Two Worlds II Review

2014-10-25_00013I have gathered quite a few games I still technically own on other systems, but purchased them on PC to both revisit them, and to have a copy handy after I put away my consoles for… Well, forever most likely.  That said, I do not have as much free time as I did a few years ago, and feel as if I should get out a review a week, so I only got thirty hours into this game I had previously beaten, and was getting bored with it on top of that.  I still have quite a few things to day, so I’ll just jump right ahead and get on with it.

Two Worlds II Review
Platforms: PC(Reviewed), Xbox 360, PS3
Developer: Reality Pump
Publisher: Topware Interactive

Well, first I feel I should talk about something PC specific about the game.  Namely the DRM, which makes me want to plead to all who are interested in the game to get the GOG version, and not the Steam one.  As the game requested my blasted address before it would let me play it.  It’s odd enough to me that a code was required to activate the game when it was sold through Steam, but I have never felt worse starting up a game that I wanted to play, and did so for thirty hours.2014-07-21_00001

However, during that time I did not get very far in the game’s story, and got halfway through it if my memory serves me right.  Yet during that time the overall question of what the blazes I am suppose to be doing, why, and how were questions I never felt were answered.  Even after looking up some information about the prior title, I was confused as to what was going on come the prologue, let alone if the main character was the same.  But for whatever reason he is assumed to be the only one who can save a bunch of orcs who then decide to send him to a savannah, an Asian college, and a swamp for reasons that were remarkably easy to simply gloss over.2014-10-25_00002

Though the later two are only from memory and what I did go through was the largest of the three areas, and it certainly did not make me feel as if I simply had forgotten a grand story.  While the title does attempt grandeur at certain point, it peaks when being silly, almost resembling a parody of modern- or I suppose that era anyways, of Western action RPGs.  Two Worlds II is a game wherein you play as a devilish sounding man who convinces a drunkard he is the ghost of his mother, kills a bunch of poo flinging baboons, and often spouts sarcastic quips when he is not giggling after murdering some wolfmen.2014-10-26_00007

Looking past a slew of basic quests that one would expect from delivery boy to achieving ancient artifacts, to fighting satan for a bit, it is easy to miss something that is very much not the center point of Two Worlds II, but rather shines as something more akin to that of Saints Row than any form of epic high fantasy adventure.  It is potential alone, mind you, as the game does not continue down this shakily constructed path if my three year old memory of the game is not that obscured, which is something of a shame, as I feel I would be able to forgive a lot more about the game then.2014-10-24_00005

If my frequent use of the word action before did not tip you off, there is quite a bit of combat in Two Worlds II, namely with melee, magic, and bows, which are useful in that order.  Melee is great for trapping a single foe against a wall, where hammering RT can result in them falling quickly if LT is held and a rechargeable special move is pressed on occasion.  Magic uses a complicated series of cards that can combine together in order to create new spells, although they only become useful when you know what you are doing and have both invested multiple skill points into it and gathered a fortune’s worth of cards.  Before that, you are mostly stuck with homing elemental bolts.  While bows fire infinite arrows, often very slowly so they miss the target, and have a notable charge time.2014-10-25_00003

There is undoubtedly a very present level of jank in Two Worlds II’s combat system, while being a mix of a walk in the park and requiring the player to put away their weapons and wait for the auto heal to kick in as they avoid enemy attacks, or use potions like a chump.  It does function, but the best means of damage per second is melee, which feels incredibly broken, at least on the medium difficulty.  With the only reason not to use it being how hammering RT is a good way to get a sore index finger.2014-10-22_00021

Still, I was rather intrigued by the game’s inventory system.  While not presented all that well in my opinion, the dismantling of obtained items in order to free up space and using those item materials to improve equipment is something I am surprised I could not name another example of, aside from certain weapons in Darksiders II.  Still, the ratio of item value to output for dismantling only grows more different as the game goes on, making the best option to disassemble everything you get in the first couple of levels in order to then have a stockpile of every material.  That said, for a game that requires so much inventory management for this system to be needed, I was pretty dissatisfied with the inability to sort items around to my own liking, causing me to accidentally dismantle my unequipped bow more than a few times.2014-10-27_00006

Another minor, but still notable irritation I had was with the game’s general look, as so much of it blurs based on the main character’s distance from objects, and the camera’s sway was very distracting.  I eventually learned of a console command, engine.hdr=0, to remove this filter, which led to many faulty looking horizons and awkward loading, as one should have expected, but I would not say that it very much diminished the game’s graphical details, which often look a bit haphazardly arranged.  While there are many environments that clearly had a lot of time and effort placed into them, the game still can look remarkably cheap with certain effects as it tries to actually deviate from more standard settings, as I briefly noted.2014-10-28_00002

Unfortunately, the Savannah I explored was pretty much a big field with a few ostriches, giant ants, and a pretty run of the mill set of areas that were only notable in their drab color and house proportions.  For an environment I spent nearly thirty hours in, it really is not that interesting, to the point where a surprisingly well designed cave can be a change of scenery, assuming the map system recognizes it as a cave, and it is one that the player can actually escape from without needing to have certain magic cards, or items to create a potion. Which you very likely would not have, as it takes a while before the game starts giving the player quality resources, most of which are hidden behind locked containers that, despite not even being 50% done with the game were almost exclusively Master locks that still offered a prize of more or less random quality.2014-10-23_00014

Perhaps it is due to how I walked away from the title before my patience ran out, as I could feel it ticking away as I played it, but I actually found Two Worlds II to be pretty admirable as a whole.  When looking at it from a distance, it is a solid, if not a bit slapdash, title that does house more than a few elements to it that actually did peak my interest.  While neither here nor there for most of the, it strikes me as a framework to something special, though not even being much of a jack of all trades either, more like an eight or so.  Part of me does want to leave a bit of a recommendation, but unless you are designing a game and wish to learn from this awkwardly named title, I’d point you in another direction.

Alright (6.5/10)
By no means something that must be played, but not entirely worth pushing aside forever.  The title is ultimately above average and keeps the good balanced with the bad by a noticeable enough margin to still be worth picking up.

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