Two Worlds II
A franchise redeemed?
Posted 2 years ago By kingquagmire - David Collins
Oh, so you’re here! If you have made it this far, let me be the first to say I’m proud of you! Why? Simply put, you have managed to rise above any preconceived notions about the Two Worlds franchise and at least give the reviews a look, even if they don’t change your mind. That’s a good thing, by the way. Given the poor reception of the first Two Worlds title by both critics and consumers alike, I completely understand why you may have some reservations about the sequel. In fact, I too had the same concerns. When Two Worlds II was announced, the only thought on my mind was something related to beating a dead horse. Could Reality Pump save this franchise, especially given the dismal reputation it picked up after the mediocre performance first entry?
The story picks up with you and your sister held captive by the dasterdly Gandahar. You don’t know all the details at first, but I promise your initial impressions of the situation will be spot on. This guy needs a beating pretty badly. Though, you won’t be giving it to him anytime soon. As I said, you are officially listed as “prisoner” at this point. Your sister has the power of Aziraal trapped within her and Gandahar is draining said powers away in an effort to supplement his own as he exerts his not-so-nice plans on the lands of Antaloor. You, on the other hand, are about to stage your big escape, assisted by allies you didn’t know you had. Thus begins a path to destiny that is much larger than you could ever imagine.
I know, the plot sounds a little cliche and to be honest, I think we all already knew that originality wasn’t going to factor in the story anyway. Don’t let that dissuade you though! One of the first improvements over the first game is the scripting and voice work. The facial animations need a ton of work, but the vast majority of the story is delivered through a decent voice cast and an acceptable script. It won’t break any new ground, but at the same time, there are other facets within Two Worlds II that shines enough to compensate.
Facets such as the general level of depth throughout the entire package. The initial prologue/tutorial is LONG (read: several hours) and during that time the hero will be taught the basics of combat among other nuances like thievery skills, alchemy, weapon crafting and horseback riding. Just the combat alone is quite an undertaking. Hand-to-hand, ranged, and magic can all be utilized at any time by any player. It all amounts to which weapon you have equipped. Want to cast a spell? It’s easy as switching to your magic staff. Need to land a few well placed fire arrows? Equip your bow. So on and so fourth. The mechanics are tremendously improved over the clunky and clumsy system found within Two Worlds 1. The intuitive nature of it all made slaughtering random beasties (ostriches!!) or squaring off with Imperial soldiers a thrilling joy.
Further subdividing things are the various feats and skills that can be learned, enhancing each form of combat. The expected Block Break, Battle Cry, etc... grace the melee class. The ranged class follows suit with the various elemental and multi arrows. However, it’s in the spell casting that things really get interesting. Spells are learned and can be combined with each other via modifiers to offer literally tons of different effects.
As I mentioned, there’s a crafting system in placel and let me tell you, it’s mighty impressive. Broken down into multiple facets (Metallurgy, Fusion, Alchemy, Archery Craftsmanship, Weapon Forging, etc...), there’s almost no need to even go to a shop. Ever. Throughout your travels, you’ll find many different organic components, be it grown in the wilds of Antaloor or scavenged off the corpses of your fallen foes, that can be combined to make all kinds of potions. Knowing what ingredients to blend together is technically trial and error, but in practice it came off more as experimentation. The interface highlights which ingredients worked and which were unnecessary and will even record recipes for later use if so desired.
Also, instead of selling your extra equipment, each one can be broken down into base material such as wood, cloth, chain, iron, and much more. Then, once enough material has been accumulated, you can upgrade the stats or class of your weapons and armor. It’s a rather nifty system and I found that I was rarely buying anything new as my upgrades worked really well in keeping me equal to or better than those available in local local shops.
Really, the crafting system easily sits as one of the high points of the game. Yet, for how deep it is, and how sound the combat is, there’s still more to pour your attention into. The questing itself is quite massive and ties together organically in the same vein as Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption. Many times I found myself tracing a story quest, only to discover several hours (and quests) later that I had deviated from the main plot thread without even realizing it. The world of Antaloor enables that even more as it’s both vast and populated, providing a tremendous amount of mission and exploratory opportunities.
Two Worlds II is flawed though. Visually, it’s a bit on the schizophrenic side. On one hand, the measure of detail has improved many times over its predecessor. On the other, the environments tend to blur in a not-so-flattering way as you gallop or sprint around the Savannah (in lieu of the traditional old-world Europe that most typical high-fantasy RPGs reside in, TWII has a distinct African vibe to it). The enemies are easy on the eyes, but the Antaloor’s residents are downright ugly. The audio fares a little better with the decent voice work, though the spoken word doesn’t always match up with the written on-screen dialog and the lip syncing is almost nin-existant. And I’ve already noted that the storyline is as by-the-numbers as they come. The lack of a true morality system could be oft-putting and may pose some challenges to those who’ve nurtured their RPG skills on franchises like Mass Effect and Fallout. Additionally, Two Worlds II isn’t quite as “aware” of our actions as we are accustomed to in other franchises. At several points within the storyline, the narrative came across somewhat disjointed, implying I had made a bigger name for myself among the citizens than I actually did, or vice-versa. It’s subtle, but noticeable if you skip some of the larger side-quests and dialog options.
But you know what? Ultimately, I didn’t really care. Despite its flaws, the depth of package and the improvements made over the previous game took center stage for me, making it easy to accept the things that weren’t so good, or even overlook them altogether. Right from the very beginning with the initial character customization options (which by my count numbered around 40 distinct features that could be adjusted), you knew that this was not the Two Worlds you remember. Not by a long shot. The features I covered for the purpose of this review just skim the surface. As players journey though Antaloor, they’ll also find multiple trade guilds, tons of dungeons to discover and explore, plenty of treasures to reap, and much, much more.
I have little doubt that players will lose themselves for at least 40-60 hours in the solo side of Two Worlds II. But just in case that’s not enough, Reality Pump has five multiplayer options at your disposal. From the Crystal Capture mode to the PvP and Dual modes to even a full-on seven chapter cooperative Adventure mode and the simulation heavy Village mode, there’s plenty of places to satiate your online desires. If you can pull yourself away from the solo campaign, that is.
So did Reality Pump manage to overcome the stigma the original Two Worlds created? Has the been franchise redeemed? In my opinion, it certainly has. Sure, Two Worlds II has plenty of room for improvement. The storyline could be a bit more interesting and the visuals need an overhaul. A morality system would be a welcomed sight in Two Worlds III. But again, the level of depth throughout and the solid combat options go a long way to offsetting those issues. It may not replace that copy of Dragon Age as your top high-fantasy RPG, but it has no problems sitting on the shelf next to it. Two Worlds II is so big, you almost need ‘two worlds’ to hold all its contents. And for RPG fans, that is what matters most.
+ Wonderful crafting system
+ Vastly improved combat system
+ Questing structure is very well designed
+ Is nothing like it’s predecessor
+ Considerable amount of multiplayer content
- Visuals can be hit and miss, despite being much improved over Two Worlds 1
- Narrative comes out a little disjointed at times
- Lack of morality system might hurt some of the role play
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Release Date : 2011/1//6
System : PlayStation 3
Publisher : South Peak Interactive
Developer : Reality Pump
Category : Action-RPG
ESRB : M
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10