Sunday, January 19, 2014

Review #88: Two Worlds 2

 But... there's like only one world involved!
 Two Worlds was a terrible game, I didn't actually play since I don't have a 360, but it's reputation precedes it. For some reason, someone thought it was a good idea to make a sequel, this time a multiplatform release, and here is the end result.
 The game takes places... after the first game? It doesn't really follow any of the endings from Two Worlds 1, but it features the same three core characters. Regardless, Gandohar, the evil ruler from the first game, has captured the main character and his sister for over three years. Unexpectedly, a party of Orcs, who seem to have been enemies on the first game(The game doesn't really explain much from the first game), rescue the main character but are unable to save his sister. Free from Gandohar, the player must now traverse the land, it's only one world though, in order to obtain the strength needed to defeat Gandohar and rescue his sister. The story is pretty lame, there's a bit of a twist near the end, but you probably suspected a bit by then, and plenty of plot points, from Story-related quests, lead to nowhere.
 Two Worlds 2 follows the blue prints of every other Western RPG ever, you are placed in a very large area that you can travel at your leisure, barring a couple of story-related barriers, taking Quests from villagers, if you want to, or following the story-related quests when you see fit. Sadly, the game is deceptively short, when you are first thrust into the starting area, you'll have a fair share of quests, and a huge island to explore, what's more, there's plenty of areas that the Quests won't take you to, so they are entirely optional and may, or may not, conceal mini-dungeons. When Chapter 2 starts, you are thrown into a new Island(You can travel back to the first one whenever you want, but there's nothing new in there). It's a bit smaller, but there's even more quests than the first Island. Chapter 3 and 4 take you to the third and last Island, which has only a handful of subquests. You can explore it, if you want, but there's nothing to do there, nothing of consequence anyways. I was done with the game, 80% done(About everything but the horse races, more on that later) in less than 30 hours. The game is not as big as it looks.
 As with most games of this ilk, there's three major specialties, Rogue, Warrior or Mage. Combat, for both Rogues and Warriors, is pretty simple and dumb, like with most games of this kind, you get a couple of skills, Rogues can actually set up traps, and you can fight with bows, daggers, Swords, maces, Axes, y'know, the usual suspects. Mages, however, get a massive amount of options, by mixing different magic cards, you can create different spells, and there are hundreds upon hundreds of combinations with different, and sometimes hilarious, effects. Your character is not set on stone, with each level you can spend points wherever you like, you get 4 Points to distribute between Strenght, Endurance, Agility and Intelligence, plus 3 Skill Points to place in skills from any branch you want. As a whole, it's a good system and grants you plenty of freedom to develop your character however you like.
 It's not all good, controls are actually pretty clunky and often unresponsive. It may be due to how bad the framerate can drop at times, it's playable, but it can get annoying. The worst offender is Horse Riding, if you go too fast, the framerate will drop below double digits, making it nigh unplayable. There was this one mission that was a Horse Race on which I gave up since when the framerate dropped, it was impossible to steer the horse, which is a fight in it by itself as horse riding controls are awful, and later I discovered that there's a whole slew of horse-riding sub-missions. Yeah, I'm gonna pass. The Inventory is pretty lame too, you get a couple of tabs: Equipment, Ingredients and Misc(Magic Cards, Traps, Teleporters, etc), placed on a grid. It can get confusing, and while you can have three Item-Sets assigned to the digital pad, the game doesn't tell you which equipment pieces are being used by one of said sets, so you could potentially sell your equipment by mistake, heck, the game doesn't even ask you if you are sure that you want to sell your equipped items.
 Graphics are a mixed bag. Environments look downright beautiful, there's plenty of vistas to enjoy, character models on the other hand are fairly ugly and recycled throughout. It feels as if their proportions are off, the arms might be too short? Probably. At least the armors look pretty nice. Animation too is a bit wonky, some of the attack strings are pretty awkward to say the least. Also, all big enemy types, like Cyclops, share the same animations and it's pretty noticeable that they are just reskinnings of the same model. Even worse, the big enemies can fling you around, and if you fall over uneven terrain, your character will glitch( by stuttering) over the floor instead of getting up immediately, leaving you open for more attacks, not fun at all.  Music is forgettable, I don't remember a single tune from the game, and voice acting is passable, even if the protagonist tries too hard to sound gruff.
   So what do you make of Two Worlds 2? All the foundations of a good Western RPG are set and they are fairly functional, but it's still very rough around the edges. It's not a bad game by any means, but it needed more time in the oven, refining the controls, tidying up the inventory screens, creating more NPCs, toning down the motion blur when rotating the camera and the such.
 6.5 out of 10.

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