Two Worlds II
Publisher: SouthPeak Games
Developers: Topware Interactive, Reality Pump
Platforms: Xbox 360 (reviewed), PS3, PC
Release Date: January 25, 2011
Price: $59.99 (360, PS3) $49.99 (PC) US, $99.99 (360, PS3) $79.99 (PC) AUS
The name Two Worlds can bring many different thoughts to the mind of the gaming community. Many of these thoughts are quite negative as unfortunately the first Two Worlds game was very poorly received. One thing was clear though when it was released however, there were the makings of a great game inside of Two Worlds. Now three years have passed and Two Worlds II has been released worldwide, will it shake off the stigma of the first Two Worlds?
It has been five years since the ending of Two Worlds and plenty of things have went wrong in the world of Two Worlds. First the main enemy Gandohar has succeeded in his conquest of Antaloor. He is now the Emperor of Antaloor and has captured both the main character and his sister Kira. Also Gandohar has used his new found power to wipe out nearly every member of the Orc race.
It turns out that the only reason that you are still alive is that your life force is being used to keep your sister Kira alive. Kira, the magical vessel of the god Aziraal, is under the complete control of Gandohar, whom uses her ability to tap the god’s powers to rule his kingdom. But the survivors of the Orcish genocide are not ready to sit by and let Gandohar rule unopposed. A small band of orcish survivors break into the castle and free your character, escaping to a far off island outside of Gandohar’s evil reach.
So begins your journey to save Kira from Gandohar. Spanning across many hours of play time the story may not be the most intriguing at first, but it slowly develops to an interesting tale. Prior knowledge of the Two Worlds story is not required as most of the backstory is elaborated upon within the first hour of gameplay. While this is the main storyline of the game there is so much variety within the side quests that they are definitely worth exploring as well. There are separate guild quest lines to follow as well which span many different side quests and hours of enjoy ability. It is worth mentioning that the side quests themselves can sometimes be very intriguing and are worth taking notice of, even for those who usually like to stick to the main storyline.
Two Worlds II sports amazing graphic prowess as far as the environment around the player goes. There are many games that can claim that their graphics are good but it takes delivery to actually pull off an amazing looking environment. One of the best moments in Two Worlds II that I experienced graphically wise was exploring a beach during the night time and looking out over the ocean to see not only the waves lit by the moonlight, but the moonlight itself reflecting off the water and creating a bridge of light leading off into the horizon.
Your torch or enchanted weaponry flickers light off of the area around you and running across the fields through fields of flowers or even in the darkest caves you will be amazed at the environment. Unfortunately however for all of the care that was obviously given to the environment, character animations and designs are quite lacking.
Unfortunately the characters themselves are not very impressive to look at and the way that the characters move around is very strange. One of the most noticeably awkward moments of character movement is when you have your character sprinting around for example. Although the armor does look very intricate and the ability to change the color of some equipment is a nice touch, the character wearing the armor will leave most players wishing they were better handled. Another noticeable error in character animation is the fact that enemies will often not respond to fighting actions well, there are times that players will be in the midst of battle against enemies who seem to constantly block their strikes, but make no actual motion for stopping the onslaught of attacks.
The music that you will hear through most of your time playing through Two Worlds II is created by Borislav Slavov, otherwise known as Glorian, and it is obvious from the start of the game that this veteran composer has brought his A game when it comes to music. The music fits perfectly with the environment that the player is placed in and the whole world itself. There is of course your standard medieval RPG type music but that only helps to make the game all the much better.
The same cannot be said for the voice work however. The voice work is not the best that you will hear and there are many times that the characters in the game sound either completely emotionless or like they do not know what emotion they are meant to be feeling at the time they are talking. This is even worse considering the fact that NPCs in town often repeat the same words often and may I say that if you are spending a lot of time near a handful of vendors, mute your TV or else you will hear the same voice clips of the vendors acting as if they were actors in a commercial. There are times that the dialogue and voice work was laughably bad, and one time the game itself actually took a jab at itself which begs the question. Is the voice work as bad as it is to make a joke? Possibly yes, but regardless of that fact it is quite bad.
Let’s get this out of the way right off the bat. Two Worlds II is a massive game. The world itself is quite massive and with plenty of different sidequests the game can easily eat up over 50+ hours of game time without seeing the end of the story. To put the size of the map into perspective there are a number of different ways to get around. There is your standard walking of course, and you also are able to ride a horse around. There is also a teleport system which allows the player to warp from anywhere outside to any previously found teleporter on the world map. Keep in mind however that your horse does not teleport with you, nor are you able to call it from long distances.
