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Train Your Dragon
Score: 8.0 / 10
My 10-year old son doesn't care that
developer Étranges Libellules has a proven track record of producing
some really solid movie tie-ins. They add to that CV with How to Train
Your Dragon, based on the movie of the same name (which in turn was
based on the books). It's a bulls-eye for How to Train Your Dragon in
terms of hitting the target demographic. After the first hour, basically
the tutorial missions,
from what I could tell, my son became
almost entirely oblivious to the world around him.
"I'm going to smash the TV with a hammer and you're going to bed without
dinner if you don't turn this game off right now."
"Son, your mom and I have decided that
military school would be best," I said. "It's in Tuktoyaktuk."
"Okay, dad," and keeps on playing.
Snapping him out of the trance is easy though. The batteries in the
controller have to die sometime.
I asked him what he liked most and here's a summation of what he had to
I always know what to do and how to do it. I like that you can paint and
mod your dragon, like a car, even if I never had to really feed a "car"
before. The fighting with your dragon is awesome and the moves are all
pretty easy to learn because they put the icons right on the screen so
you always know what button to push. And the game gives you plenty of
practice for these fights. It's funny, too. And it makes me want to
learn more about Vikings. Leveling-up my dragon kinda felt like Pokemon,
but maybe not as fun.
We haven't seen the film, so he couldn't speak to how faithful the game
is to the source material.
As a parent, I was impressed with how well the game teaches the player
how to play without really talking down to the player. Having experience
with fighting games helped a lot at the times when my son would hand the
control off to me so I could my hand at it. The fighting is not
particularly complex, which is good news for me. And it's a pretty
G-rated experience. I actually had more trouble with the sheep-gutting
that goes on. Between fights you run around as Hiccup or Astrid (that
would be the kid) and he can (among other things) tackle sheep. It
results in a churning dust cloud (accompanied by some presumably
horrific sheep noises) then out pops lamb chops for your dragon.
That's probably the most brutal part of the game.
Viewing this title from an adult perspective is wrong. After watching my
son play for a number of hours, I can tell I'd be bored to tears with
repetitiveness of the whole thing -- fighting, leveling-up, feeding the
dragon, fighting, and repeat. But as proven by at least one player, this
could very well appeal to the pre-teen gamer in your house.