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A quick and dirty hands-on impressions of Southpeak's Two Worlds II

Brad Gallaway's picture

Two Worlds II Screenshot

If you follow console games at all, it's pretty likely that you've heard of Two Worlds. Released in 2007 for PC and Xbox 360, it was quickly greeted as a colossal failure and one of the poorest pieces of software to hit retail at that time. The reviews were absolutely scathing, and the title quickly became a running joke in the industry—even a bit legendary, really.

Naturally, no one expected a sequel, however, a sequel there is. Even crazier, not only did the sequel actually get made, Two Worlds II is about fourteen bazillion times better than what they turned out the first time.

In fact, it's so much better it's not even comparable to the first game. Seriously, everything is massively, massively improved.

For realz, yo. And no, I'm not kidding.

So, here's the deal: SouthPeak sent along a copy of Two Worlds II on 360 and I've put about five or six hours into it so far. (By way of comparison, I put about fifteen minutes into the original before chucking it out the window.) I'm getting through it as fast as I can, but this is a big project. In the meantime, here's a quick and dirty breakdown for those who want to know:

  • The simplest way to describe it is that it's a third-person open-world Western-style role-playing game (RPG). It's probably most analogous to The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, although much more fast-paced, streamlined, and guided. To me, those are positive qualities that I appreciate. Does anybody really complain when a game includes a map marker indicating the location of your current goal? I know I don't.
  • The world (the parts I've seen of it, anyway) seem to be pretty enormous. Thankfully, there are teleport pads sprinkled here and there to make quick-travel a viable option, but the square footage to be explored is quite impressive. After spending a couple hours in one area, I pulled the map back to see how big the total landmass was, and it was damned huge. I hadn't even covered a majority of it.
  • The main character can equip three completely different sets of equipment at the same time and cycle between them with a quick press of the D-pad. Whipping from robes and a mage staff to a bow and arrows to a broadsword and shield in the span of a second without stopping to go into an inventory screen is totally appreciated, and is a great way of keeping the real-time action moving.
  • The crafting system reminds me a bit of a loot-whoring dungeon crawler crammed into a different kind of RPG world, but it totally works. Every piece of equipment dropped by enemies can either be used or broken down into component parts, so weaker dupes of stuff you already have can actually serve a purpose besides being sold for gold. Have four extra +1 swords? Break them all down into iron and steel, and use those materials to give another weapon a huge damage upgrade. It really gives a different spin to the item collection.
  • Apparently the magic system allows for a crazy variety of player-defined spells. I've seen a little bit of it so far, but I don't have enough of the components to actually see the full scope yet. At this point I can change the elements of my spells (ice/fire/water) and the nature of the spell (bolt/area blast) but not much else. Still, it's easy to see how flexible the system can be once I start collecting more goods.

That's about it for now—I'm still really early in the game so I can't say much more than the quick observations above (estimated completion time without sidequests is around 20hrs, I'm told) but as someone who is a fan of this style of game, I definitely appreciate the tweaks and choices on display. It's a little rough presentation-wise, but it's all easily forgiven in light of the cool bits I'm seeing.

More impressions to come, but if you're the kind of person who's interested in an open-world RPG but felt a little lost, bored, or overwhelmed with Oblivion, this one is definitely worth a look.

Category Tags
Platform(s): Xbox 360   PS3   PC  
Developer(s): Reality Pump  
Series: Two Worlds  
Genre(s): Role-Playing  

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Thanks, Brad!

I really wanted to pick this game up, but few reviews had surfaced and I really wanted to read a review by a writer whose work I'm familiar with, and get the scoop on this game.

Now, I understand this isn't a review, but it's very informative, plus it was your review of "Risen" (another RPG, which I admittedly never got around to playing) that made me start to really respect your work. So your thoughts on the latest third person western RPG matter...which is why I picked the game up today.

If it's even 40% as good as Oblivion, I'll love it. I never played Two Worlds, though, so I won't have that wonderful feeling of comparison.

Thanks for the kind words,

Thanks for the kind words, Sakilla.

PLMK how you like the game... Reactions seem to be mixed (mostly lower scores from folks who seem to require top-level polish before enjoying anything) but i'm having a blast with it.

Since you ponied up the cash, i hope you are too! = )

Thanks for the quick and dirty review.

Thanks, Brad, for posting this so quickly. I got back into gaming right around the time that "Two Worlds" came out and I had the "pleasure" of playing this game (for about 15 minutes) before I had to put it down. And by "put it down", I mean, "vociferously argue with a Game Stop employee that this game was so bad that they had to take it back and give me a refund" (which, to their credit, they did).

Anyway, I've scoped out some of the reviews that are up already for this sequel, but I wanted to see what you would write before I made my decision. I don't always agree with you (I found "Alpha Protocol" to be great fun despite the obvious bugs and low production quality), but I always respect the fact that your reviews are quite thoughtful.

That said, I think I may go out and pick up Two Worlds II this weekend.

Thanks again!



My thoughts...

First off, that is the magic of gift cards! They made taking the plunge even easier!

Second, polish is beginning to matter to me less and less. Granted, polish and slick graphics and all that is always nice, but my favorite game of 2010 was Nier, and I'm working through Deadly Premonition (because of you guys). And although the game is a piece of garbage in so many ways, the good stuff (characters, story, music, writing) is beyond my wildest dreams.

Finally, I've put a few hours into Two Worlds 2, and although I haven't seen TOO much, I love the game. It's very fun, and I see the potential for it becoming just great, once it opens up more. And even though the main character comes off as kind of a jerk, I really am digging his voice actor, as long as I don't take him too seriously.

Two Worlds II

Just picked this game up on Tuesday and started it in earnest a couple days ago. I already tweeted you the other day that I didn't care much for the horse mechanics but the game overall so far seems pretty interesting. I love the crafting system.

The graphics aren't terribly advanced but the backgrounds are rich and there always seems to be a lot going on around you in cities, etc. The voice acting so far at times is pretty painful to listen to. I find much of it stiff and wooden. And, frankly speaking, a Canadian accent (which is what many of the voice actors apparently have) seems weirdly out of place given the Middle Ages type of setting. ;) It reminds me of the American accent the protagonist assassin in Assassin's Creed had. And that game was set in the Middle East during the crusades! Jarring, to say the least! :D Last time I checked, Canadian and American accents did not yet exist during these aforementioned periods of history. ;)

But yeah the game looks and feels big. There appears to be a decent amount of loot and the overall story so far seems OK. I'm really not far enough into it to provide many more observations just yet.

Like Risen, it's not a game that's going appeal to people who demand slick production values. The lip-synching at times is poor. Reading the subtitles I've already caught a number of spelling mistakes and there are lines of dialogue that don't really make sense. Some of the transitions from cutscenes to action are extremely jarring and messy in graphical terms. Risen and Oblivion both had great voice acting and some decent writing. This game the writing is ok but seems to have too much exposition at times.

But I think if a person can overlook these kinds of things they probably will find the game an enjoyable and rewarding experience overall. :)

Looking forward to this

As one of the few people in the world who really enjoyed the first installment, I'm looking forward to this next week. Let's hope they haven't ruined it with this sequel, eh? ;-)

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