11th January 2011 - Every so often a games comes along and actually surprises me. For better, or for worse. Reality Pumps’ Two Worlds 2 (yes, a thoughtless title), is one such game. One such, that has surprised me for the better, resulting in what I would argue to be one of the most true to form and standout RPGs since the last Elder Scrolls title. Read on to find out just why this mammoth of a game is worth losing yourself in.
Its been years since ive played a game with so much content. I don’t mean value, or replayability, but I mean the outright number of different game modes, settings, matches and sheer scale. The main campaign of the game is bigger in man hours and scale than any of the top RPG franchises currently rocking consoles; Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Fallout, the list goes on. There are more missions, side missions, quests and storylines to be undertaken and involved in than most other titles, and it’s the first game since Oblivion that properly utilises handfuls of different guilds with separate story’s and characters; Fighter Guide, Thieves Guild, Mages Guild, and more. Each provides a great deal of hours playability, and furthermore, exploring a massive game world has neve been more enjoyable. Cut up into a few different islands of all different shapes and sizes, Two Worlds 2s’ universe is great; there are a good deal of unique settings, towns and expanses that offer widely varying environments; the deserts, the cities, the farming villages, the forests - its somewhat amazing in truth, and has to be experienced to be appreciated.
But it’s a shame it cant all be good, though. Where the game starts to noticeably fall short is with the main storyline. Admittedly, I never played the first title more than a few hours, so I am uncertain if the story here is dragged over from the last. But nonetheless, it doesn’t change the fact that this titles storyline is a shocker. For a fantasy game with such a great deal of lore, it’s a shame to see what could easily be a great tale turned into a slop fest with limits on the care factors, and locks on the doors to creativity. That said though, once you get the hang of the harsh game world, you wont much care for the story. But alas, the smaller parts that make up the overarching fable, and the offset side quests generally have more engaging tales that will actually have you interested.
Two Worlds 2 also has a hard time keeping up with competition in terms of its controls. Like I said before, the game has a hell of a lot of content, so its kind of predictable it would fail to all play out perfectly. The controller scheme tries to keep the action fluent, but apart from the great Left and Right Trigger main combat scheme, the majority of the special moves and more so the weapon-set changing mechanics are terribly difficult to get used to. Its what could be described as a mix between traditional RPG combat mechanics like those in Dragon Age: Origins, and the more action oriented elements of Fable. Once you get a hand of it, and get your head around the confusing weapon-set system, the action and combat here is wonderful. You are given options to play how you want; archer, mage, assassin or simple warrior. Top of these possible ways of play with a load of unique skill sets for each, and even more with things like weapon forging, shield casting and a great alchemy mechanic, and Two Worlds 2 has everything you could want in an RPG.
The single player may be an adventure of somewhat epic proportions, but that wasn’t what got me by surprise with this game. The surprise came in the form of the what the multiplayer had to offer. The character/s you play with in multiplayer are separate from that in the campaign. Here, you get the choices of race and gender that aren’t offered in the main story, and the levelling, money and skills are all character sensitive.
Able to be played are a range of more typical (however, not for an RPG…) game modes like deathmatch, but the true value lies with the wholly separate co-operative campaign, which is a somewhat lengthy story, which while it suffers from the same fate as bad writing as the main game, is a great way to play with up to 7 other players in large scale battles and areas. You get a good few hours out of this mode, but its truly a wonder to play and replay with other new players and to lend a hand to new coming friends.
Furthermore, let me tell you about a little something extra thrown into the game package called Village Mode. Village Mode is a yet again separate mode that works in conjunction with your unique multiplayer characters, and see’s you becoming a Mayor and founder of a small village, in which you must defend, work on, ear money for, build up and run. Its almost a simulator of sorts, with micromanagement mechanics, and a working economy. The more you spend, the better it gets, the more populated it becomes, and the more you can purchase and upgrade new and old buildings, starting the whole upgrading and populating business over again. It takes a lot of time in and out of the village, working in other multiplayer matches and adventures to earn enough to run a good town, and really gives you reason to keep on playing the games online modes.
It’s a shame to come down from such a high of discussing the plethora of gameplay modes and mechanics to talking about Two World 2s’ graphical prowess. Its widely known that the first game has some of, if not the worst graphics of this generation. This one isn’t much better. Well, it is quite a bit better than the original, but its still a few holes below par when comparing to other top-tier games these days. Don’t get me wrong, im impressed at how good the textures and scenery is for such a big game, but I happen to have a high standard in what constitutes for good visuals after some of last years releases - even the lesser ones.
Down the track a little more, or if you’re like me and jump around a lot in RPG’s, you will soon find that Two Worlds 2 is also riddled with glitches. Things like getting stuck between doors, behind rocks, and floating, seemingly mid-jump as you slide around the ground at super speeds. Its all here in Two Worlds 2, possibly more than what a standard RPG should include.
The musical score here is quite good. It’s a typical fantasy RPG score that rings of ‘epic’ and ‘important’ with every note, and while its certainly not on par with Mass Effect or Halo, its very suited the game, making every battle and confrontation, and even the wide explorations in-between all the more enjoyable.
That’s more than I can say for the voice work though. I don’t know if its okay to laugh at games that try to be serious or not, but due to some of the bad translations from what I assume is the fault of Polish developer Reality Pump its hard not to chuckle at the mispronounced English words and off-putting vocal changes that make it hard to tell what emotion the character is supposed to be representing. Is he angry, or happy? Or, wait, is that horny? Probably the latter, but who knows in this game, epically with the monotone main character, with a voice which rivals the boredom of Steven Segal with lack of emotion or pitch. Play with subtitles, and it takes the script even further into the funny zone. Misspelt words and bad grammar make it hard to see if it was typed that way for the voice actors, and the subtitle writer couldn’t quite hear what was being said, or how.
Remember how I said it was a very traditional RPG? Well now you can see why; it has a lot of flaws, but in areas which don’t quite matter in this genre. Not many expansive RPG’s have particularly great graphics, yet they usually make up for the lack of visual prowess with a ton of wonderful gameplay mechanics and unique playability options. Two Worlds 2 perhaps takes both the good and bad to the extreme. That’s to say, look past its rough exterior and steep learning curve, and there is more quantity of superior quality here than most titles can shake a stick at. With great character development, both on and offline, and a slew of highly enjoyable and surprisingly great multiplayer modes, Two Worlds 2 has to be the best value for money ive seen in a long time from a retail game.
Some will not like this game, that’s a given. Some will simply ignore it from its predecessors reputation and from initial screen shots. Take a leap of faith and give it an honest shot though, and no RPG fan could deny what this offers is second to none. She may not be the prettiest girl at the prom, but she’s got the best personality and the coolest parents. That is to say, don’t be such a shallow gamer and get in on one of the most genuinely interesting gaming gems and classic-feeling RPGs that consoles have to offer.
AAG SCORE: 8/10
+ Amazing game world
+ Loads of unique and interesting features
+ Magnificent multiplayer modes
+ Huge campaign mode
- Uglier than a sack of potatoes
- Humorously bad vocal work and script
Reviewed and Written By John Elliott