Two Worlds II review


Two Worlds II review

Four years ago, when Oblivion was one of the 360’s few high-profile RPGs, Two Worlds took its shot at the big time — and missed. Buggy gameplay, miserable combat, an atrocious script, and a too-simple structure squandered its potential. With so much room for improvement, we’re not surprised that Two Worlds II is a better game. What is surprising is how this follow-up seems content to simply outdo its predecessor and call it a day.

Two Worlds II’s greatest asset is that it’s an adequate action game — nothing more, nothing less. A wide range of unlockable attacks, learnable skills, and upgradable personal traits make for some fun flexibility during combat. Your everyday foes are hardly original, but the addition of tangible feedback — where opponents react to your clubbing and cutting — makes fighting feel much better than it did in the first game, whether you’re casting spells on scorpions, shooting arrows at mummies, or slashing goblins with your sword.

A separate cooperative campaign offers similar battles, letting up to eight players (!) band together to crush the forces of evil. Battling alongside your friends definitely adds thrills, and this independent campaign is a significant addition to an already massive game: in both campaigns, Two Worlds II has an absurd number of objectives to keep you occupied. Unfortunately, though, the same looming issues haunt solo play and co-op. Neither story has engaging characters or memorable plot points, so there’s not much pulling you through the cripplingly poor mission design. Almost all of the main missions are fetch quests or arena battles, and interesting side quests — such as racing horses and resolving feuding towns’ politics — are spread thin.

Worst of all, you never feel a sense of growth. No matter how many levels you gain, and regardless of what great new gear you find, you always feel underpowered. Enemies regularly kill your characters with one hit, and your greatest defense against the unfair, overpowered bosses is the save system — without checkpoints to save your skin, you’ll have to manually abuse the save-anywhere feature. It’s much less frustrating (but still absurd) to save-and-load in the middle of an unfair fight rather than retry it from the beginning.

Even with Two Worlds II’s minor enhancements and impressive amount of content, the game’s dull, repetitive missions drive home the harsh truth: it’s an aggressively average action-RPG that’s here far too late for anyone to care.

On Xbox 360

+ A behemoth of a game with a ridiculous amount of content.

+ Separate co-op campaign = better times with a buddy or seven.

- Creatively bankrupt; repetitive and dull, especially compared to contemporary RPGs like Dragon Age and Mass Effect.

? Why don’t all games let us fight dinos in nothin’ but our Underoos?


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