|System: X360, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: 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: Aug. 23, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-8||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by D'Marcus Beatty
Jan. 30, 2007 - The Elder Scrolls series has really done a great job in making the open world RPG and the infinite possibilities that lie therein palatable for the masses. While there are unquestionably a number of people that still faithfully play their copies of Oblivion, and while PS3 owners are eagerly anticipating their chance, some Xbox 360 players and PC owners might be looking for a new open world experience. This opens the door wide for Two Worlds, a game that follows confidently in Oblivion's footsteps.
Two Worlds is similar to the latest Elder Scrolls adventure in a number of ways. You have the ability to create and customize a character, although you will be limited to a strictly human character for the purpose of the story. However, you can choose between a male and female character and tweak his/her appearance as you see fit. You also have the freedom to choose how you will complete the numerous quests that are presented to you. You can choose whether you are an honorable individual or you can choose to be an evil anti-hero. You can also choose which quests to try as well as what order you'll attempt them in. However, after these elements are considered, in combination with the open fantasy world, the similarities to Oblivion stop. Mostly.
One unique addition to the formula that Two Worlds adds is the fact that your character must eat and sleep. If your character goes too long without eating, he/she begins to steadily lose health until the inevitable death. This adds a realistic urgency to the game, requiring the gamer to constantly make sure that the character is fed regularly. Your character also must sleep consistently or their skills begin to suffer. Magic users find that their spells aren't as effective, and warriors aren't able to deal damage as efficiently as they could if they were well-rested.
Like Oblivion, Two Worlds' combat will be in real-time, (no comma) with magic, swords, bow and arrows, and a number of other medieval weapons. However, these weapons are all upgradeable, allowing the player to make their initial weapons useful long after most other RPGs would have you discard or sell them. Magic is based on a card system, like card-based RPGs, that allows you to stack spells on top of each other to magnify and multiply effects. One very unique application of this is that you can create and name spells, and if you are the first gamer to upload the spell for others, the spell will always retain your name.
There is also a reputation feature in effect for gameplay. Similar to Fable, as the character progresses in fame or notoriety, more people will know about you, which will give you influence with a group of individuals while it might alienate you from another group. Also, you must achieve a certain level of reputation before you are able to meet with the more important characters. A starting character definitely won't be able to waltz into a castle to have an audience with the king.
Two Worlds also has a growth system for the character's abilities that is unique. Instead of gaining abilities by practice, you can only grow by being taught. This requires you to seek out mentors to teach you the various levels of skills, including magic and combat and some passive abilities. One talent that must be learned is horse-riding, which, at higher levels, offers the option for horse-back combat, an ability that was sorely missed in Oblivion.
Perhaps the most distinct feature of Two Worlds is its multiplayer element. Two Worlds has a single player quest, but it also has a number of quests that can be played online with eight other players. The multiplayer missions are different from the single player missions and add tremendous replayability to an already enormous game. Your character isn't the same as the single player game, so you must create a new character, this time with the ability to choose from more races. Two Worlds is also a game that will benefit from the Microsoft's Live Anywhere feature, so that players on the Xbox 360 can quest with PC owners.
The visuals in Two Worlds are already looking incredible with beautifully detailed environments and realistic animation. There are great weather effects in the game, and incredible attention to interactive details that should go a long way towards making the experience immersive. For example, a fire spell in a field will actually scorch away an area of grass! Grass and snow are also expected to deform beneath your feet as your character moves across the landscape, and avalanches even are possible in snowy areas.
Two Worlds is shaping up to be a possible successor to Oblivion's throne. By taking the formula that the Elder Scrolls series made famous and adding online play, Two Worlds has piqued the interest of gamers looking outside of Tamriel for adventure. Look for Two World to converge in early 2007.
CCC Co-Site Director