In many ways, Two Worlds was always on a hiding to nothing. The original RPG was released in the shadow of the mighty Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, which is still generally acknowledged to be the finest ever game in the genre.
Although it had a huge map and tons of engaging side quests, there was too much about the original Two Worlds that was mediocre. As fate would have it, Two Worlds II has emerged just ahead of Elder Scrolls: Skyrim – and clearly, TopWare has tried its utmost to improve significantly on its first outing.
Your (male-only) protagonist begins in captivity, imprisoned by an evil emperor who drains his sister of the energy of the fire god possessing her. Once you’re helped to escape, revenge and rescue are your character’s twin motivations – and once again, the kingdom of Antaloor is vast, ranging from hot savannahs to dark dungeons, Japanese-style garden scenery and marsh lands.
Good crafting – but not so crafty
Graphically, locations and character models are more detailed than before (though not up to the standards of the recent Dragon Age II) and there are once more hordes of tasty side quests to pursue. On the combat side, ranged and melee weapons can be extensively modified, and virtually all weaponry can be dismantled and re-forged – a great improvement on over-full satchels.
However, the interface remains unwieldy, with a huge inventory grid filling much of the screen. Melee fighting is uninspiring and magic spells are unspectacular. There’s also a massive over-emphasis on using lockpicks to gather items, which slows the action down considerably. Character dialogue and acting are truly Z-list.
Two Worlds II does include a multiplayer mode, though, so you can co-op with a friend to bash monsters, create your own village or indulge in traditional deathmatch or capture-the-flag style combat, so you’ll never be short of variety.
- The multi-faceted crafting system.
- Awful character acting; cumbersome interface.
Despite visual improvements, a sprawling map to explore and a novel dismantle-and-remake weapons and potions system, Two Worlds II still retains too many flaws from the past and will just be an interlude until Skyrim arises.