And the game that takes place within these spaces appears to have had a significant overhaul, too, with sweeping changes to everything from inventory management to the approach to magic.
Two Worlds II is still, like the original, a classless system that allows you to shape your character as you wish, blending traditional roles a little. Hot-keys will allow you to build specific armour sets for your various needs, meaning that you can effectively switch classes in real-time, moving from equipment geared towards magic attacks to stuff that's better for melee or ranged combat as the situation calls for it.
Weapons and armour can be upgraded, but the original game's bizarre stacking system is out, replaced with a mechanic that allows you to break unwanted inventory clutter down into its core components, and then use that as resources for upgrading the items you want to really focus on. It has a pleasant semi-RTS feel to it, and if you enjoyed mining in Mass Effect 2 - some of you did, yeah? - you'll be right at home.
Magic has been similarly rethought, and it's actually looking rather good at the moment, blending accessibility for casual players with a potentially fairly frightening depth for those who really want to get stuck in.
The system's based around amulets, each of which will contain a series of cards which act as modifiers. It sounds pretty confusing, but, at a basic level, it means that the amulet for your fireball spell can have a range of different cards, all of which change the way it works.
The basic fireball will be enough for most - it was good enough for Mario, after all - but it's going to be tempting to start messing about and trying to trick things out as you get more cards: switching it up so that zombies are spawned whenever your flaming attacks hit the ground, or causing the fireball to split into five chunks as it moves. A quick glance down the menu suggests there are hundreds of cards available, while a smart radial menu allows you to have fifty spells within reach at any one time.
Finally, Two Worlds II's multiplayer component is starting to look distinctly ambitious, too. Split across three fronts, it offers a separate co-op campaign that contains seven levels of adventuring to bridge the gap in the story between the first game and the sequel (co-op will support eight players in outdoor environments and four inside dungeons), a standard eight-person PvP setup, which allows you to see what kind of bizarre spell combinations other players have come up with as you smack them around in arenas, and, finally, a bizarre city-building offshoot which sees you gathering and managing resources, keeping your population happy, and engaging in basic RTS mini-quests.
All of which should hopefully be enough to cheer up anyone who found the first game boring. With a campaign that should take, at a minimum, 25 hours to get through, and side-quests and multiplayer oddities that should push that number well into three figures, Two Worlds II is looking surprisingly good. It's far too early to tell whether it's got what it takes to banish memories of the first game, but it certainly appears to be going in the right direction.
Two Worlds II is due out for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 in Q3.