Two Worlds 2. I almost titled this article “Don’t spend your money on this game.” That’s how bad this review is going to be.
I’m sure most of you have never heard of this game, and probably aren’t even that into video games. Well, I’ll make this as entertaining as possible.
The synopsis: Two Worlds 2 focuses on a guy (cliche hero from every fantasy story) who is a normal guy but somehow the key to everything, or so everyone thinks. The story opens with a really cool cinematic of a battle between orcs and humans. In a nutshell, the orcs get dominated by this crazy wizard, who calls up spikes of earth that impale all of the orcs. It is crazy. Crazy awesome. At this point, I thought to myself, “Damn, this is cool.”
But then, the cinematic ended. It was all downhill from there. When our hero was introduced, he was chained to a chair with his sister, who for some reason wears this metal Phantom of the Opera mask. The crazy wizard who won the battle in the opening cinematic is doing some sort of ritual and sparks are flying. No further explanation. Now the hero is prison. An orc and some chick rescue him. What the hell is happening? That was my thought, not the hero’s. For the next hour or so, the game walks me through a tutorial of its extremely (over)complicated gameplay.
I’m going to start with what the game did right, before I destroy it.
Some parts of the game are gorgeous. I was exploring this section that was based on the African savannah and it was breathtaking. I was hunting rhinos with my bow and arrow. They got pretty pissed. The world is open and allowed me to climb rocks if I wanted or just run into the sunset til I hit an ocean.
The game also lets you flipflop randomly between the traditional classes of warrior, rogue, and mage. You don’t have to choose a role, but you can just hit a button and change your weapon to fit a different style. I could hold my staff, summon a giant spider, and then change to my battleaxe and dominate some fools. It was cool, in theory.
There’s also a really indepth inventory system, which adds a lot of cool and really customizeable options. You gather a lot of “loot” which you don’t need, so you can break it all down and use the parts. If I already have a nice sword, I can break my other swords into steel, iron, and wood, and then use those ingredients to either create new items or to reinforce/upgrade the weapon I’m already using. It means everything is valuable and I don’t have to keep running to a merchant to sell all my stuff (one of my only complaints about Dragon Age: Origins). You also collect a lot of herbs and items that you can blend together to make potions. There’s no preset recipes that you know, you just experiment. I was doing a lot of running, so I mixed items that all had endurance qualities and a few that boosted the time these effects would last, it ended up creating a potion that let me run faster and further without getting tired. Kind of cool.
There’s also a really innovative magic system. You collect “cards” which might be an element, a strategy, a tactic, or something else. I got one that was for fire. And then I got one that said “burst” or something. I can then put these together and create a fire burst. If I mixed the fire spell with a card that said “missile,” it would create a … fire missile. Yes, I know. It sounds simple but no game (that I’ve played) has really explored creating your own spells. You can (like with potions) add cards that change effects, durations, and more. I didn’t use magic a lot, but it was fun when I did. It seemed complicated though, and even the one-hour tutorial didn’t scratch the surface on how to use these cards.
Now… What didn’t work?
This game fell apart. There are a thousand reasons that I stopped playing, put it into its return envelope, and have no regrets whatsoever.
Visuals. With every awesome scenery shot, there’s a horrible closeup of some butt-ugly character. They are blockish and extremely lacking in detail when you look at them up close. The graphics also “pop,” meaning trees and things will just disappear or appear out of nowhere. My character also would like teleport, though not to my advantage. I would suddenly lag and appear somewhere else a second later. I only played for a few hours, but it happened a lot. Also… I got this sweet black armor but it looked like I had covered myself in grease (I looked like I was wearing a medieval alien symbiote … Venom reference anyone?). There were enough problems to really pull me out of the whole experience.
Audio. Okay, the game sounds like it was recorded in some guy’s basement, while him and his buddies ate pizza and finished up their game of D&D from the night before and then halfheartedly finished recording vocals in between encounters. For one thing, the characters sound apathetic. Our “hero” always had this horrible attitude.
Helpless Man: “Help us! A giant dragon is terrifying our town!”
Hero: *sigh* “Whatever, I guess I can do something… since no one else will.”
The voice actor is like if the lead singer from My Chemical Romance took over for Batman and was trying to disguise his voice. “Fine… Whatever, I’ll kill the trolls. But like… I hate doing it.” It makes it hard to imagine your hero being an awesome badass warrior when he’s so apathetic about saving the day.
