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"Two Worlds II" PS3 Review,
This review is from: Two Worlds 2 - Playstation 3 (Video Game)
Prior to buying Two Worlds II, I read every professional review I could find, watched all the available gameplay videos, and searched several forums to get a feel for how the average gamer felt. In short, the overwhelming consensus is that if you're starved for an open-world sword-n-sorcery role playing game and can forgive a good deal of inherent flaws, then Two Worlds II can be a lot of fun. After nearly forty hours of gameplay, I couldn't agree more.
For starters, the game world is massive and ripe for exploration - though it should be mentioned some areas are actually inaccessible and therefore the map makes the game world appear larger than it actually is. The graphics are colorful and pretty, but definitely nowhere near the polish of a Bethesda title such as The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion or Fallout 3. My only complaint with the graphics (and it's a big one) is that whenever you move quickly or pan the camera quickly the graphics have a blurring effect. I can only surmise this is an attempt to hide a weak engine, and for the first half-hour I was battling the beginnings of a headache because of it. Once you become accustomed to it, though, the effect becomes part and parcel of the scenery. There are no weather effects like rain or snow, but there is a day/night cycle. Unfortunately there is no "wait" option, and since the vendors close up shop for the evening, you have to wait in real time for the day cycle to come back around. It's not a major issue, but one that could be easily remedied with a simple "wait" option.
Some of the worst things reviewers went on and on about are simply not true - at least concerning the final release version. I've begun to suspect, after reading dozens and dozens of TWII reviews, that the review copies had to have been in an earlier stage of the development. I've noticed that every professional reviewer claims the combat hit detection is unresponsive, among other glitches, and these are things I've never encountered in my copy of the game. For all these reviewers to claim the same thing, I have to believe that it's the developers who shot themselves in the foot by rushing out their review copies. Personally, I found the combat outstanding, and quite fun to boot. The player has a myriad of special moves at their disposal to perform during fights, including but certainly not limited to a powerful thrust strike, a block-breaking overhead swing of your weapon, and a radial barrage for when you're swarmed with enemies. Experience is fun to gain even through grinding (which isn't necessary, by the way) and the leveling system is par for the course but executed perfectly nonetheless.
Again, having read copious reviews, I already knew to expect amateurish voice acting, but this doesn't bother me in the least. In fact, it's part of the fun in my book. One of the orcs who breaks you out of the dungeon amusingly cries out "Mankind will bleed out from their own arrogance before their words will afford them CREDENCE!" That's also a perfect example of the way the dialog often doesn't make much sense.
Here's another example:
"Will we be able to help her?"
"That remains to be uncertain."
Despite the fact that the bones of the plot are precisely the same as the first Two Worlds, in that you're trying to save your sister from the evil Gandohar, the plotting for the sequel is more involving and the ending even has a surprising and welcome twist. The climatic final battle, however, is a disappointment in that it amounts to monotonous running and potion drinking. It can take as much as 15-20 minutes to complete, and dying once results in starting it all over since you cannot save during the battle. Make sure to prepare ahead and bring some resurrection potions (made from mummies brains, of course!). Personally, I entirely enjoyed the song "Little Teardrop" that plays during the credits. The song has the sound of an early Bon Jovi track, and there's even a sweet guitar solo.
At least one reviewer complained that an entire chapter of the manual was in German, but apparently that's been fixed. This, however, doesn't mean that the manual is error-free. The first section is called "The Story So Far..." and it's simply a controller button map. Evidently they nixed that bit and didn't reformat the manual, so as a result the entire table of contents is off by a couple of pages. Still, I've referred to the manual several times during gameplay and it has answered almost all of my questions. The one section that could use some more information is the spell creation system. Besides, I appreciate this title actually includes a 40-page manual when higher-profile games like Mass Effect 2 and Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood don't even bother (those titles include the manual on the disc, and they even have the audacity to try to convince us it's "more convenient" or that preservation of the environment is their primary concern).
The horse riding is boorish - especially when you compare it to a title like Red Dead Redemption. In fact, there is no comparison. The horse in Two Worlds II is somewhat troublesome to control, occasionally unresponsive, and the stamina meter is far too unwieldy. It's difficult to find a rhythm like the player could in RDR. There's a quest-related horse race that is more painful than fun, thanks to the dodgy horse design. I far more often prefer to walk or use one of the many teleporters scattered across the lands. Since the sprinting in the game is actually quite fast, you'll barely even miss the horse.
