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How To Train Your Dragon Review
Review Score:

Fight fire with fire and then fetch stuff

How to Train Your Dragon, or for the purpose of this review HTTYD, was an interesting film. The trailer failed to inspire and it looked nothing more than a 3D cash in but instead it ended up being one of the best animations in decades. It melded action with emotion, humour with suspense, and looked gorgeous even if you didn’t have those 3D specs on. For Etranges Libellules (developer) to come up with an effort that would come anywhere close to the film it would be a tough ask. Unfortunately HTTYD the videogame is nothing short of an unmitigated stench of the average, a game that feels like it’s been drenched in a common movie license engine with everything feeling familiar froma recycled mini-games to button mashing combat everything feels as though it’s been done a million times over.

Graphics look great, now the gameplay, can it cut the mustard? No

There are two different game play modes to be had, the story mode (which is about as fun as an evening with Jeremy Paxman) and arcade mode which offers instant fighting action that’s as in depth as a ham and cheese toastie. The story mode comprises of wandering around the HTTYD universe speaking to folk, collecting random items to feed and care your dragon with and engaging in tournament bouts. Thrown into the equation are mini games such as Ice Sculpting (it’s more boring than it sounds), Looping Race (dexterity of being on speed required) and a smattering of memory and knowledge based mini games. The tournaments are laddered with a dragon on top of each throne and should you manage to stay awake long enough you’ll be able to buy a new dragon each time you win one of these prestigious events. What makes HTTYD so boring is the fact that the developer has blatantly added fetch quests into the game to string out the life of the game, why they would think these pointless monotonous tasks are remotely appealing is unfathomable. To add insult to injury some of the food related items your dragon needs are in tiny nooks of the game map with no indication or help as to where they are. This would be fine if this was required on an interesting quest, but at the request of a favour for someone to do something for you, just makes you want to tear your hair out, knowing that you’ll have to perform more favours before the game progresses out of its comatose state.

Hiccup is riding the dragon like Red Rum the national

If the story mode is due any type of kudos then it’s in the fact that new FMV sequences have been created especially for the game, which will please fans. The game is a continuation from the film and it appears that Hiccup and Snotlout are rivals into the competitive arena of dragon combat. This did throw up an interesting question, at the end of the film the dragons and Vikings co-existed peacefully, so would the dragons have allowed the Vikings to use them in a blood sport? I don’t think so. Perhaps I am looking too deep into this but with the lack of real textural reference to the film I do find it hard as a fan of the animation to accept this game as an extension upon the movie. With the story mode lacking polish and fun factor, turning to the arcade mode will provide some thrills and spills in form of the multiplayer aspect. You do get to play with the dragons from the film and each of them come with unique power attacks but as stated earlier there is nothing really to master from this mode with everything seemingly done from mashing buttons and dodging attacks.

HTTYD feels rushed and under loved, not even the ability to create your own dragon and build it’s XP can make up for the fact that it’s own game engine feels incredibly dated and even the mini-games feel as though they’ve been played in games gone by. Whilst an admirable effort to continue from where the film left off, perhaps in some respects it may have been best to have mirrored the film. Had Etranges Libellules done this we could have been playing some spectacular set pieces, especially in the final moments of the film. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be and whilst Activision will have no doubt made its dough back on the games investment, it will have been from the ill-informed parents buying games that their children simply play for five minutes before they get bored. HTTYD disappointingly is a yawn fest, built from a film world of endless possibilities but ultimately delivering a very mediocre package.

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How To Train Your Dragon Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
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