Two Worlds succeeds at what it sets out to provide - a poor man's Oblivion and a simple, unrestrictive introduction to role playing games
The best way to describe Two Worlds is in the inevitable comparisons it’s fetching with Oblivion. While not reaching the lofty heights of last year’s RPG extravaganza, Two Worlds (on the PC) is a decent addition to the entry class RPG genre, but those looking for next level innovation will spend a long time searching the wilds for ultimate disappointment.
There’s not a great deal of difference between many of the characters in Two Worlds, but at least you can get straight into the action
Being an assassin, you can sneak around the place on tippy toes. Don’t kill this guy, though – he might be one of the few characters in Two Worlds with something useful to say
Sometimes it’s no bad thing to get a game with few surprises and no haughty attempts at redefining a genre. This is one of those times.
Two Worlds is in no way original, but judging by the inclusion of such standard fare RPG elements, characters and game mechanics, I doubt that was ever its intention. Instead, focus has been kept strictly on providing a typical (which is not the criticism it sounds like) fantasy RPG; orcs, wizards, warriors, a world done asunder and a free roaming countryside crawling with predatory wildlife. No surprises and, so long as you read the box carefully and know what you’re getting, no real disappointments.
The role playing elements begin with an expected character customisation which, this writer gratefully acknowledges, is fairly limited. Tweaking the eyebrows and finger nail tint of a character who you never see up close like this ever again is a waste of good gaming time in my opinion, and I was glad to see Two Worlds cut to the chase and simply allocate a few experience points to determine strengths and direction. Although I’m sure a delicate balance and plenty of forethought could create a variety of differences, choice pretty much boils down to a warrior or a mage. This might well disappoint hardcore role players, but casuals and new comers will be glad to crack on.
There’s some pretty nice texturing going on that doesn’t seem to hamper a mid-range PC. Don’t look too closely, though
About 45% of your game time will be spent slaying wolves, boars and gromes. This can get tedious, and spoil the otherwise enjoyable free roaming
Graphically, Two Worlds finds a decent middle ground between glossy visuals and system strain. At no point did a mid-level PC struggle, though textures got a bit pixelised up close. The animation is equally average, with non-existent lip-syncing but decent running motions. The horses are to be avoided at all costs, not least because of their jarring movements which plagued the camera positioning, but because controlling them is like trying to use a pogo stick with one leg. Fortunately this control difficulty doesn’t spill over into the main character, who battles quite admirably with the use of mouse buttons and a fair amount of running away. While this combat system brought the awful Xbox360 version to its knees, it suits the keyboard and mouse far better.
The story of Two Worlds is familiar enough to confuse you as to which game you’re playing today, but also frees the player from concerns about exactly what’s happening: a matter which indirectly promotes the free-roaming aspect of modern RPGs and encourages gamers to choose a direction for their character that’s not necessarily dictated by the most direct route to completion of the game.
The back-story sets up a world about 300 years after a human/orc war, and things are about to go to hell once again. This provides something of a game spanning mission which players can either get straight on with or simply wander the towns, cities and countryside pleasing themselves. Heading straight for the orcs is a bad idea, as experience points are needed before tackling the big boys. What’s nice is a much more personal sub-plot about you (an assassin) working to find and free your captured sister. This is established far better than the ancient war stuff, and provides a much more compelling reason to go off wandering, slaying and chatting.
This latter aspect can be very prolific, as most every computer controlled character can be conversed with, but quickly becomes painful. The dialogue in RPGs is seldom top notch (there’s so much of it, after all), but Two Worlds is head and shoulders above the worst when it comes to painful, trite non sequiturs. Repeatedly asking about the weather, or how their business is doing quickly becomes laborious, and you give up talking to people all together. Those with something a bit more useful to say tend to be highlighted, though it’s easy to stop looking once ten minutes have been wasted on uppity maidens or boring farm hands.
The inventory system is equally laboured, relying a little too much on iconography (which is difficult to determine a lot of the time) so it’s tricky to know what your character’s actually got in his impressively deep pockets. Combining all these potions, weapons and trinkets is a necessary method for improving ability, and it takes a little more perseverance to fathom Two World’s lore than the beginner demographic this game’s aimed at might have the patience for.
Online play ramps up the difficulty exponentially, and the style of gameplay seems to shift quite radically. Much of the role playing seems to become more of a battle melee style of gameplay against other human opponents. A cut-down MMO style of play is also included which, while not being the full on massive multiplayer hardcore fans will be looking for, does provide an intriguing option of roaming in groups (which you’ll need, considering the aforementioned difficulty level). At the time of testing, however, very few other players were actually online (to the tune of just under two dozen), which could prove a letdown if figures don’t increase.
Good job there are teleporters, because these horse-shaped obstacles are a bugger to ride
There are some pretty fascinating occupants of Two Worlds, though they can be difficult to find at first
Two Worlds succeeds at what it sets out to provide – a poor man’s Oblivion and a simple, unrestrictive introduction to role playing games. Freedom really is the nature of the game, and if exploring a new world – and slaughtering hundreds of wild boar - is something you’ll enjoy, Two Worlds isn’t a bad choice. Splashing around in these shallow waters can be a lot of fun, but the depth isn’t there for gamers who want real submersion.
Top Game Moment:
TOP GAME MOMENT
Although a lot of the dialogue is simply painful, the main character has a great line as he heads into battle: “Say hello to death!”