Originally Published: 17 February 2011
Back in 2007, Two Worlds was released onto the gaming public. The reaction it received was, at best, lukewarm and at its worst, frigid. Those who have played it have found it to be a game filled with abysmal dialogue and riddled with bugs. But those who played it also found that, despite the flaws, once you got into it you were hooked. If you could see past the problems you were treated to a lengthy, non-linear adventure game that wasn’t that bad.
The first thing that you’ll discover on starting Two Worlds II is that you’re presented with a dizzying array of customisation options for your character, but it is pleasing to see that that there are ten levels of “facial grit” available because, I think you’ll agree, if there’s one thing that’s missing in games it’s the ability to make it look like you’ve not had a wash. I lost interest in customising my character somewhere around the “eye outside corner angle” option and, instead, chose to mash the randomise button until I was happy. And a Rasta.
Once all that was out of the way, I was onto the game. The initial cutscene doesn’t fill you with much confidence. The voice acting’s not much better than that of the first game, although no-one has, as yet, said “forsooth” – a word which was massively overused the first time. Once the game starts you’re in an obligatory tutorial section cunningly disguised as a frantic escape from prison. Once this section is over, and you’ve done a few fetch and follow quests in the prologue, you’re free to do whatever you want in the world.
This is where you’ll start to notice that things aren’t as good as you’d hoped. If you run around the landscape you’ll notice that the textures don’t quite keep up with you. Everything goes blurry and less defined. Maybe that’s to give you a sense of how fast you’re going, or maybe it’s just that the game engine can’t keep up. You don’t even run that fast, in all honesty. There’s pop-up when you teleport into towns as the buildings spring up before you and even when the game’s installed on the hard drive, it’ll pause every now and again to throw up an icon of a spinning disc in the bottom corner while it frantically builds the area you’re heading for.
You will die. A lot. If you stick to the main quest line, you’ll die because you’re not levelled up enough. If you start messing around doing side-quests and exploring you’ll die because you accidentally had a poke around a cave packed with ants. You have to explore, pick and choose your fights, and your side-quests and eventually you’ll start to learn the skills (via books, this time, rather than vanishing trainers) and as quest rewards that will allow you to make potions and improve your weapons and spells.
Because you’ll die a lot, it’s advisable to have auto-save on. It’ll save every ten minutes or so, so you don’t usually have a lot of back-tracking to do. In my experience sometimes it doesn’t seem to trigger, or other times it’ll trigger twice in a ten minute period. Sometimes it’ll auto-save mid-fight. None of that is a massive problem. The thing is, though, when the game is auto-saving it freezes up for about thirty seconds or so. In the middle of a battle that’s not a brilliant thing to happen, really.
The story is fine, it’s your standard adventure fare. To be honest, I’ve been messing around with side-quests and bashing skeletons with clubs and so have barely even scratched the surface of the main plot-line. The side-quests consist of the usual kind of “go here, fetch this, bring it back” kind of thing, although many branch off upon completion offering you alternate ways to end a quest – all of which will have repercussions further down the line.
There’s an online multiplayer quest to be had which, currently, lies completely untouched. Not because I don’t want to play it, but because the single player keeps sucking me in, despite its faults and the more I play it, the more I like it. It’s a bloody good RPG once you get past the niggles.
Two Worlds II isn’t great. It’s got a myriad of problems with the voice acting, the graphics and the annoying auto-save process but, like its predecessor, it’s strangely compelling. I keep finding myself going back to it time and again. I like it a lot. It’s proof that while you can’t polish a turd you can, most definitely, roll it in glitter.