Two Worlds II has been billed repeatedly as a game that would fix and improve upon its predecessor in every way. The good news is that it is definitely an improvement, as advertised. The bad news is that it still isn’t worth playing.
Two Worlds II starts a few years after the end of Two Worlds. Your sister is still held hostage, but this time you’ve joined her in captivity. Almost immediately upon starting the game, you’ll be freed from the dungeons by a group of orcs intent on rescuing you. Upon escaping, you discover that you are the ‘chosen one,’ the only person who can defeat Gandohar, the evil emperor who is destroying the world and, conveniently, the one who kidnapped your sister. The story is slightly more interesting than last time around, but amounts to basically the same thing. Your sister is kidnapped and you are trying to rescue her.
There is a big, open world here for you to explore, but for some reason, it is never really used. Whenever you start exploring or doing side quests, you are constantly reminded by the game that you need to get back to working on the main quest.
The best thing about Two Worlds II is the level of crafting, alchemy, and spell crafting that has been included in the game. At any time, you can take any item you are holding, break it down into its component parts, and use those parts to upgrade other weapons or armor you have. You can also use all the various items you find throughout the world to alchemize various potions. You can experiment with them as much as you want, with the game saving successful recipes for later use. Finally, you have various amulets that are used for holding spell cards. You choose an element, such as fire or ice, a delivery method, such as missile, and it creates a fire, or ice, bolt that you can fire at enemies. You can also modify them with other spell cards you find throughout the world that will increase damage or add splash damage, among other things. While this all sounds great, it is never explained at all, leaving it to you to discover how to employ these complex systems.
Nothing about Two Worlds II is particularly impressive, but possibly the worst aspect is the combat. The fighting in Two Worlds is all about pushing the attack button as fast as you can. By doing this, you’ll simply mash your way through whatever defenses are up. It doesn’t seem to matter whether you are using melee, ranged or magic, pushing the attack button quickly will serve you for almost every fight you get in. And while this is fine in some games, it just feels completely unsatisfying in Two Worlds II. There’s no real weight behind attacks and the hit detection is somewhat off.
Reality Pump saw fit to add a few multiplayer modes to Two Worlds II, rather than make the single player better, and somehow they actually turn out better than the single player mode did. There’s a standard deathmatch mode, which is unusual for an RPG, though it seems to work fairly similarly to the PvP modes in MMOs. There’s also a co-op campaign, which is actually more enjoyable than the single player campaign. Finally, there’s a ‘village’ mode where you can create a village from scratch, improving it and your multiplayer character by taking on various quests.
Graphically, Two Worlds II is not impressive at all. It looks, and feels, like it was made in 2006. The environments are bland, the character models are uninspired, and the character animations are just plain bad. As far as the audio, it is better than the first game, but still not good. The voice actors seem to just be reading off lines on a script, rather than acting.
The last complaint I have is that the UI runs off the screen by default. In order to fix it, you have to fiddle around with the settings for awhile to find a setting that will fix it.
In the end, Two Worlds II is a definite improvement over Two Worlds. That doesn’t really mean much, however, and it is still not good enough to be worth playing instead of Elder Scrolls: Oblivion or Dragon Age. If you’ve already played every other medieval action-RPG around, then feel free to try it out, though I still recommend waiting for Dragon Age II instead.
Pros: Great crafting systems; good multiplayer options
Cons: Graphics look 5 years old; combat falls flat; no good documentation for crafting systems; character animations are terrible; voice acting is bad