|System: PC, PS3, Xbox 360|
|Dev: Reality Pump|
|Pub: Topware Interactive|
|Release: January 25, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Andrew Groen
Let's get this out of the way right at the start: Two Worlds 2 is better than the original. So, if any of you out there were cringing at the thought of another Two Worlds, you can rest a little easier. Developer Reality Pump seems to have addressed this sequel humbly, with an eye to their own failures on the first Two Worlds. The second game is better in many ways that matter quite a bit, but it's also still faltering in a few key ways as well. The result is a game that I can recommend, but with an asterisk.
Two Worlds 2 is a far more technically-sound game than its predecessor. Where the first game had a huge number of severe graphical glitches, the second game has next to none. However, that doesn't mean that the game is even close to perfect. But it gets the really important things right, and that's what matters. The low points of the game weren't enough to keep us from enjoying the highs.
All you really need to know about Two Worlds 2 is that it gets open-world exploration just right. I'm a huge fan of open-world games, and the world of Two Worlds 2 is just gorgeous. It's a joy to behold, and magnificent to traverse. Here's the trouble though: if you're not someone who has fun just exploring a virtual world, then there probably isn't enough here to engage you. Unfortunately, a lot of the other support structures that hold up most games aren't functioning all that well here.
For instance Two Worlds 2's combat system is generally pretty clunky. The combat system is a hybrid of three different styles, which makes it unique enough to be interesting for a while. The first style is your run-of-the-mill sword wielder. Then there's also archery and magic-casting. It's nice to have all three of these systems available on the fly (you can switch between weapon and armor sets instantly by assigning them to the D-Pad). However, none of them are particularly good.
The swordplay is frustratingly inaccurate, and hazardous to your health since blocking only prevents 60% of the incoming damage. (It can be upgraded later.) The magic system is deep, but also complicated. I barely grasped the mechanics of creating and casting spells. The system is inventive, but it will take a dedicated player to dig into it. Archery is the third class of combat, and it's probably the best. It's the only type I ever had very much fun with. It's not perfect, but it works well enough. Players draw the bow string with the right trigger then add modifiers like multishot or fire arrow for devastating effects.
The graphics however, are really quite good. You wouldn't expect a game like this to push the boundaries so much for open world games, but it's uniformly gorgeous. I'm not talking about the surface-level "good looking" games that push polygon counts until they're blue in the face. Those games may have sleek presentation, but they're often still ugly as sin. Two Worlds 2 has a world that is colorful and lifelike. I may not have enjoyed every part of this game, but I could always take a break to run off the beaten path and just explore for a while.
The animations, though, don't do as good of a job. The game is very pretty until someone moves. Then many of the characters (including the player avatar) look ridiculous as they run and walk around. You get over it pretty quickly, but the relatively ugly character models look pretty silly when moving about.