Also worth taking note is the fact that there is a boat system as well. This system allows players to use a boat to navigate the open seas. This boat mechanic is worth mentioning considering the fact that it actually requires players to use wind currents to steer their boat rather than simply be able to drive it as they like. While this may mean that taking your boat is obviously harder and more complicated, the real to life implementation is something that amazed me. Plus with the previously mentioned environmental graphics it is worth at least one ride around an island.
Two Worlds II is at its very heart a 3rd person RPG and this element translates surprisingly well into the combat mechanic which is unique enough itself. Players fight in real time against opponents and can approach battle in a number of different ways. You can play as a sword wielding powerhouse that can tear through enemies, a master of spells that controls the elements of nature, an arrow slinging bow user, a stealthy assassin who makes use of various traps, or a number of different combinations between all of these.
The reason for the ability to combine different fighting strategies is the fact that Two Worlds II gives players the chance to assemble three different equipment sets. Meaning that players can assemble equipment for each class, feel that the enemies are growing to close for comfort when you are shooting at them? One press of the D-pad can switch your gear to dual swords, axes, maces, or even a two-handed monstrosity to tear into enemies. The ability to switch on the fly is extremely satisfying and is a welcome feature.
But where exactly will you be getting all of your different weapons? That is where Two Worlds II weapon crafting system comes into play. You may not be able to create new weapons from scratch but you are able to break down any gear that you come across into its rudimentary parts. Meaning a shield can be taken apart to pieces of wood, metal, and leather. These parts are then used to upgrade your weaponry as long as you have your metallurgy skill high enough.
Along the same lines as weapon crafting, the alchemy system is very simple to use. Players will come across many different alchemic ingredients on the field and from different enemies. These ingredients can then be combined with a single press of the Y button on both items. There are countless different combinations that you can use, and a higher alchemic skill will allow players to create potions with more effects. Also players can save these combinations into your inventory, allowing for easy creation at the tap of the Y button again. Unfortunately these recipes do not stack on each other and players may soon find their alchemy inventory full of recipes that they no longer need, or have the ingredients for.
Magic is perhaps one of the most unique aspects of Two Worlds II, as players have the ability to create any spell combination at their leisure. These spells all feature different targets, elements, and even modifiers to change their effect. There are countless spell combinations and it will be a challenge to find the most creative spell that players can create considering the amount of options they have at their disposal.
There are a couple of minigames within Two Worlds II that also play a part to gathering all the different items you may need for said alchemy, metallurgy, and spell slinging. These are lockpicking and pickpocketing. Lockpicking is actually very well done; players must press RT at the right moment to trip the tumblers on the lock. These can be difficult but are perhaps the most interactive lock picking experience I’ve seen in quite some time. The same cannot be said for pickpocketing however. To successfully pickpocket a target the player must press RT at the opening in three different spinning snakes. Unfortunately this mode is very luck based and there are times that the players hand will be able to pass right through all of the snakes’ heads to steal an object, if they are lucky.
If there is any negative to the actual gameplay it is the fact that there is a very steep difficulty curve at the beginning of the game. There is absolutely zero notifications whether or not an enemy will be stronger than your character until you are dead on the floor. There are a number of different enemies that you will encounter that can rip your character apart at low levels, but are able to be discovered early on in the game. Quests are also similar to this in regards of difficulty. There is no notification of the difficulty of quests and players may venture a long distance only to find that their objective is something that clearly overshadows them in power.
Surprisingly even with such an extravagant single player mode; Two Worlds II comes with a well fleshed out multiplayer mode as well. First of all players will be able to make a character from scratch, they can pick their gender, their race, and all of the different customizations the main story didn’t have. Also they can make a number of different characters considering all characters are unique from one another in regards to level and equipment.
Multiplayer will then branch off into your standard competitive modes; such as deathmatch and duels of the like. But there is also an extensive co-op campaign that will allow players to join with 7 others to experience the entirely separate campaign. This campaign features many different areas and is quite entertaining considering the fact that players are able to experience grand battles with other combatants lending them a hand.
Two Worlds II rises from the ashes of Two Worlds I and provides not only an amazing gameplay experience, but a lengthy one as well. There is just so much to be had in the game that players can easily find themselves performing countless side quests without even venturing near the main storyline. The areas that you will be able to explore and witness are breathtaking to see, and if you can forgive the poor voice work and the lackluster character motions there is an amazing RPG to be had.
I give Two Worlds II: