Two Worlds 2 is the sequel to Two Worlds, an action RPG in the vein of games such as the Elder Scrolls series and Arx Fatalis. Whereas the first Two Worlds was a bug ridden, graphically flawed, and overall poorly conceived game, Two Worlds 2 has been received in a much more positive light. The action RPG niche is still very much untapped, and when a new one arrives, it tends to cause a stir. Two Worlds 2 has kept much of the old, added a couple of new features, and has presented itself in a
much more polished light than the previous games. In essence, it's what Two Worlds should have been, a solid attempt in the action RPG genre.
Two Worlds 2 has been given a complete graphics overhaul, boasting some impressive visuals. And while some of the visual effects can often be complete overkill, overall it's a much needed improvement. The game features modern effects such as motion blur, depth of field, and high levels of anti-aliasing, all of which have become a staple for any modern game.
Weapon crafting and magic has been completely changed in this installation of Two Worlds. Instead of stacking weapons on top of each other like you did in the previous game, you now must disassemble weapons and armor you loot from your enemies to upgrade your equipment. Likewise, Reality Pump has introduced a beautifully complex spellcrafting system. The player combines various magic cards that have different properties to create unique and powerful spells, sometimes with multiple chain effects.
Two Worlds 2 continues the story from the previous game. It's not really necessary to understand the previous game's story, as it unfolds as you go through the prologue. The game starts out relatively slowly, and getting through the initial prologue can be tough due to the terrible voice acting and uninteresting environments. When hearing your saviours talking, you don't really know whether to cringe or laugh. The story is a very standard RPG story that you'll find very hard to get into. Your sister is the vessel of the fire god Aziraal, and has been captured by the an evil emperor who plans to harness her power and do an unspeakable amount of evil.
The prologue is a standard prison escape mission common to a lot of games in the action RPG genre. It does a good job of explaining all of the controls, even if they are standard action RPG controls. At roughly 5 minutes into the game, you'll start getting tired of the excess motion blur. What was initially a nice added visual effect becomes a huge annoyance later in the game, and you'll find yourself looking up how to turn it off within the first couple of hours. The problem is that you cannot do so in the general game options, and have to open up the in-game console. At this point in the game, you're not really going to get too much experience with the combat system aside from a couple of assassinations and learning how to block.
One of the biggest annoyances in the controls are the situational buttons. Your right mouse button will either have you sneak if you are standing still, or sprint if you're moving. You'll find yourself oftentimes meaning to sneak but the fact that you're moving a slight amount causes you to sprint towards your enemies instead of coming up for a quiet kill. This makes playing an assassin type character incredibly frustrating.
Two Worlds 2 Review : Plot (2 out of 5)
If you played the first Two Worlds, you know how laughable the plot was, only made funnier through the horrible voice acting. It may please, or horrify you to know that it hasn't changed much. You'll hear the same old tired two-bit voice actors sighing out their lines in halfhearted tones. Your character has a voice that could compete with Louis Armstrong in depth, and seems to have a love for grunting
sociopathic phrases every time he kills something.
Throughout the time that I played Two Worlds 2, I never found myself caring for the plot, or any of the characters. It was impossible to with how laughable the voice acting was, and how generic the plot was. If you enjoyed the first game because of these terrible qualities, you'll be sure to enjoy it again. The side quests are all simple "collect <x> items" or "investigate this area" type missions, which lends itself well to the hack and slash gameplay, but not so well towards the RPG part of the game.
Graphics (5 out of 5)
The graphics in Two Worlds 2 have been substantially improved from the first game, boasting improved texture maps and much cleaner normal mapping. Texture glitches can still be found throughout Antaloor, but it is much less common than it was in the previous game. Many of the cinematic effects were overdone unfortunately, with excess depth of field and motion blur around eve
ry corner. Runnng through the hills of the Savannah, you feel less like a human being, and more like a sports car going 150 on an empty highway. In this Two Worlds 2 review, I played with all settings maxed, and the result is lovely. You'll rarely, if ever feel bored running around. The exterior environments are all beautifully crafted and feel incredibly natural and vivid. The various dungeons you'll find in the wilds though vary from interesting to plain and boring, with more of them being the latter than not. Even so, finding some of the ruins tucked behind massive crags jutting out of the earth can be exciting, and grabbing the loot within is almost always worth it.
Interface (2 out of 5)
The entire user interface of Two Worlds 2 can take a very long time to get used to. When you're first coming to grips with it, it becomes painfully obvious that it was designed with console users in mind. What would be an easy click with a trigger or bumper can become an irritating process with the mouse, and this is the case with the UI. You'll find organizing your items to be nigh impossible, and after a hard day of looting corpses, dismantling your secondary weapon amongst the sea of other weapons you're carrying can be quite commonplace. As far as ARPG interfaces go though, it isn't really that bad, or different really. Upgrading weapons is easily done, and adding various attribute and skill crystals to your weapon is as simple as clicking twice. In that vein, the designers succeeded, keeping things simple. The spell crafting system is what really shines in this game, and it's easy to tell that a lot of work was put into the UI for it. Many of the sub-menus in the game are designed very well, keeping simplicity in mind. I feel that the overall interface would be much stronger if they kept this in mind with the entirety of the interface.
