"Second Time is not the Charm"
When Two Worlds II was first announced I was a bit shocked. When I played the first one, I got very frustrated with the controls, so I didn’t think this game would get a second chance. Obviously, I was wrong. The developers, Reality Pump Studios and Topware, said they were going to fix the issues from the first Two Worlds, which they did, but then a lot of new ones came up.
The opening cutscene brings you up to date and helps set the stage for players who did not play (or complete) the first game. You learn that some orcs survived and what happened to our hero. I thought this was a good way to make players not feel like they should have played the first one to get into the story. Once you get past the cutscenes, you can customize the character to a certain extent. There were a ton of options to customize him, but some were hard to see, like the eye color - I just went with the darkest one I found so I could actually see his eyes. Modifying other features didn’t seem necessary, such as a broken nose or the nostril width (who cares how wide your nostrils are? not your nose - your nostrils!).
- The orcs have a mission for you -
Once you complete the character customization, Two Worlds II continues with another cutscene where you're rescued by some remaining orcs. In the beginning, there are several cutscenes mixed in with the gameplay, and going from gaming to cutscene is abrupt and doesn’t flow well at all. You might be running along and, all of a sudden, the cutscene starts with you in mid-run. After several of these jumps, you begin to play, learning small tasks like lock-picking and just getting out of the dungeon. The orcs want to take you to the prophet. After teleporting to the island where the prophet is, you must embark on a small quest. This is how you learn the basics of fighting, ranged weaponry, and magic. Instructions are given and you have to complete them in order to move on. Unfortunately, some of the skills, if you don’t use them right away, you’ll forget them, and the guidebook doesn’t explain how to do it again.
Once you reach the prophet, she tells you that you must save your sister before Gandohar destroys the world using her to get more power. A few more basic quests to learn some more things and you’re off in the world. You can go anywhere you want or just follow the quest path; the choice is up to you. Of course, you can’t advance in the game without doing the required tasks, but you can play side quests for hours in each chapter.
Unfortunately, you probably will not want to. The camera, while much better than the last time, still has issues in Two Worlds II. If you are walking and round a corner, it “jumps” to catch up to you, so you get a feeling of slight vertigo for a moment. Button configuration to fight, block, and even draw your weapon is not easily understood, and while some actions can be configured how you want, the main ones cannot. Because of this, I kept finding myself pushing one button to pull my weapon and another one to use it, neither of which was right and got me killed several times. Casting spells was a definite pet peeve, as I would have two opponents attacking me and dying before I could cast the first spell. Also, you have amulets with cards for each type of spell. Upgrading weapons is possible, but you have to collect just the right items to do so. I never even figured out how to tell what made which weapon better, because the symbols next to them (and the armor as well) were not explained anywhere. I just guessed and hoped I was right. The map didn’t help a lot either. I would bring it up and my waypoint would be to the right, but in the game, if I started going right and checked my map again, it turns out I had gone left. It shouldn’t have been upside down.
- Get some of this! -
I also don’t like how when you discuss with someone a task ahead, the options for a reply come up, and when you pick yours, you say exactly what was on the screen before. I felt like I had just read that, and I didn’t need to hear it as well!
As far as visuals, the game looks great - very detailed and full of realistic textures, but at the same time it looks a bit grainy. Sadly, character animations, especially when they speak, are always the same, making it monotonous and not very credible. Music is well placed and fitting for the game, but the voices can be a bit loud. Plus the main character always seemed to speak louder than everyone else, which is unsettling.
I really wanted Two Worlds II to excel. I was hoping it would be the game it should have been the first time around and what we were promised it would be. However, I wish I had rented Two Worlds II instead of purchasing it. RPG fans beware!
GameDynamo's Score for Two Worlds II (X360)
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I have been gaming since I was in high school, before it was acceptable for a girl to do it. I have been a writer for even longer. It's only natural the two would combine. I prefer RPGs, action/adventure, and strategy games, but I also play dancing, sports titles, and shooters.
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