Two Worlds II was recently released and no one knew quite what to expect. The original title wasn’t good and it seemed like the development team knew that and set out to fix and improve all of the problems for Two Worlds II. The good news is that they succeeded in making Two Worlds II a better game than the original. The bad news is that the game still suffers from a bunch of technical problems. Despite all of these problems though I found myself enjoying the time I spent with this game. Two Worlds II is an open world RPG so it is going to get compared to titles such as Oblivion and the Fallout series. The open world nature is done very well and there are a bunch of side quests that will keep you busy for quite a while. For whatever reason Two Worlds II hit the completionist part of me. Not every game does that but I wanted to do all of the side quests. Sure I could have just concentrated on the main story and rushed through the game but then I felt like I would be missing out on something. It is these two aspects that define Two Worlds II. On one hand, in certain areas, it is a technical mess. On the other hand I was having so much fun exploring all of the different quests that I was able to overlook and overcome those shortcomings.
If you are playing the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 version on a television you will immediately notice a big problem. The first time you play Two Worlds II you won’t see everything on the screen. What I mean by that is that there is a mini map (for example) that is completely off the screen to the point where you don’t even know it is there. What you have to do is go into the “Graphics” settings and under “Use Safe Area In Interface” make sure that is turned on. Once you do that then everything is displayed correctly on the screen and you can go on about your business. It boggles the mind as to why this setting wasn’t a default but at least it is a quick fix. Reality Pump obviously put a lot of work into this new engine for Two Worlds II but they forgot to optimize it. There are parts in the game where the scenery can be breathtaking. Standing on a cliff and looking down towards the water looks great. At night if you look directly up you’ll see a starry sky that looks pretty impressive too. Then there are the other times where there is some really bad graphical pop in or when the framerate takes a hit. Two Worlds II is a massive game and you are going to be utilizing transporters on a regular basis to try and get to your destination quickly. The problem is that whenever you transport the framerate gets hit really hard and almost drops down to look like a slide show for a few moments. There were times where I would transport into a city and my character couldn’t move for a good twenty seconds while you watched buildings pop up around you. All of the citizens in that city were completely frozen just like you are and no one could move until the environment was fully loaded. It was like that scene in the Matrix with the woman in the red dress where Morpheus “paused” the program and everyone was frozen in place. Once everything loaded the game would run fine but it was a little jarring each time that happened. I should also state that this didn’t happen every time but it did happen often enough to warrant a mention in this review. The game would also stutter big time when it would auto save. I could be in the heat of the battle with an enemy and the game decides to auto save at that moment which, again, causes the action to freeze up for a few moments. The auto saving feature is really nice and it definitely saved me from having to backtrack on more than one occasion. It would just be nice if it didn’t lock everything up for a few seconds.
By now you are probably thinking that Two Worlds II is a pretty bad game but its not. As I alluded to above I had a lot of fun going through the world and I also enjoyed the main story. There were a couple of twists in the story that I wasn’t expecting and it made the final battle at the end of the game (and the resulting ending) that much more enjoyable. Two Worlds II features an incredibly deep magic system that features cards. What I mean by that is that you can combine a number of cards in one amulet and see what you can come up with. If you typically like to play a mage character in these types of games then you should be able to get really deep with the magic customization and be able to create some amazing spells. You can mix and match spells potentially come up with some deadly combinations that will help take out your opposition much more efficiently. If you are more of a soldier type where you like to get in your enemy’s face and do melee attacks then you can also do a lot of customization. Every piece of clothing, weapon and accessory that you pick up can be used in some way. Every item can be dismantled so that you get its elemental parts. So, for example, if you dismantle a shield you might get two pieces of iron and two pieces of wood. You can then utilize the crafting system and use those same pieces of iron and wood to upgrade your weapon.
This system is fantastic as it makes everything you pick up useful. If you are fighting a group of thugs be sure to loot their body once you beat them. You might end up picking up five of the same sword, in which case you can simply dismantle them and use that steel later for upgrades. The amount you can upgrade will also depend on the progression your character has taken in terms of leveling up. You need to make sure that your crafting skill is up to par so that you can forge some of the higher end weapons. As you go through the game you will level up and earn both attribute and skill points. Your attribute points will go to either endurance, strength, accuracy or willpower. For my character I did mostly strength which allowed me to decimate enemies as I got to the later stages of the game. You can use your skill points to upgrade your assassin, crafting, mage, ranger, warrior and general skills. You have total control over how your character levels up. It is a nice system that RPG enthusiasts should definitely appreciate.
In addition to the single player campaign there is also a multiplayer campaign that is completely different. You can play with up to seven of your friends in the multiplayer campaign and there are some key differences from the single player portion. First off, the multiplayer campaign is not open world. Instead it is broken down into instances similar to how MMOs do things. You’ll go through one chapter with your friends and then once you are done you are taken to the next one. It’s a lot more linear but by doing it this way it makes sure there is a lot of action taking place and you aren’t spending your time traveling across the massive world. Apart from the multiplayer campaign you also have a deathmatch mode, a crystal capture mode, a duel mode and a village mode. Village mode is really interesting as it is a real time strategy hybrid. In this mode players can create and operate an entire village. You need to be sure to keep your citizens happy by taking care of everyone and making sure your village has adequate protection. This mode alone could add a lot of replayability to the title for people. The catch here is that you need to earn 10,000 auras (in-game currency) in order for Village mode to open up. While this does encourage people to try out the multiplayer modes it is also a bit annoying that I couldn’t experience this mode right off the bat.
The fact of the matter is that despite all of the technical shortcomings I have had a lot of fun with Two Worlds II. There were times when I wasn’t playing it where I couldn’t wait to get back and complete that next quest or try and fight that last boss that beat me. The world is absolutely massive and it is something that will keep completionists busy for a long time. With both the single player and multiplayer campaigns, in addition to all of the other multiplayer modes and the RTS mode, Two Worlds II has a ton of replayability. If you are a RPG fan I would definitely recommend trying out this title. If you can look past the technical pitfalls you will find a really entertaining game. Two Worlds II is a pretty amazing turnaround from the first game so please don’t let the reputation of the original title keep you from this game. Be sure to try it out for yourself. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Originally posted on Totally Gaming Network