the puzzles are relatively easy, some are harder, requiring the player to control both Scribbler and Patch simultaneously. There is a degree of fighting in the game, with dragon trappers who seek to kidnap Patch but nothing too violent so everything stays suitable for even smaller children. There’s a mechanism within the game for players to accumulate a currency which can then be spent on healing potions and herbs that can increase fighting prowess. There is also the opportunity to find better weapons as the game progresses. The tone is one of a puzzle game with light combat and role playing elements.
The kids have been playing it on and off throughout half term and seem to be enjoying it. They find the dragon cute and the missions and puzzles present them with challenges without overwhelming them. Although we have not got there yet, I also suspect there will be some flying sections using Patch. Both children enjoy the game equally but Aria (4) prefers the exploring sections while, predictably, Logan (7) likes the fighting elements to the game.
Graphics are excellent as is now the standard with modern games and the soundtrack is inoffensive enough although not hugely varied. I even had a few goes on the game and found that I enjoyed playing it. Certainly the kids loved being able to interact with characters from a film they watch a lot.
In terms of negatives, the one that stood out for me is the dialogue. The dialogue is presented as a series of text boxes which have to be read. It slowed down the action and made an otherwise fluid game a bit leaden. I don’t see why the dialogue was presented as text when voice acting could have been used to greater effect. I don’t think kids would mind if the voice acting had been done by different actors to that of the film series and it would have kept the pace of the game nice and brisk. Another more minor point was that at times an unusually hard puzzle seemed to come up which, again, slowed down the flow of the game. It’s not the end of the world as at those points I would help the kids but it did slow the action down a bit.
I asked the kids what they thought and their (unusually concise) responses were as follows:
‘It’s a good game, I liked it, my favourite bit was trying to free the dragon.’
‘My favourite bit was talking to Astrid but I didn’t like fighting the big dragon.’
In conclusion I think it’s a pretty good game. If your child enjoys the film series this is a nice choice as all the main characters make an appearance from time to time. The action is energetic and exciting while staying age appropriate and the puzzles, for the most part are pitched at the right level. I would probably have bought this for our kids as they both love the movie series and this hits on all the major points there. If I could ask for one thing in the game, it would be nice to have a 2 player cooperative element so that the kids could play together or I could play along with them.