|System: X360, PC, PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Reality Pump / TopWare Interactive||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SouthPeak Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: October 5, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 (2+ Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by J. Matthew Zoss
Its likely that you never played the original Two Worlds. If you did, theres a good chance that you didnt like it much. Unquestionably, Two Worlds was a deeply flawed game. The reviews ranged from passable all the way down to simply awful, thanks to plenty of bugs and quirks that rubbed critics and gamers the wrong way. But despite the games many problems, it did well enough to warrant a sequel. Clearly, with a game so troubled, any improvements to the formula were bound to make Two Worlds II better than the original. But will they make the game good enough to be worth your time?
We recently got our hands on the game and have to give Two Worlds II some credit. This is one ambitious game. Like the original, its a massive open-world game in the vein of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Pulling off this style of game alone is tough, and Two Worlds II has some additional twists to make things even more complex. First of all, Two Worlds II is a class-free game. You wont be forced into a familiar fantasy archetype. You can make a character with any sort of combination of skills you like. Fighter Mages are an option, but you can get even more creative, making a stealthy magical assassin or a tank-like brawler with incredible crafting skills. Its completely up to you.
Speaking of crafting, Two Worlds II has one of the most impressive crafting systems weve ever seen. Not only can you customize nearly every piece of equipment you have, you can even take items you find and break them down into raw materials. Want to make some new boots? Use the leather from an old shield and laces from a tunic. Its a really cool idea that we havent seen many times before, and it only gets more impressive when you start messing around with magical spells.
We had a chance to check out the spell-crafting first hand, and its definitely an involved and potentially awesome experience. We started with a simple projectile spell, but added new aspects to it until it became something, much greater. You can add elemental aspects to spells, physics behaviors, and more. You can add effects to spells that cause them to lock onto, targets, split upon impact, or bounce around like a ball. After playing around with the crafting system, our simple projectile became a flaming ball of doom that split into multiple projectiles on contact and summoned an undead warrior to fight at our side!
Of course, there are limits on how many effects you can stack onto a single spell, and the bigger the spell you create, the more mana it requires. Then, theres the challenge of actually crafting the spell. The interface was a little confusing at first, and it took us several tries to get the spell we actually wanted. According to the SouthPeak rep at our demo, certain elements in the interface are still being tuned, but with the release date right around the corner, were not sure how much will change before the game is released.
Wed be happy to say that a complex inventory system is the biggest flaw we encountered in the gameplay, but unfortunately that isnt the case. When playing as a fairly standard magic user, queuing up spells felt a little sluggish, and it was often difficult to tell when our spells were damaging enemies. Playing as a melee-based warrior, the delay between button press and attack felt even more pronounced. The time between pulling the trigger and the on-screen characters attack was roughly half a second, making the game feel a bit more like a PC MMO than a console action RPG.
Despite the sluggish feel of the combat, Two Worlds II does seem like a significant improvement over the original game. Sure, we saw a few other rough edges in our demo, such as some collision issues and a few bad textures. Plus, theres plenty of content we didnt get to check out, such as the multiplayer modes. But overall, Two Worlds II looks like it has the potential to be a reasonably solid game. One thing is for sure, it will definitely be a step in the right direction for the franchise!
J. Matthew Zoss
CCC Freelance Writer