Two Worlds Reader Review
It's not Oblivion!
I was looking forward to this game, heralded as the next Oblivion.. not that I hold Oblivion up as the definitive console RPG game that everyone else seems to do. Anyway, I grabbed a copy of Two Worlds and hurdled into it with both feet fervently jabbing my medieval stirrups into my horses sides. I was bitterly disappointed to see such a awkward and ugly game crumble in my hands. The graphics just jarred with me from the off, nothing was crisp, nothing was easily read or sometimes even identified in the user interface. The single player character customisation was singularly under whelming, I couldn't change gender, the hairstyles available were all very similar and limited to about 5 in total - and the colours supported seemed even less. You could mess with the characters stature - chest size, arm length, eye shape, nose width and length but nothing seemed to define your character as anything but this bland hero. So onwards, into the tutorial, some combat, some magic thrown about, haphazardly as the targeting mechanism shifts according to distance away from you, rather than have any focus on one enemy. Some chatting with blurred and shaky NPC's, the chatting itself being laden thick with Ye Olde English, almost too thick for any credibility. Sort of the way people who don't play RPG's think all RPG's are voiced. The stuttering and frame rate issues didn't help, the blatant halts for environment loads had me wondering if my 360 had crashed at times. I did begin to enjoy the freedom and the combat, particularly once I'd secured a mount to ride. There is a decent game behind this cranky port, its not so much Oblivion as Diablo, which is a plus point in my opinion.
PC version over the cranky 360 Port
I decided I'd try out the PC demo, I wanted to see what this game looked like with graphics I could be comfortable with. Needless to say, the PC version of the game is crisp and looks the part. At last. The scenery looks good, the Armour and your character crisp and defined, and the interface isn't garbled and just plain works as you'd expect. I went out and bought the PC version. Very pleased with it. In terms of features it has a large continent that can be explored at your leisure, or in a focussed manner as you progress through the main quest line or side quests. It has a very pleasing combat mechanism, in that its easy to use and looks good in third person. The console ranged combat (archery and magics) targeting mechanism leaves a lot to be desired, but in the PC version is well suited. The archery in particular requires you to draw the bowstring and control the power of the shot, with many enemies attacking you from all sides this becomes key when you're timing your shot in between taking melee damage and the shot being interrupted. It has a readily accessible alchemical process for manufacturing your own custom potions. Harvest crystals/gems and plants from the world, and combine them freely. It also allows you to take multiples of existing equipment and combine them to boost the stats, so if you find another sword similar to the one you're wielding, pick it up and combine it, to gain an increase, this also applies to Armour, shields, quivers and jewellery. The magic system allows for a five school spell card collecting game, with each spell card also having booster cards that can be combined with them to tweak your spells. You find spell cards as loot, or you can buy them from vendors. One of the nicest features is the horse travel and combat. They have really taken horse travel to another level with this game, in that your horse feels and moves as a horse would. With it shying away from steep drops, and only following land it can feasibly travel. This can lead to some interesting refusal issues with such a undulating landscape, but it makes you truly appreciate the road system when you want your steed to get up to a proper gallop. Press forward to make the beast trot at a gentle pace, or hold forward to make it increase speed from a trot to cantor to gallop. You can also take swings at enemy from your horse if you are wielding a single handed weapon. Something which can be boosted with extra damage using the riding skill. I can imagine it being quite tricky to become proficient in mounted combat, mainly because of the larger turning arcs your horse has to take compared to most enemies. Imagine the jousting style PvP combat of the online game though. Which leads me on to ..
Arena or Warnet?
The 360's online mode allows you to create an RPG or PVP character (and this time you can select gender). There seemed to be "arenas" created where you could adventure or battle with your online friends. These arenas seemed to be various portions of the main map, but with invisible walls marking them off. The enemies present in these online worlds seemed to be much more difficult than the standard single play, presumably for team combat to play a part. I only tried one arena, as an RPG character and was promptly hacked to pieces for the next 10 minutes by another player, which didn't do a great deal to endear me to the experience. The PC's online mode seems to be more modelled on Diablo's Battle.net, and it is indeed called Warnet. You log in to the warnet servers and you enter into a multiplayer zone (usually a city) where you can assemble and buy/sell/tweak, then you take yourself off into an instance pretty much like the 360's arenas. With its own quests and harder enemies to battle. Returning to the city hub, you bring back your experience and equipment. I can see this aspect of the game, giving it some life in the online community, much like Diablo II did. And I'm itching to try it out to see if there are party mechanics at work here.
Overall I'd say Two Worlds is a great game, if you're looking for something approximating to a free-roam, story filled Diablo style game. It doesn't take itself too seriously as the dialogue can be very "hey nonny nonny", I believe intentionally so. If you like good visual combat, looting and tweaking a lot, and riding around a vast lush landscape on a horse ready for battle at any moment, then Two Worlds is worth a look. If you want to see it in its full glory I'd say buy the PC version. The 360 version will suffice if its all you've got. Is it the next Oblivion, probably not. But for me, its better than Oblivion. I'm likely to see this game through to the end, and the ride feels far more enjoyable.
9 / 10