Gameplay (5 out of 5)
Combat in Two Worlds 2 spans from incredibly fun to mind-numbingly frustrating. Enemies have become much more difficult than they were in Two Worlds, to the point where if you wander too far from where you're supposed to be, you'll find yourself dying in 1-2 attacks from the local baddies. This wouldn't be a problem except for the fact that it can be incredibly difficult to figure out where you're actually supposed to be. When I began to explore around the first village you go to, I found numerous caves and ruins lying nearby. Entering them, I'd find monsters impervious to all of my spells and weapons who would leap at me with a fury and promptly tear me to pieces. Exploiting the pathfinding of your enemies becomes crucial early in the game where you aren't doing much
damage, and chugging health potions down as fast as you can isn't efficient. Your enemies will frequently get stuck on small rocks,sharp turns, or invisible barriers, and sometimes the only way to defeat them is to exploit these bugs.
As well as being severely limited as to where you can go, the fighting is very vanilla for the first 5-8 hours of the game. If your character is a mage, don't expect to be able to really work with the spellcrafting system until you've gotten through a good chunk of Chapter 1. Once you get a strong inventory of spell cards and modifiers though, this part of the game truly shines. When I had gotten around 20 various magic cards, I spent close to an hour combining all of my cards in random ways. The amount of effects that have been programmed into the game is really fantastic. It's once you really get access to the resources that let you use this system that being a mage becomes incredibly enjoyable. Even as a warrior, you'll find yourself using many different spells to keep you as strong as possible. It would have been incredibly beneficial for Reality Pump to make obtaining these spell cards in the beginning of the game easier. As it stands, you probably won't find many until you're past level 10, which can easily take 6+ hours.
Questing in Two Worlds 2 can be very confusing. Setting your active quest will place a marker on your map, but it won't appear on
your minimap until you are very close to the target location. Finding where your quest is in your log can be a problem because you're never really sure which town the quest will be listed under, so clicking through all of them can sometimes be necessary.
Crafting is incredibly enjoyable, and was very well thought out. Often times it can completely break the game with how ridiculous your equipment gets, but that's part of the joy of the experience. Reality Pump decided to sacrifice some of the seriousness of the game for fun, and the result is admirable.
Sound (4 out of 5)
The sound in Two Worlds 2 spans from atmospheric ambience to orchestrated scores, and the soundtrack for the game has been very solidly put together. I've never felt that the music or sound was out of place, except for the occasional dungeon that featured human screams where there were no people. The music helps aid the image of a world in crisis, with a huge part of the population in poverty. You can feel the desolation and hoplessness in people, and the music does reinforce that. Now if only the characters were people you could actually care about. Monster and animal sounds are what you would expect. There's nothing odd or out of place with them, and they sound as they should.
Multiplayer (5 out of 5)
The Two Worlds 2 multiplayer mode is incredibly robust. Players create a new character, choosing from many of the races encountered in the single player game. You also choose a starting class, which determines your skills in the beginning of the game. This can be changed completely throughout the game, so you shouldn't worry about it too much.
There are two types of gameplay modes in the Two Worlds 2 multiplayer. You can either take a party of up to 8 people and go through a seven chapter co-op quest, or play in various competitive game modes. The same loot collecting joy exists in online multiplayer, and you'll find that for some of the more challenging parts of the co-op, an 8 person party will pretty much be required. It's apparent that a lot of work was put into multiplayer, unlike the previous Two Worlds, which was a bug-ridden mess. Waiting for other players to level up their skills and craft equipment can sometimes be a hassle, but it's a minor problem that can't really be avoided, and doesn't really detract from the game.
As people level up their characters more, PvP will become much more fleshed out. At this point it isn't very impressive. The combat system of the game does seem much more suited to fighting other players than monsters though, and I'm sure in the coming months that PvP will become much more enjoyable.
Overall Impression (4 out of 5)
As much as I complain about the numerous problems in Two Worlds 2, it still an incredibly fun game. The story is not going to move you
tears, unless it's tears of hilarity, but the combat is fun and the enemies are challenging. You'll find the progression of your abilities fits the pacing of the game very well, and when you start becoming bored with fighting the same enemies over an over, a new foe will come out of the darkness to send you fleeing in terror at the fact that none of your weapons do any damage to it. Many of the environments can be absolutely breathtaking, and sometimes just walking around can make for an extremely satisfying gameplay session. Having to use the in-game console commands to turn off the excess graphics is an annoyance, but it's preferable to not having the ability to do so at all. While Two Worlds 2 may not be the next Dragon Age, it is a solid and enjoyable hack 'n slash role playing game. Two Worlds 2 multiplayer function adds a ton of replayability to the game as well once you've gone through the singleplayer game. Reality Pump has thoroughly improved on the less than stellar Two Worlds with this sequel, and with some decent voice acting and writers, could make their next game fantastic.