Having completed this game 100%, I have to say that I am still in two minds about it, with some aspects of the game that I really like, and some aspects that I really don't!
The game starts in story mode, where you play as either a boy called Hiccup, or a girl called Astrid. You have one dragon who you are taught to care for and train, and then you enter the first of 4 tournaments, where you battle your dragon against other opponents. Winning against the leader of the tournament will allow you to pick and train another dragon, and move onto the next tournament.
Ultimately there are four tournaments that you have to win, followed by a final championship which you must win to complete the game.
Between tournaments you capture and train dragons, run errands for the people in the village, complete tasks such as finding missing items, and catch chickens and farm gardens to get food to feed your dragon. There is also the opportunity to fight against other vikings in 'wild fights', and challenges that you can play with your dragon, earning extra experience points. You can also unlock an 'arcade' mode, where you can fight other dragons without having to play as part of the story, or against a second player if you have someone to play against.
So, good points and bad points:
- Overall I loved the story mode, running around catching chickens and running errands was very pokemon esque (also a little like zelda), where you could run around the village to your hearts content.
- Training the dragons itself was a little tedious. Each dragon had 13 sets of 4 training fights (52 in total), which meant that with 4 dragons, you had to complete 208 of these, which was very repetative with the same training having to be repeated for each dragon, and then the 5 challenges also had to be completed on all three levels (novice, normal and expert) for each dragon in order to obtain the maximum amount of experience points and level up your dragon.
-Then there are the fights themselves. I expected something turn-based (like pokemon), but was instead faced with a street fighter type situation. Two dragons, in an arena, and then the words 'Ready...', 'FIGHT', where upon you were attacked by this other dragon and forced to fight back (a little violent for me I'm afraid!) I also found that the training that you had done counted for nothing in these fights because where as in training the opponent doesn't really fight back, here they do, and a hit during one of your combo attacks basically ruined the attack, so you just found yourself button bashing and hoping to land a strike (very dissapointing when you've done 208 training fights!).
-Then there's arcade mode. This is purely street fighter with dragons, and there is a multiplayer option, and three difficulty settings. Not a lot else to be said for this, although you can import your dragons that you trained in story mode and use them in the fights here.
For trophy hunters there are 48 trophies which can be achieved in this game, although you will have to put some time in. Story mode must be completed twice with each of the two characters, and there are also trophies awarded for arcade mode (the most difficult being 50 'perfect' (no injuries to yourself) wins (Took me 222 fights on easy mode to achieve this). Overall, paying attention to what you need to do for each trophy, this game takes about 35 hours to platinum (although this is partly dependent on skill level for the 50 perfect wins).
Overall, I both loved and hated this game at times, but it did keep me entertained for ages compared to other games, and ultimately I did enjoy it. Not sure how well younger children would find it to win the tournaments though, as at times they really were difficult! Good value overall though. 4/5