Years ago, a war raged in Antaloor between man and Orc, ending in the imprisonment of the Orc god Aziraal in a magical, manmade tomb. Three centuries have passed, and a group of Dwarven miners uncovers the grave, increasing tensions once again between man and Orc. The single-player mode in Two Worlds calls for the player to be a human mercenary searching for a sister who has been kidnapped. The kidnappers demand that you find the token to unlock the tomb, but of course, nothing is ever easy in clichéd storylines.
Character development is a very important feature in all true RPGs, and it's the first feature you usually encounter. The character development system in Two Worlds is one that some RPG fans will simply love, and others will simply hate. In terms of races and classes, you must be human. You can be whatever your mind wants you to be — to an extent, so don't let your imagination run too wild. Unfortunately for the ladies, your character must also be male for storyline reasons, but there are a few hair styles, hair colors, and eye colors. You can also adjust the appearance of some body parts, like arms and legs.
The initial character development may be sub-par, but don't shun Two Worlds just yet! The game features an old-school, easy-to-use, and effective system of stats, skills, and leveling up. Each time you level up, you get to place five stat points into four possible categories of choice. Want to be a melee fighter? Place most your stat points into Vitality. Along with stat points come skill points, which can be either passive or active. If you still wanted to be a fighter, you'd assign your skill points into either melee weapon damage output or critical-hit chance.
The controls for Two Worlds are very bad. On the surface, the control scheme uses the left analog stick for movement, the right analog stick to rotate the camera, and the triggers to attack. However, anything else in the game is just tedious. For example, looking through, organizing, or equipping things in your inventory is annoying enough to make you want to use your level-one gear forever. When riding on a horse, you can attack, but it's pretty pointless because it's nigh impossible to control the horse when it's turning, let alone launching any attacks while on it. Apparently, the game was also made for smaller TVs, because on a bigger non-HDTV and a huge HDTV, it was really difficult to read the text and navigate the interface.
For all you magic fans, Two Worlds has quite a bit of it. The game boasts quite a variety of weapons, items, and spells, and they're not limited to one specific type of character. You place your stats, and you choose what you want to use. Of course, the best equipment is geared toward specific classes, but a fighter can throw a healing spell or two, and a mage can get a bit dirty in melee combat. All combat is done in the third-person perspective, and the only way to go into first-person is by having no weapons equipped.
Despite the clunky interface and annoying inventory, when you can actually read and understand it all, the item customization and weapon detail are very good! If you pick up two pieces of equipment of the same type (same name, stats, etc.), you can combine them to make the next level of that weapon. For example, at the outset of the game, you may acquire Short Swords, when only one would be sufficient. However, in Two Worlds, you can combine two of them to make a level-two Short Sword, which will be stronger than the original. Also, when you imbue your weapons and armor with special gems to increase damage or some other stat, your equipment model actually glows based on that element. It looks pretty nice.
Two Worlds looks quite good. For months leading up to its release, Two Worlds was said to be comparable to Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, but this is perhaps overstating it a bit. The game is not bad looking, but if the Oblivion-esque hype weren't all over the place during the development of this game, the graphics of Two Worlds would be just fine. A major selling point of the game was said to be its graphics, and they simply aren't that amazing. The game world is huge, though — 25 percent larger than Oblivion's world — but this may be more of a problem than an asset.
If you're debating whether or not to purchase Two Worlds, and a sloppy framerate and somewhat-choppy gameplay really make a gaming experience impossible for you, then this title isn't for you. It's quite possible that a future patch will fix these problems, but at the time of this review, it's quite a persistent problem. It is possible to deal with, however, and apparently the PC version of Two Worlds doesn't have such issues. The game has what I've started to call a "random-load" feature. It decides when it needs to load what's to come, whether it's just running through the world or an intense fight, and if game is going to freeze while it loads items in the distance.
In terms of difficulty, Two Worlds is quite tricky. The game starts out rather difficult — aye, I died my fair share of times at the hands of a wolf or bear in the wilderness — but once it progresses and you have better stats and equipment, the game seems too easy. You can slam the right trigger and hack and slash through everything in the game, provided you have the right equipment and stats. This made the game boring after a long period of time, but getting to that point, however, was rather fun. Two Worlds also includes a variety of different quests to help you level up as you explore Antaloor, and it includes several factions. Certain factions will cause you to decrease in standing with other factions, but overall, it's fun to have the choice before every action to see which faction may be affected.
The music and sounds of the game seem to lead nowhere. The soundtrack has a couple of good pieces to it, but other than that, it's nothing spectacular. The sound effects and ambience are nothing too fancy, but they're decent. The voiceovers and narration for the characters' dialogue is simply horrendous; there is absolutely no emotion or character involved in any of the narration, and I often found myself chuckling at the poor emotion mixed with old-time grammar. (Forsooth!)
Perhaps one of the biggest selling points for Two Worlds was the multiplayer. The PC version comes with a near-MMO feature that allows you to pair up with others, create a character, and complete quests in Antaloor, but the 360 version was hung out to dry. We are stuck with arena-like deathmatch, horse racing, and the dreary "monster hunt." As if the lack of features isn't horrible enough, the online play for the 360 is unbearable. Constant lag and freezing — yes, I had to restart the 360 — really drove me away from even wanting to attempt multiplayer again. You're lucky to have a multiplayer match going for longer than 10 minutes, or getting it started, for that matter.
If you're looking for a sub-par RPG with a sub-par storyline, sub-par gameplay, sub-par sounds, and very sub-par multiplayer, then sure, pick up Two Worlds, but I really wouldn't recommend it unless you're a die-hard RPG fan just looking for something new. If you do decide to get Two Worlds for some reason, please do so for the PC because the 360 version just isn't playable at the moment.
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