Our hero trots carefully through the dense fog on a skeleton horse. His armor is a mismatched patchwork quilt of boots, chest plates, and helmets made of every material known to man. He is a fashion disaster. His mighty weapon is simply 42 Katanas duct taped together, enchanted with various stones forged by tossing random items into a boiling pot. In the distance he spies a massive black bear, and charges towards it declaring “Aah, Bandits”.
The hero dismounts his horse and in one fell swoop crushes the skull of the creature with one strike of his 42 Katanas. These are the wild realms of Two Worlds, developed by Reality Pump studios.
Two Worlds is a difficult game to evaluate; for everything it does incredibly right, it does something else so terribly wrong. It is one of the foremost examples of the B-Game concept. Like a B-Movie, a B-Game is low budget and rife with technical issues, but at it’s very heart an entertaining and often hilarious experience. If one can see through the myriad of issues plaguing Two Worlds, there is a good, and sometimes wonderful game at it’s core.
The game begins by introducing our main character; a mercenary whose sister is kidnapped by mysterious forces. The voice acting in this scene is atrocious, and it doesn’t get any better. Most of the characters are voiced with acting skills somewhere between awful and unnerving, with certain strange enunciation’s making you wonder whether or not the actors spoke English as a first language at all.
After this brief cut scene you are asked to create a character. The options are limited, but in strange ways. Little can be done to change the shape of your avatar’s body, but you can easily give him incredibly long arms to fashion him into some sort of medieval Donkey Kong, and strangest of all it seems that no matter how you adjust your character’s face he will come out cross eyed, providing a good deal of hilarity until you find a helmet that thankfully shields the world of Antaloor from your miserable face.
Two Worlds will be unfairly judged by many expecting an Oblivion or Morrowind clone, and while they share similarities in appearance they are vastly different in nearly all respects. For one, Two Worlds‘ setting of Antaloor is home to several different types of environments from desert wastes to lush forests, while Oblivion, save a few areas of snow, is for the the most part a romp through the forest. Two Worlds is highly populated with tens of cities big and small to explore and pillage, with no load times upon entering or exiting, which is a welcome change from many open world RPGs.
This lack of prominent load times may hurt the game more than help it though, as the frame rate is usually terrible, even going so far as to cause motion sickness in this reviewer. Installing the game to the hard drive does little to curb the issue. Out of all the negative aspects of Two Worlds, the frame rate is by and large the most noticeable issue. Sadly this has been a problem for games for over a decade now, which leads one to wonder why it hasn’t been solved yet.
Sometime around level 30, which takes only a few hours if you’re dedicated, your character effectively becomes a god. It is possible to wipe out entire cities at this point, looting and pillaging them for all their worth. The lack of respawn in the game can be detrimental if you’re looking for someone to sell to, but it certainly makes you feel powerful when it’s possible to slaughter every living creature that resides within the game.
This level of power is achieved primarily by Two Worlds stacking system, which allows you to stack any two identical items together, combining both their powers to create an even more powerful weapon. Weapons can be stacked almost indefinitely, providing you easily with a sword that does thousands of damage points per second, making you a destructive force the likes of which has never been witnessed.
Some may feel that stacking breaks the game, but Two Worlds is not for these people. I feel that the game begs you to break it, to discover the most powerful combination of items that will allow you to decimate the population. The story becomes inconsequential as you find yourself often murdering quest givers with little regret, although many of the missions are varied and well done. The fun of the game simply becomes advancing your powers and destroying foes, both good and evil.
Or, you can be a mellow adventurer; that’s the beauty of Two Worlds. Your are blessed with unparalleled freedom to do whatever you like, and simply roaming the countryside discovering strange caves and ruins can be as fun if not more so than leveling a city block with your broadsword. Two Worlds is truly an open world game, where the only thing keeping you from exploring is the fear of the high level monsters that roam certain zones, but if you are vigilant you can travel there too. Maybe with enough dedication you can take down a Dragon, or a hulking Golem.
Two Worlds is an adventure. From start to finish you decide where you’re going, what you will do there, and when you will do it. The graphics are sub par, and it doesn’t always run smoothly, but these flaws are meager in comparison to the amount of choices you have, and the amount of fun you can have making them. With so many thousands of different weapons and armor, and hundreds of spells to find populating the seemingly infinite dungeons, cities, and caves of Antaloor,Two Worlds will provide you with hours of pure escapism, and that’s all a great game, or even a B-Game can really hope to provide in the end.
Reviewer’s note: The Xbox 360 version was tested for this review
The looks remiscient of an unpolished game from earlier in the decade, but the draw distance is much further than other games of this type and many enemy designs are inventive.
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The hacking and dungeon crawling may turn some off, but fans of these activities will find a lot to love.
Odd sound quirks, and glitches litter the game. The protagonist often issues commentary that is out of place, but this can be highly amusing.
There is a lot to see and do in Antaloor, and even more to kill. Plenty of quests and factions to work for, with lots of loot to be discovered. This game will occupy you for a long time.
Two worlds is not a game that has been given much praise, regardless it is a fun and immersive experience that fans of action RPGs would be wise to look into.