Jeff Markiewicz On March 1, 2011 at 11:18 am

Just a couple years ago the idea of a Two Worlds II would have been met with nervous dread because of the disastrous first one. The game came out a little after open-world Bethesda RPG Oblivion and Two Worlds looked like an insanely buggy unpolished poorer version of that. A small minority swore by the title but most ran away quickly. Now a little over 3 years later, a second chance is upon the development team at Reality Pump. Despite all the negativity that surrounded the first one, they somehow managed to develop a cautious optimism around its sequel. The gaming community definitely wants to see how it turned out. Early indications are good. Can this one shed the horror of the first and compete with the big dogs?

Gandohar has returned. Your climatic battle and presumed victory in the first game did not come out so favorable. It has now been five years and you’ve been imprisoned in the dark mage’s castle. Gandohar now rules the land of Antaloor and has taken to using your sister as a conduit for his power. He also uses your strength to help sustain your sister’s life. The Orcs have tried to combat him and have nearly become extinct so they hatch a plan to rescue you from the castle on the guidance of a seer and set you off to discover the root of his power and how to overcome it. The story is simplistic and predictable. It gives you just enough driving force to push your forward and that’s about it. Even though it’s a sequel, everything you need to know is explained to you so you rarely if ever feel lost. The side quests are as similarly basic and simple. The lore of the land can be nice at times but there is little payoff for some of the worlds more interesting concepts.

Two Worlds II gets the basics of an RPG down quite well. You have three distinct classes in the warrior, ranger, and mage but it’s open-ended in how you wish to pursuit these play-styles. You can be a jack of all trades or master of just one. The first place this starts is with 4 basic attributes; endurance, strength, accuracy, and wisdom. Underneath these are your skills. Most skills require you to read a skill book to unlock and start throwing points in them. Some skills are class-specific, some are for resistances, and then some are for non-class related skills. There is stealth for silent lethal takedowns, Lock-picking and pick-pocketing for getting rich, and finally Alchemy and Metallurgy for making potions and improving your armor and weapons. Leveling up is done by killing enemies to gather experience points and completing quests. Using various skills or doing certain tasks, such as killing beasts, will net you bonus skill points. The game has a solid RPG foundation but in the other areas it gets muddy.

The game is set up within several acts that will each span a particular area of the world. The quests in all of them are quite basic though. Most of the quests fall into the categories of go here, kill everything, or deliver an item. The some that show promise, like an investigation, lead you directly to where you need to go. If you forget what to do there is a quest log but it’s pretty bad as well as the games map but even with these issues, the game leads you to your goal quite directly. The first area may feel a little open but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not an open world like Elder Scrolls or the recent Fallouts. It’s more akin to adventure titles such as Zelda and Fable, some open areas but they are always closed off and most paths are linear. Traversing the land is either by foot or with teleportation. You start with a personal teleportation device and can find places to beam to along your travels. This is another unintuitive aspect; you have to activate the device which then pulls up the same map as the normal map. So you’d look at your regular map as to where you want to go, and then have to search your backpack for the teleport to open the same map to beam out. There are two things to aid your travels on foot and at sea. These are a horse and a boat. The horse has quite possibly the worst control mechanics I have ever seen. You’re literally forced to look at a meter instead of looking at the game because if you miscalculate slightly, you’re kicked off the horse. Then you’ll probably accidently jump a couple times instead of getting back on your horse. The boat isn’t much better because you sail with the wind but at least you won’t get kicked off. On top of these annoyances, if you lose your horse or boat, you have to hunt them down at where ever you left them. There is no feature to return them to you. Luckily, loot is randomized and you’ll never find anything especially good in your travels which makes exploration largely moot except for leveling up and therefore negates really having to use the horse or boat.

There are also some very unpolished and basic systems at play within the game. In Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, the people of the world all had a day and night cycle. This helped you know when you should break into their house and steal all their goods. In Two Worlds II there is nothing close to this and whether you enter during the day or night, someone is always there. After picking enough locks, eventually they will just tell you to get out. If you’re picking a lock when they catch you, it will pull you out of the minigame and there will be an awkward stare down for several seconds. They never make an attempt to recover their stolen items. It never affects how you’re seen in the world. If you wait long enough a guard will come and if you run away, the ordeal is over. The world goes back to normal. If you sit and fight with guards for a little bit, a meter will start to fill up but it takes such a long time to get there, only the sadists who slaughter villages will see what really happens on the other side.

This game is built upon a solid RPG system but the issue really comes with it telling you how things work. The game is just not very intuitive. Some things are just not told to you or not told very well. For example the skills are located in six different pages but it didn’t dawn on me until my second level up that the three other pages were located on the other side of the screen. The quest log is pretty bad and doesn’t give very good hints as to what to do at times. On top of this the map isn’t very good at conveying where you need to go. It’s one thing not to hold a gamers hand but you should be able to gleam enough from the log and map as you what you should be doing. Other parts are just buggy. I had frequent issues with using health potions from my quick use section and caused me to die a couple times. Enemies run into walls. There are some buggy quests. With a relatively open title, some of it’s acceptable but some is not.

When you disregard all the other elements and just focus on the action and leveling up, Two World’s II can be a lot of fun. It has a decent skill arch where initially you may be running away from a pathetically sounding giant ant because it can kick your ass to a couple hours and levels later exhibiting your dominance. There are also locations such as some caves that you will have to wait until later to come back to because the enemies within are quite strong. Paired with a decent combat system for the classes, it has the basics for something you can enjoy. Will you be blown away? No. But you cannot refute that what you’ll experience is not fun.

