The original Two Worlds was a complete and total disaster. So when I heard Reality Pump was working on a sequel to one of the worst experiences of this generation (on consoles) I was more than a bit skeptical of the final product. Does Two Worlds II make good on the promises of the franchise, or is it stuck in a rut of mediocrity. Hit the break for our verdict.
In typical RPG fashion your character starts off in a dungeon and immediately is rescued by a band of Orcs. The character, along with the band of Orcs manages to escape, however your sister remains a prisoner. The narrative starts off painfully slow due to some poor pacing, and uninteresting characters. Once you get over the initial tutorials and hand-holding the story beings to open up, however it’s all too predictable. When you combine the poor pacing with a quest log that’s incredibly clunky you have an experience that can be very vague and frustrating. For instance, the quest log doesn’t indicate whether a quest is completed, which results in the log becoming convoluted and confusing.
The same issues carry-over to the map as well. The map does a decent job of mapping the main objective, however sub-locations, or people are incredibly difficult to find because most of the pins use the same color. The pins themselves also are not user-friendly, and I would have liked to see the developers use different icons to show key interests.
Despite the issues with the interface, the gameplay is remarkably fun; especially if you decide to use a Mage. Two Worlds II uses a magic system called Demons, which allows players to experiment with a limitless amount of spells using base cards (element type), modifiers (damage, protection, etc) and type (missile, enchantment, etc). The system is by far the most robust I have ever seen in an RPG. In most RPG’s the player is capped at a certain level, however in Two Worlds II you can still discover new spells at level 100. My main grip with the magic system is that it doesn’t do a very good job of explaining what all of the different types of cards do. That’s fine for seasoned RPG players; however it will be needlessly confusing for newcomers to the genre.
Like the magic system, the craft system is equally robust. Players can modify their equipment from basic components such as steel or wood and can use powerful gems to enhance their equipment with magical properties. In addition, the player can use various dyes to change the color of their items. Hundreds of hours into Two Worlds II, you will still be finding and tinkering with new and interesting combinations.
Combat has also seen a nice upgrade. Animations look much smoother than they did in the original; however they are still stiff and blocky in comparison to other games in the genre. The most notable difference is the improved hit detection. Enemies do a much better job of responding to the player’s actions, whether that’s smashing their face in with a mace or launching a volley of arrows.
By far the most compelling feature is the multiplayer. Players can choose from a wide range of races and character classes. My first choice was a Human Necromancer, followed by a Dual Wielding Dark Elf. The biggest plus is that you’re not restricted to skills of that class, however it will be a while before you can afford to start purchasing skill books for other classes. There’s also a nice selection of game-modes to choose from. If you’re more of a looter, you can choose to play with up to 8 friends in the adventure mode. This mode for the most part runs better than the singleplayer, because they are smaller instances and don’t require the amount of streaming that the singleplayer does.
It can take around an hour to complete an instance, and I really hope they decide to do some DLC for this game-mode. On the flip-side they also have PVP modes like Duel and Team Deathmatch, as well as a mode called Village. Village essentially allows you to do exactly what it implies, which is creating a village. The biggest drawback to the multiplayer is that the invite system is broken. On multiple occasions it wouldn’t allow me to join a friend’s game, or allow him to join a private match I created. This issue needs to be addressed and patched quickly.
On one side Two Worlds II breaths fresh life into a genre that has been missing in action this generation. On the other side it’s a deep, rich, and incredibly flawed game that will no doubt frustrate a lot of gamers. Is Two Worlds II a great game? No, but it’s a good and valuable distraction until Dragon Age and Skyrim come out later this year.
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