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.
The central storyline offers enough impetus to continue through the game, but it’s certainly not going to have you sitting on the edge of your seat. That said, it’s briefly interesting at times and some of the characters are genuinely unique, which is more than you can say for most fantasy games.
Two Worlds 2’s more important story elements are dynamic. It’s about the player creating his/her own story during the play experience. It’s hard not to craft your own tale automatically when romping through the forests and slaying wild beasts. Two Worlds 2 helps this idea along in some really neat, occasionally brilliant ways.
Early in the game I walked into a town I had to pass through to get to another city. The town was destitute and starving due to a recent drought. As I came to the gate to the next town I was told I’d need official papers to pass through. I left to try to figure out what that meant when a man approached me, telling me he could supply what I needed…for a hefty price tag. All of this seems completely ho-hum so far, but what happened next was legitimately brilliant open-world game design.
The son-of-a-gun made off with my money!
I was annoyed at first, and I vowed to hunt him down and put an arrow in his back. I continued walking around the town until I met another person offering a similar service. This time, I was at least a little less surprised when the guy made off with my money and locked himself inside his house. These weren’t glitches in the game code though. They were storytelling moments meant to pull me into the world. You can tell the player fifty times that the town is starving and desperate, but it was far more effective to involve me in the town’s struggles, making me a personally-affected victim of the town’s desperation.
Two Worlds 2 has some amazing moments that I won’t soon forget, but it’s still such a mess in some ways. The online modes are also potentially cool and unique, however they’re completely unbalanced. There’s next to no matchmaking in the dueling mode and the match is an instant landslide if the players are more than one level apart. However, there is some fun to be had with the group quests. You can gather up to eight players online to run chains of quests together. This mode is fun, but to a limited degree. Plus, the small amount of players online right now makes it kind of hard to get good games going.
Two Worlds 2 is an improvement, but not a complete success. It still has many areas that need a lot of work, but if you can get over those parts then you’ll have a good time exploring the rich, vibrant game world. Reality Pump has gone a long way since Two Worlds 1, and they’ve got a long way to go still. But Two Worlds 2 is a definite step in the right direction. Let’s just hope that the original Two Worlds didn’t damage the series’ reputation to the point that people are wary to try Two Worlds 2.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.5 Graphics
They’re not the most high-res graphics ever rendered, and the character models aren’t always great, but the world is absolutely beautiful. 3.0 Control
They’re not the most high-res graphics ever rendered, and the character models aren’t always great, but the world is absolutely beautiful. 3.3 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Two Worlds 2 has some pretty poor voice acting, but the soundtrack is decent yet bland fantasy fare. 4.0 Play Value
There’s tons of content here, and a huge amount of depth for those who really want to dig in to the experience. There a big world to explore and just traversing it is a joy. 3.9 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid
|2.5 – 2.9 = Average
|3.5 – 3.9 = Good
|4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor
|3.0 – 3.4 = Fair
|4.0 – 4.4 = Great
|5.0 = The Best