You can buy a ship in the game, but there are only a few areas worth sailing towards. I found an area, replete with a teleporter, that contained a large encampment of enemies. Further down the shore I found an adandoned village with a lighthouse, but nothing of special value. Strangely this area is only accessible after sailing about an hour in real time. Sailing can be frustrating as well, because if you sail against the wind your pace is slowed to a crawl. Sure, it's realistic, but it's not especially fun. Housing is also available, but since armor and weapons are the only items that have weight, they're hardly useful and they have no decoration or upgrade options.
Still, despite the numerous flaws of Two Worlds II, there's so much more the developers nailed. The inventory system is robust and easy to navigate, and as any RPG player knows, this can make or break a game. Their unique item system lets you break down any weapon or piece of armor into components like steel, iron, wood, fabric, etc. Then you can use these raw materials to upgrade the items you want to keep. Of course, you can also upgrade your items with magic stones as well, further enhancing your skills or attributes. You can have up to 3 outfit slots you can change on the fly. For instance, one button can have you in leather armor and a bow (for ranged kills), a second button can have you in metal armor and two swords (for frontal assaults), and the last button can have you in a magic robe and staff (for magic attacks).
The quest journal is well laid out, neatly organized by the quest giver, and there's a reputation scroll to see at a glance where you stand with the different guilds. There's even an entire multiplayer co-op campaign, a unique village creation game, and other modes typical for multiplayer function such as a duel mode and a deathmatch mode. The game also offers all the commands a gamer could expect: plenty of options in the menu (subtitles, text change, audio, etc.) and you can pause or skip cutscenes. There are three difficult settings, the standard Easy, Normal, and Hard. Those who prefer the experience itself rather than challenge will do well on the Easy mode whilst those who desire a brutal challenge will receive just that on Hard. The autosave feature can be customized at five or ten minute intervals, and the player can hard save at will. Two options I recommend selecting are changing the icons to text and choosing the smaller inventory icons, both of which can be accessed through the "Settings" tab on the main menu.
The map is entirely adequate, as I never had trouble finding a location with the assistance of the map. Shrines, towns, teleports, and quest-related dungeons are automatically noted on your map. However, it should be noted that - for whatever reason - the standalone dungeons are not marked on your map, even if you've been inside them. This means that the player must either manually mark them on his map or simply explore them as he finds them. This is good to keep in mind if you're after the trophy for exploring twenty-five dungeons.
It should also be noted that Two Worlds II is not a "hardcore" RPG. For instance, aside from weapons and armor, every other item is weightless. There is no stamina meter for melee attacks, and the player does not need to sleep to heal naturally (you regenerate over time, provided your weapon is sheathed). Two Worlds II also allows the player to mostly reset their skills for a fee by visiting a "soulpatcher". It will only turn over a maximum of 100 skill points, but that's plenty to completely rework a character. This allows the player to alter their mage into a warrior, or vice versa. It's a great touch and very progressive that Two Worlds II does not try to pigeonhole your character into being a concrete mage, warrior, spellsword, etc.
By far, the most frustrating thing about the game is that all it needs is a good polish. A few more months in the oven and this thing could actually be seriously competitive. As it is, it only stands out because there isn't a single other notable open-ended sword-n-sorcery RPG currently on the market other than Oblivion. It's sad, too, because the only reason there aren't more is because they obviously don't sell very well. Why bother when a generic, formulaic, by-the-numbers first person shooter like Call of Duty: Black Ops will sell 8.8 million copies worldwide?
But I digress. I drove home nervously glancing at the copy of Two Worlds II in my passenger seat. But despite its flaws, I actually love this game. They may have failed here and there in the technical presentation, but this game has a lot of heart and soul - and that's something you won't find in the recent glut of high profile shooters. So it's also no Elder Scrolls killer, but Skyrim is a long way off. For now, I'm thrilled to own this title and hopeful that we'll see some single-player downloadable content down the road.
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Initial post: Jul 11, 2012 10:17:24 PM PDT
Is the multiplayer co-op mode online only or can you play co-op on the same system and if so how many players?
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