Two Worlds II
“In the long run, TW2 isn’t something completely over the top and yet it is. Check it out for it’s uniqueness in this age of high budget RPGs and try something B for a change.”
Format: Xbox 360 and PC
That Something Special: 8
Starting off this review, it’s really something that developer Reality Pump has gotten this far from the original game. That really wasn’t a bad thing. I’ve heard TW1 referred to as “the poor man’s Oblivion” and it really showed. You had the mentally challenged horse mechanics, the “amazing” graphics and that janky story. Move all that aside and enter Two Worlds II. TW2 is not an Oblivion knock off, it is its’ own game. The developers listened to the fans and tried their hardest to come up with something competent for today’s RPG gamers. It really does have a heart of it’s own and I’m glad I played this game. Moving on to the review, there really is something here to discover.
Two Worlds was developed by a staff that could fit in a under a postage stamp. It’s pretty surprising that the audio came out as well as it did. To harp on the good things, the music is pretty fantastic. It features an original orchestral score as well as it’s own theme song. The music is great and the theme song kinda feels like it belongs in Leonard Mogel’s “Heavy Metal”. It really seemed to soak me in the fantasy dynamic as I hacked and grinded my way through dungeon after dungeon. Moving along, we have the Foley work and the voice acting. The Foley work seems mostly stock and more or less competent. The only thing that I could say about it is that they should have used some sounds with a little bit more low end to really harp on the devastation being inflicted from your character. The point that made me both cringe and laugh at the same time was the voice acting. I was casting a fireball at a skeleton and my character said “earth, wind, fire”. It made me laugh out loud. I don’t know if it was something that was lost in translation (it is developed by Germans) or if it was just an oversight into how funny it would come across to the player. Speaking of your character, you guy sounds like Keanu Reeves from Constantine. At some point, I think the writing team figured out how ridiculous he sounded and started giving him some over-the top action lines to help with the hilarity. Overall, the music is good, the Foley work is decent, and the voice acting is unintentionally hilarious. Honestly I can’t count on all of these elements of the game to drawing you in.
Switching around a bit, lets really harp on something that is fairly fantastic in this game. The engine that they use, the Grace engine, looks fantastic. It doesn’t do too well on the face models but it does exceptionally well on the armor and the environments. The lighting is also truly realistic. You can smack a lamp with your sword and watch the shadows move in the room. They also use something that looks like a better rendered bloom effect. When it’s early in the morning and the sun starts to rise, the light just leaves a different glow on the world than it does at noon or in the afternoon. The bump-maps they use are also put to good use and the wood and rock textures are just about realistic. I’m really surprised at even things like the water. The waves move like real water and get less clear the further down you look. It’s something you don’t see that often in games. Another thing was the creature design. Yeah, you fight raptors at one point but you also fight some of the weirdest looking monsters that I have ever fought in a fantasy rpg. They look amazing and over the top. The art department should be praised for the look and creativity of it all. Honestly, this is one of the best looking fantasy RPGs that I have ever seen. The real let down is just the animations. The characters move stiffly and the animations when your fighting is a bit strange as you woodenly club and swing your way to greatness. There is also a weird bit where the camera focus can be way off while your talking to someone. I know they were going for a bit of a film feel but sometimes it’s overbearing.
The story in TW2 is more or less standard for the fantasy genre. A redeeming moment is when it takes two twists at the end and gives you a reveal that you wouldn’t expect. It’s basically summed up like this. Your the dude from the last game and you defeated the great evil of the land in the last episode. The evil power that be, Gandohar, has captured you and your sister and is draining the power from her to keep his grip on the land. You escape and ally yourself with an unlikely party and go on a quest to determine the background of Gandohar in order to defeat him. During this adventure, you level up and upgrade your inventory. There’s those aforementioned plot twists that make it interesting at the end but really, the redeeming part of the story is that there are several factions that compile the bigger picture in this story. The story isn’t anything too special, the voice acting is terrible, but you will find yourself getting into the side quests’ stories as you level up.
In the long run, TW2 isn’t something completely over the top and yet it is. I had a small dev team and I think for what they did it’s something memorable and playable. It’s also highly addictive. That’s something I didn’t think would happen when I was playing this game. I spent three evenings glued to the Xbox hacking and slashing my way into more experience points. It features an amazing crafting design that lets you break down old equipment and enhance existing equipment into something more powerful. The UI isn’t intrusive and the spell crafting design is something of a feat. Moving on to that, spellcraft on this is something intuitive. If you want a fireball that ricochets and then summons skeletons, well you have the ability to make that. It is a bit daunting at first, so I encourage most users to do something in the way of melee combat as that, to me, ended up being the most rewarding. It also has a full featured multiplayer aspect to it. You have your standard deathmatch modes as well as an adventure mode. No other fantasy rpg has approached this with this much depth. You have the ability to go on lengthy missions with up to eight people and adventure and level up together. Since this game’s release, I’ve watched the message boards quietly praise the ingenuity of this on a console. Really, there isn’t any other games doing this to this degree. Looking back at everything, this game has a high replay value and is quite addictive. If it could iron out the weird animations, the bad voice acting, and the janky combat; I would have probably given it even more praise. Check it out for it’s uniqueness in this age of high budget RPGs and try something B for a change. Really though, it’s a B game in a good way!