The online component is completely separate from the single player. You even have to make a new character and choose their class but on the plus side you get more options, such as picking your race and gender. Then you get to delve into the online modes. The most basic of these is the competitive modes and they are terrible. They run the range of deathmatch and capture the flag variants and are just not fun in the slightest. The hit detection isn’t that great, the maps aren’t that good. And when you start off fresh at level 1, it’s more frustrating than fun. The real meat of the title is the adventure mode but to find it, you have to hunt through custom games or make your own. For a mode this large, you’d think it’d be the main event but instead it’s hidden behind a veil. Once you’re in the game, it’s exactly like single player but you can play with your friends or strangers. The difficulty is understandably ramped up and if you so choose, you can even play it by yourself. This is something we’ve wanted delivered in other open world titles but has finally been delivered in the unlikely location of Two Worlds II. Then once you make 10,000 auras, you can play the Village mode. Here you build your own village from the ground up, tell it what to specialize in, and have friends help you keep it secure. The adventure mode and village mode are the stars and regrettably the hardest to find and get into. Once you find them though and get a group of good friends together, they can add significantly to the life and fun of this title. The competitive game options are simply a joke.

In the opening cutscene, you’d expect the first vision of the games villain to convey one of terror and darkness but it’s ruined by a bug. The cap is flapping over his head. This was just an omen of things to come in this game. It’s not all bad though, parts of this game look great and others look not so well. When you’re on the ocean, the water looks great and the vistas are nice. At other places, typically on land, it just looks bland. When you do find a nice area, typically the effects ruin it with overly bright visuals. Characters look basic and elements are repeatedly frequently. Frame rate can drop precipitously. On the other hand, the game loads exceptionally quickly at first but moving through sectors does cause a couple second freezes. The biggest issue that bests even the technical issues is that the world does not have a cohesive feel. It feels like they slapped a couple different styles together and call it a game. In the starting area it’s like the African savanna complete with rhinos and ostriches. Then you move to the next area and you’re fighting dinosaurs. The next you’re fighting giant scorpions. Typically in games you feel like everything is in place and should be there but in this title from the enemies to the look, it just doesn’t click at times.

The sound effects convey the nature of what’s going on competently. Everything reacts how you expect it to but you’re never blown away by how they’ve done any of them. Even arrows whizzing past your head don’t sound that impressive but give you the right indication that someone’s shooting at you. The voice acting is pretty bad but it seems like they knew that and wrote dialogue that sometimes blends the lines of parody and serious which comes off as more bitter than parody mostly. The music is generic but not that bad done in the grand scheme of things. You will certainly forget about it but it does add somewhat to the overall game. Basically, the sound design is good enough and the voice acting will be tolerated.

At the beginning of this generation, Two Worlds 2 might have been near a triple A title but as this era has gone one, there has been an emphasis on two things. These things are intuitiveness and polish. When a game is intuitive, it can convey almost everything you need to learn with relative ease. When a game is polished, everything just feels right. The controls are solid and all the rough patches are smoothed over. Now considering the open nature of games like Two Worlds 2, it’s not possible to get rid of all of the bugs and polish everything to a shiny sparkle like linear titles but you expect a certain amount. When it comes to gameplay, this title has everything a role-playing title requires. Leveling up is exciting and where you want to throw your attribute and skill points are sometimes difficult considering all the avenues available. The issues come in with that it’s simply not very intuitive. Most of the features aren’t explained and more or less you stumble upon them as you continue to play. The controls on foot are fine but horseback riding is atrocious, quite possibly the worst horse controls in a game yet. Sailing isn’t much better, especially when it doesn’t reward exploration. Online cooperative campaign is nice but buried in the online menus. The story is basic and while some of the jabs at typical RPG quests can be funny, the tone of the title makes it come off as more bitter than a parody. Graphics can be nice at times but quickly marred by overdone effects and frame rate drops. Two Worlds II is incredibly better than its predecessor. The RPG system is good enough to encourage you to level up. It’s flexible to let you play however you wish. The issue is that everything is merely competent. In the face of that, the game still remains fun. The combat is fluid and engaging. It’s definitely worth a look if you’re a fan of the genre but don’t expect to be blown away.


Solid RPG foundation but drops the ball in the other categories. Fans of the genre will undoubtedly have fun but it still doesn’t come close to its competition. Story is basic and predictable.


Graphics can be nice at times but quickly marred by overdone effects and frame rate drops. Characters are basic as are the animations.


Sound effects are decent and keep you in the game. The music is generic but respectable. The dialogue on the other hand can be quite bad but tolerable.


Two Worlds II is incredibly better than its predecessor. The RPG system is good enough to encourage you to level up. It’s flexible to let you play however you wish. The issue is that everything is merely competent. In the face of that, the game still remains fun. The combat is fluid and engaging. It’s definitely worth a look if you’re a fan of the genre but don’t expect to be blown away.

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3 Responses

  1. Freaker77 says:

    Thanks for the review!

  2. Undertow says:

    Not bad of a game with such a lower budget than most games. I will pick this up for sure.

  3. Johnny says:

    Game seems very unique, well done South Peak!