And then there’s the quality of recording. No lie, a lot of our hero’s dialogue is cut off. Just by a second. It cuts him off before he finishes his sentence. I thought I was accidentally skipping past the dialogue, so I put the controller down. Still did it. And then the volume is horribly balanced. There’s this oracle/priestess/palm reader kind of woman and her volume is like incredibly loud. I turned down the volume but then I couldn’t hear our hero whine about doing the job reluctantly. It was like LOUD quiet LOUD. It was obvious that the voice actors not only recorded their lines separately, but no one even listened to it once they were recorded. How long would it have taken to do some balancing? Jesus.
Okay, so let’s talk gameplay. The cinematics were awesome. I was stoked for some awesome combat. But in reality, our hero plays like he’s doing the hokey pokey and people are attacking him. The controls are either overly sensitive or the camera spins, I’m not sure. A skeleton attacks me from behind, I try to turn, and then all of a sudden I’m getting dizzy and I don’t even know what’s happening. And when I finally catch up to him, the controls are horrible. I’ve played enough RPGs to know the traditional control scheme and this game is radically different. The button that is 90% of the time “attack” is now “jump.” Attack wasn’t even in the same time zone. Attack went on a vacation to Florida.
An hour is a long time to spend on tutorials. But once I understood what buttons did what, it still was completely unnatural. You’re allowed to have three sets of weapons so that you can quickly go from mage>rogue>warrior at your whim. But everytime you change, your weapon is sheathed. I summon a giant spider. And then all of a sudden I’m standing there twiddling my thumbs. I hit attack and I start kicking the skeleton that’s attacking me. WHAT! Why is that even an option? IN WHAT SITUATION WOULD I RATHER KICK SOMEONE THAN PULL OUT MY GIANT SWORD? I ended up kicking people so many times. By the time I manage to get my sword out, I’m being overrun.
Combat wasn’t fun at all. In a game like this, combat is going to make or break the game. It looked clunky and it played horribly.
Now, if you’re not familiar with RPGs, you often get a lot of side quests, that may not pertain to the main story. I already didn’t care (or understand?) the main story, so the side quests that got thrown at me were extremely confusing (or unimportant?).
I have two big complaints here. One. In most games, you have to go up and talk to someone to initiate dialogue. I’m busy, so I’m going to run past everyone. In Two Worlds 2, they stop you and it auto-triggers dialogue. I’m running through town, having just accidentally kicked the guards, and this beggar all of a sudden wants to discuss a hidden trove of gold. GET OUT OF MY WAY OR I’LL KICK YOU, BEGGAR! As soon as I escape from him, an old woman wants to discuss her wares for sale. STOP TALKING TO ME.
Two. When you start gathering all these side quests, it can be confusing as to where you’re going and what you need to do. Luckily, Two Worlds 2 features a mini map in the corner that shows you little dots for each mission. However, they all look the same. There’s dots for quests. There’s dots for people you can talk to. There’s dots for enemies. There are dots everywhere, it’s like my mini map got chicken pox. And I have no idea what any of it means. There’s a flag. Should I go there?
Here’s the problem: I open my full map and the same dots aren’t there. The big map doesn’t show the little flag. It doesn’t show the same icons. Where am I going? WHAT IS GOING ON?
A game shouldn’t make me this confused. I was roaming around doing who knows what and kicking people and summoning spiders. It was like a weird drug trip induced while I was watching Lord of the Rings.
The controls are counter-intuitive. The plot is confusing. The effects are hit and miss. The navigation is lacking. The audio and video are both amateur.
And let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Two Worlds…2. What the heck? Why not call it Two Worlds: Kicking Guys? You could add a colon and add some flavor text, instead they chose go with TWO Worlds TWO. I cannot understand this logic. That’d be like the next Dragon Age being called Dragon Age: Age of Dragons. Come on, seriously.
And even though I’ve been confused the whole time, I also don’t understand how Two Worlds even makes sense as a title. Does the game somehow turn into interstellar travel halfway through? Sauron discovers the Stargate? No idea what the second world is.
So, hopefully by this point you understand how bad this game is. There were some great ideas and some really innovative things done, but this game tried to run before it could walk. I don’t care how awesome the magic system is, if I can’t use it and I always resort to kicking.