Two Worlds II Review (PC)
Two Worlds II is the terribly named sequel to the Two Worlds game released back in 2007. Created by developer Reality Pump, Two Worlds II is of a classic RPG design where you play the hero cast in the central role in an outlandish tale of good vs. evil. The game plays in a similar vein to the likes of Oblivion. Although not as highly polished as Bethesda’s title, it is still rightfully an enjoyable RPG ripe with many of the classic tropes that fans of the genre have come to expect.
The game takes place in the world of Antaloor where the suitably evil named antagonist Gandohar has your sister captive. Your quest, rather unsurprisingly, is to rescue your sister and destroy the wizard. In doing so you travel through different environments unravelling the story and expanding your initially lacklustre character.
The lands you visit are generally well rendered, thanks more to the high texture resolution than simple massed geometry or fancy post processes. Despite this lack of technical sophistication the art style is consistent and well implemented. The areas you find yourself exploring, from calm rolling plains to dark dungeons, are memorable and well crafted.
The visuals are at times impressive and certainly interesting and varied enough that they do not quickly become stagnant. There is a bad case of a decimal point being placed in the wrong place when the bloom value was added. Certain scenes and NPC’s seem to arbitrarily ignite into retina scorching nuclear brilliance. While the visuals as a whole are impressive, the occasional character going full Super-Saiyan before my eyes became very distracting.
The Combat system is essentially broken into three separate areas: melee, magic and archery. Having delved into each area I can say with full confidence that the magic element of the game is one of its strongest points. This system allows you to mix and match cards to develop your own style in a manner very similar to Magicka and reminiscent of Final Fantasy 7′s materia system. Developers creating magic systems for their games should take note of these titles. Rather than being given a spell that’s power increases linearly with the characters growth. Two Worlds II’s system allows the player freedom and more importantly the opportunities to explore an aspect of the game that they can find rewarding.
Melee on the other hand is very simplistic. Commands to attack, defend and another capable of breaking an enemy’s guard are the basic affair. Some flavour is added with certain creatures being susceptible to blunt or edged weapons. Despite this, most melee combat usually revolves around mashing attack and hoping to win through sheer bloody mindedness. I feel a simple parry or counter attack system would have gone a long way with helping this aspect of the games combat. I wouldn’t expect it to play like an Assassin’s Creed encounter, though I have grown to expect more than ‘attack and defend’.
This brings me to the archery segment of combat. This is by far the biggest problem with the combat system. Archery has always been a difficult beast to control in these styles of games. Too powerful and players could essentially keep a foe at range never fearing them getting close. Too weak and the player can usually let an arrow or two free before they are pummelled to dust. Two Worlds II falls into the latter category. I found even mediocre enemies difficult to deal with when they covered the distance. So I began using the Archery as an opener before switching to melee. However later I wondered why I shouldn’t just use magic at range and up close, making archery completely redundant.
While the crafting and magic systems are robust, well designed features of the game, they are unfortunately housed within a terrible user interface. The menus and their navigation, the poor use of icons and the display of information are all handled extremely poorly. The familiar and classic quick bar provides you access to weapons, spells and potions at a touch of a button, however the menus which you must navigate constantly throughout the game are tedious, cluttered and frustrating. This was a major downside to the game and greatly impacted my enjoyment. While sections of a game may be dull, or have a character or story arc that falls short, they can be forgiven based on the merits of the rest of the game. A bad UI however is with the player from the beginning of the game until the end; it’s the players way of interacting with much of the world so to create a frustrating system is both an annoyance and a crying shame.
No RPG is complete without its sweeping narrative and cast of deep characters. For many this is what makes a game of this genre an instant classic, remembered fondly for years to come. It’s with great disappointment that I have to report that Two Worlds II falls short on this front. While some of your compatriots seem well formed characters with believable dialogue the majority of characters that populate the world are extremely flat and disappointing. Unfortunately the main character himself falls into this category. His dialogue and tone throughout is painfully difficult to sit through. Any character who did seem modestly interesting is immediately made forgettable when they interact with your character.
The lack of tone and subtlety is also blatantly apparent when your sister, who we are supposed to feel empathy towards, is clad in a revealing dress identical to a character you meet mere minutes into the game. Is this supposed to be titillating (pun intended). Should I be looking at the nipples of a character that is supposed to be my sister? Or indeed the nipples of a woman referred to highly as a prophet. It’s hard to care about the prophet’s portent of doom when her carefully modelled nipples continuously struggle to free themselves from their flimsy constraints. More importantly it’s difficult to care about main story arcs when your characters next line of dialogue is derisive nonsense. This is what drew most of my frustration while playing the game. Scenes where I should have been sitting on the edge of my seat were either delivered flat or ruined by the need for my character to mutter some barely legible gibberish.
Two Worlds II, for all its inadequacies and flaws, is still an enjoyable game. It gets by with its various magic and crafting systems, subtlety and style. While the UI and narrative of the game caused me much frustration and disappointment I would still give the game a decent recommendation. Two Worlds II is flawed but none the less an interesting game. So with that and bearing in mind that a 5/10 is an average game and not 7/10 like most other sources on the internet. I would give Two Worlds II:
6 better names for a sequel out of 10.
Look out for the expansion pack Pirates of the Flying Fortress coming soon for Two Worlds II