Two Worlds II Review

two worlds 2

"Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief."

– William Shakespeare, Hamlet

For a role-playing game to be worth a fifty-hour time investment, there’s got to be a giant world to explore, a deep system for upgrades and customization, and more quests than you can shake dual-wielded iron long swords at. Two Worlds II has all three of these important qualities. It is not, however, worth playing for fifty hours; maybe five.

Two Worlds II is like the Evil Dead of modern RPG gaming, except that unlike B-movie horror, the game is not "so bad it’s good." While the gameplay can be hilariously off-putting and the main character’s voice registers a laughable, Dark-Knight-esque low, it takes a serious cynic with a very specific and patient sense of humor to enjoy TW2 ironically. So if it’s not funny-bad because the comedy is so thickly veiled, then it’s just bad.

Like Two Worlds, TW2 follows a young male adventurer on a quest to save the land from a fairly generic fantasy evil (named Gandohar this time around) by developing various alliances through a variety of errand-boy and go-here-kill-that missions. In terms of scope and length, the journey offers scads, nay, a baker’s dozen of scads of quests (both side and main) and one of the biggest game worlds around. The formula, in this regard, closely follows the Elder Scrolls IV tradition, but makes the tragic misstep of stiflingly sub-par gameplay supported by a deep but otherwise banal item- and skill-management system.

While the Equipment Set transference system is as pressing up, left, or right on the d-pad, there’s almost no need for it. Because of wildly fluctuating difficulty levels, only melee combat ends up being useful for the first quarter of the game. Ranged attacks are clumsy and slow to use (even when highly upgraded), and magic requires the perseverance of a MMORPG god, though the ability to augment each power with another power that’s also augmented has the potential to be incredibly empowering. Combat, the central piece of interaction in this genre aside from conversation, just disappoints, especially when coupled with the embarrassingly awful enemy AI, an example of which being the rhino you can stand directly behind and continuously slash in the ass until it dies without it ever turning to face you.

two worlds 2

One of the basic concepts in game design is the implementation of a helpful learning curve, which takes on extreme significance in RPGs with complex systems. How is the player supposed to know how to level up if they’re never told? Why does my shirt disappear in one armor set and not the other? And so forth. Although TW2 explains simple actions with a short tutorial introduction level, the player is essentially left to his/her devices in decoding the mysteries of an interface that is just strangely different enough from the norm that important commands aren’t obvious.

One thing that I absolutely loved about TW2 was its buried sense of charm. Underneath the poor mechanics, cheap character animations (putting your arms up to the side does not signal every emotion), and unnecessary length there are a few unique bits and some fun outside references. For instance, what medieval-themed RPG aside from TW2 pits the player against cheetahs, baboons, wolfmen, and velociraptors? Even the story begins to pick up a little around twenty or so hours in, and there are sparse tongue-in-cheek references to Star Wars and Indiana Jones, among others. The shame is that because of the problems that hold this game back, most players won’t get to experience these wonderful little moments of shine coming through the grimy veneer smothering this game.

Going into TW2, I had high hopes. I was open and excited for the game to be good (unlike most people who played Two Worlds), but despite the Domino’s approach to PR ("It’s not bad anymore, guys!") and the promise of the game’s sheer size, Two Worlds II didn’t do much besides bore me. Perhaps gamers with a greater attention span, a desire to delve deep into uncharted management system territory, and a whole lot of time on their hands will find the value in Antaloor’s vast plains and bustling cities, but for most, the payoff just won’t be worth the cost.

2 out of 5


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Author: Dan Crabtree View all posts by
Dan is Managing Editor for GamerNode and a freelance gaming writer. His dog is pretty great. Check him out on Twitter @DanRCrabtree.

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