Reviews

Two Worlds II – Review

Release Date: February 25th (UK)
Developer: Reality Pump
Publisher: Topware
Singleplayer: Yes
Splitscreen: No
Multiplayer: 2-8 players
PEGI: 16

If you’re reading this then congratulations are in order because you’ve managed to overcome any and all prejudices about Two Worlds II, after all the first game didn’t exactly light the world up with its brilliance, but Two Worlds II stands as one of the most heavily improved sequels ever.
The UK has been patiently awaiting this game with most of the world already playing it, but happily we got the fully updated version. It had better be worth the wait.


Two Worlds II is your typical RPG in most respects. You start the game by creating your character from a decent enough character creation system, and then find yourself strapped into a chair with an evil lord sucking out your life energy to turn your sister into a great evil. Right.
While the story isn’t going to set your world on fire it’s an enjoyable enough affair and picks up in the last section of the game, but the character you’ll be playing isn’t exactly the most likable character thanks to his gruff and emotionless tone making it hard to connect with him on any level.  This issue of character connection isn’t helped by completely blank facial expressions on every character and the body language often fails to even vaguely grasp what’s going on leading to a rather disjointed experience.

By now you’ll probably be thinking that this entire review is going to be negative, but Two Worlds II has more than enough fun gameplay and interesting idea’s to shine through.
While the story may not be the most captivating some of the quests involved in it will provide a great break from all of the gloom. Quests such as hiring an exotic dancer for a party, or scaring of a teacher who has been having inappropriate relationships with students.
And that’s just the main missions, get into the side missions and you’ll encounter a range of odd quests like killing ostriches so a feather-allergic child can venture outside. Don’t let it fool you, there are still plenty of serious side quests and while many fall foul the typical RPG go-here-and-kill/collect-this missions it combats this by providing interesting little stories for many of them, and taking on a simple quest can often lead to a sprawling multi-quest tale.

In fact it’s the sheer scale of this game that is its biggest strength. The amount of quests on offer is massive. Sure, you could complete the main missions in around 20 hours but you’d be missing out loads of side-quests and cool loot, and you’d be missing out on exploring the games three vast islands which range from Africa-esque savannah to oriental styled cities.
I simply can’t give you an exact time on what it will take to complete everything in this game because I just didn’t have time to see and do it all.

Get past the story and sheer size and you come to the gameplay that powers Two Worlds II, and here it offers some cool features and a few problems.
As you expect all this questing goes toward levelling up your might hero. Two Worlds II doesn’t force you into a single class, instead it lets you choose what skills you have as you see fit, though most have to be unlocked by reading the corresponding skill book. It’s up to you whether you specialise in being the most powerful mage in the world, the most accurate archer in history or the strongest armour clad warrior to ever swing a two ton hammer. Or you could spread out the points between all of those and have access to a wide variety of skills and talents. This is bolstered by a system that allows you to swap our entire equipment sets by simply tapping th D-pad. This lets you instantly swap from Mage robes and staff to a broadsword and armor in an instant giving you a wider choice when it comes to combat without all the fiddling around in your inventory.
The amount of combat based skills and the switching of equipment does mean there is a lot of options for combat, but most of it still comes down to mashing the attack button and using abilities whenever they pop up. The combat also lacks any real impact. Smashing an enemy with a huge hammer just doesn’t feel like it has any true impact, instead you get a fairly dull sound and the hammer just keeps swinging round like it never encountered a skull in its path. The same applies to all weapons leading to a disconnected feeling in the combat.

Sadly a flaw does rear its ugly head during combat and that’s the context sensitive blocking/running/sneaking button. You see the LT controls all three of these actions; simply hold it to sprint,  or hold it while standing still to enter sneak mode or hold it during combat to block. However, during combat you’ll occasionally find yours sprinting instead of blocking, and vice versa causing some mild headaches.
It doesn’t stop there with other buttons doing multiple actions leading to plenty of daft moments like leaping around while you’re actually trying to get on your damn horse.

Outside of combat Two Worlds II has a few interesting systems, and first among them is the brilliant spell creation system which budding mages will love. Just don’t set fire to the carpets while you’re experimenting.
At the core the system is simple: you have a variety of “cards”, collected via quests and general adventuring, which can be combined to create spells. These range from the basic effect cards to the carrier – missile, self enchantment, area effect etc. – and finally modifiers which can completely change the effects of a spell leading to fiery black holes and a rain of massive boulders. The range of possible creations is insane (it holds the world record for the most advanced spell creation in  a game).

The second interesting little system lets you break down items in the inventory into their base components and then use those to upgrade your other gear. It’s a great solution to the age-old problem of having to clear our your pack every few minutes. It also lets you keep old gear and use it without having to replace it with the newest and greatest gear, just upgrade it and off you go again to slay something else.

But now we get to the games problems, and there’s a few of those.
While the games art style is actually quite pretty it does look rough around the edges on the technical side with bland facial animations, the occasional bout of pixelation and several other little glitches and problems.
The voice acting is also a little rough with the occasional great actor being drowned by a legion of “average” actors and a few terrible ones as well.
Speaking of sound the music here is actually very well done, but the sound effects used for combat, walking and general activities often sound a little dulled and sometimes just don’t sound right at all.
And finally the game does contain numerous bugs, glitches and other little problems that I just don’t have space to list, but suffice to say while there are a lot of them I didn’t encounter any truly game breaking problems.

Bloody zombies get everywhere.

In essence Two Worlds II is a huge leap up from its terrible predecessor. However, the actual scoring of this game has been tough on me, you see the technical problems this game has should drop it down to a 7.5 but as I think back I realise how much I enjoyed my time with Two Worlds II. Sure, it’s game that is rough around the edges, that often is inconsistent, and a game that needed a helluva lot more polish time, but this is an RPG that can proudly sit on your shelf and give you great value for money. Now if you don’t mind I’m going to create a spell that makes it rain anvils.

The Good:
+ Creating spells!
+ Man this game is big.
+ Levelling up is still cool

The Bad:
– Tutorial for spell creation is useless.
– It lacks the polish of bigger titles. Spit and polish people, spit and polish. Just don’t spit on my copy. Thanks.
– It’s hard to give a damn about the lead character.

Scores:

Graphics: 8
It has rough patches, but the art style makes for some beautiful moments.

Sound: 7.5
The voice acting can be a hit and miss affair, but the music works well.

Gameplay: 8
Huge world and plenty to do. The combat doesn’t exactly impress but the wealth of stuff here more than makes up for it.

Story: 7
Evil. Stop the evil. It’s a decent story and enjoyable.

Lifespan: 8.5
Two Worlds II is a big game with plenty to do, and it has a co-op multiplayer with a separate storyline.

Overall: 8
A big RPG that’s rough around the edges, but look past that and you’ll find a deep, albeit fairly typical, game that provides plenty of hours playtime. It’s just shame that the technical flaws do hinder this game, and in many respects they should have dropped this game to a 7.5 score, but what can I say, I got drawn into the game.

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