Two Worlds II brings an innovative spell casting system, hours of RPG content and fun multiplayer modes to the genre. But you have to get through a confusing and incomplete tutorial, clunky combat and excessive dialogue sequences. It's a trade-off that may be worth it for what the game brings to console RPGs.
- Intricate spell and item crafting
- Unlimited multiclassing
- Innovative multiplayer modes for XBox 360
- Combat not intuitive
- Confusing story line
- Long dialogue sequences
Two Worlds II Review:
Two Worlds II has a bad reputation to live down given the train wreck of the first Two Worlds game and tries very hard to prove that, unlike its much-ridiculed predecessor, it’s a top notch RPG. Does it succeed? Mostly.
In-depth spell creation, intricate crafting mechanics and the unlimited multiclass system are great fun to play with. The graphical engine is beautiful and cinematic. The multiplayer system is fun and pushes the boundaries of what is being done with console RPGs. But getting to know the game is painful and awkward. The first hour is an extended tutorial with far too many cutscenes interspersed with periodic info-dumps about the different class playstyles and minigames. If you can get through this confusing and trying intro, it’s then when the game starts to shine.
Crafting a world of hurt
Let’s start with the parts that work. The spell creation system is incredibly customizable. You begin with a base spell -- such as the bread-and-butter of every wannabe grand wizard -- the fireball. You target a monster that isn’t being cooperative about handing over all its loot and let loose your wrath in a flashy display of pyromantic power. Rinse and repeat until the monster is dead.
What makes the TW2 system great is how you can build on that. Add a spell card that turns your one fireball into three. Then another card that makes the fireballs all ricochet or find targets like a homing missile or spray damage across multiple creatures. If you have the spell cards that act as modifiers you can mix and match to your heart’s delight.
You can also create two entirely different spells that interact with each other. You truly feel like a manipulator of magic, not just some guy in a pointy, yet floppy hat, throwing all the same spells you cast in every other RPG.
The crafting system is mostly about breaking down the armor and weapons you can’t use or don’t need and reforging them into gear that’s suited to you. You can also create sockets in gear and then craft crystals that enhance it with special modifiers. This level of control and customization alleviates the grind of killing thousands of monsters hoping the right gear drops for your playstyle.
Alchemy is similar: you take plants, creature parts and more, combine them together and see what you get. It can range from heal potions to resistance elixirs to plain water should you not get a viable combination. Once you learn a combination that works, you can recreate it at any time if you have the right elements. These staples of RPG are taken to new levels in TW2 and couldn’t make a fan of the genre happier.
More multi, more better
Multiclassing is very open and unrestricted. You can max out your skills as a warrior, a mage, or a ranger then switch out between them as the situation warrants. Or, you can just stay in your specialty. While all the classes have their charms, the fun spell creation system makes playing the mage the most worthwhile. Who doesn’t want to cast a corpse tornado every now and then?
Of special note is the multiplayer system. It comes in quite a few flavors including 8-player PvP with duels, team vs. team and capture the flag modes as well as co-op.
The co-op part is particularly interesting. You can level up with your friends online by running one of 8 instances known as Adventures. It’s like a slice of MMORPGs with its group dungeon crawling.
You can also play an economic minigame online by establishing your own village. By creating buildings and trading posts, you will attract settlers who will generate income for you. You can then specialize in creating a particular item like swords or gems and other players can buy from your village. Eventually you can expand your mini-empire and set up trade routes with other player-owned villages. Who needs a full set of armor when you can tax your enemies into oblivion am I right?
Shut up and let me play!
Sadly, it’s not all wine and roses in the land of Antaloor. All those great systems listed above? Good luck figuring them out. The UI is confusing and clunky. The tutorial overexplains some things and doesn’t explain others at all. I suppose you could always turn to the Internet for guides and tips, but why force players to put down the game and go elsewhere to learn how to play? And for all your multiclassing skills, combat is a frustrating affair. I can only guess they meant it to be dynamic, but it’s mostly hoping an attack lands before you get mobbed to death.
The lore behind the story is supposed to be driving force behind your gameplay, but it’s not very clear at the beginning what’s going on. Something about your scantily-clad sister being a conduit for a madman’s powers and you having to side with orcs to escape and...uh, come back for your sister when you’re a badass and can provide more appropriate clothing for her, I suppose.
Given the enormous amount of cutscenes and neverending spoken dialogue from every NPC within earshot, you’d think that all this would be more clear. Unfortunately, you get five minutes of watching dialogue for every “kill ten rats” or delivery quest you’re given. The voice acting is ok, but it just goes on for too long. I got through more than a few levels of Angry Birds on my iPhone waiting for all the talking to end every time I picked up a mission.
Two Worlds, One Verdict
So does intriguing game systems, lush settings, and multiclassing goodness make up for a confusing introduction to the game, clunky combat, and far too much story? That depends on what you are looking for. For those like myself that love to play with spell casting system, it’s definitely worth the time to wade through the slow parts so you let loose your magical creations on the unsuspecting monster population. If you are looking for something faster paced, more intuitive, and less cumbersome, then you may want to look elsewhere. Two Worlds II offers many, many hours of content and will reward those who hang in through the learning curve, just know what you are getting yourself into.