Hands up if you like Oblivion: Elder Scrolls? If so, then Two Worlds II is going to certainly tickle your gaming taste buds. The game plays in a very similar manner, with wide open interactive worlds and addictive gameplay. Compared to the first, it is a huge improvement, but we aren’t sure if that is such a difficult task.
Two Worlds II is not a perfect game, there are problems. It won’t ever replace Elder Scrolls, but in fairness it is a pretty fun title. That said, you wouldn’t expect it after playing the game initially, as the first section of gameplay is slow and clunky. Our hero has to escape from the grasps of Gandohar, the stereotypical bad guy without a hint of humanity. Sadly, the game is ponderous at this stage, with badly balanced enemies and a player with less power than our milkman. Combat is not impressive either as the targeting system can stray off course, meaning that keyboard mashing is the order of the day.
After a few hours (yes its a tough job being a game reviewer) the game starts to slowly pick up steam, with interesting scripting and a slightly faster pacing. After another couple of hours, it was almost impossible to quit. The character picks up some combat capabilities and the enemies can be dispatched with a little skill.
One thing I like about Two Worlds II is the developers sense of humour, I can imagine the designers having a chuckle with some of the voice acting and dialogue, so incredibly over the top it is hard not to laugh out loud at some of the interchanges between characters. What it lacks in production value, it more than makes up for with humour and individuality.
Reality Pump have tried to steer this game into giving the players as much freedom as possible, to suit particular game styles. If you make a mistake in your characters development, you can even visit a ‘Soul Patcher’ to re specify your character. There is plenty of depth in character progression and a huge variety of weapons and abilities to choose from.
I particularly like the concept of being able to strip down weapons and armor to their component parts, which can be used to upgrade other items to suit your play style. Alchemy has been introduced which allows the players to combine literally thousands of ingredients and plants to create a huge variety of potions. Health potions, speed potions and strength potions are all possiblities. Heck, we even created one which allowed us to jump onto the top of buildings! The developers don’t punish players for mixing ingredients randomly either, which can lead to some interesting results.
Sadly, it is not all good. The user interface and inventory system is poorly handled making it almost impossible to manage in any coherent manner. This also makes it easy to accidentally sell a particularly good item you were holding onto when you enter into trading.
Graphically the game is fair, there are some poor animations throughout, but the texture quality isn’t too bad. Combat is a little hit and miss at times, although some higher production games don’t seem to fare any better in this regard.
In game navigation is reasonably well handled, although a more accurate system would have helped. You get a pointer in the direction you need to travel which should cover most bases, but we wanted something a little more detailed at times to help with particular missions.
The single player game is long, offering the usual array of hunt, search and kill missions we all expect but there is also a rather interesting multiplayer section. The online mode is handled completely seperately from the single player game, and you need to select a brand new character. There is more freedom offered for the online persona, selecting from a mixture of races and even the ability to play as a female character if the desire is there.
Online cooperative mode is where the online area shines, players can join a team of eight to tackle a wide array of sidequests. A little more work was needed, especially with the matchmaking, as some groups won’t play with low level characters, so you can get kicked offline if you try and join. I had a lot of fun online however, especially once I managed to get my character levelled up a little and opened the door to more sessions with higher level characters.
Competitive modes aren’t quite as good as matchmaking issues rear their ugly head again. Spawning in front of a much higher level character can often end in an instant death situation which is hardly fun to play.
Earning money has benefits, because you can buy your own village, which you have to maintain and improve. I still haven’t tried this yet, but hopefully in the next week I can update this page with my experiences.
Two Worlds II is a significantly better game than the first title. Sadly the initial couple of hours may put off a lot of people who aren’t forced to review it for a publication! If players can stick with it however, the game opens up into a rather exciting and entertaining world with a lot of creative ideas which can reward. After five hours of gaming I was totally addicted and am still playing right now. It certainly isn’t perfect, and there are issues in a lot of areas, but the underlying game is strangely addictive and rather charming.