The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Ever since Jeff Cork and I fell in love with the
endearing-but-broken survival horror game Deadly Premonition last year,
we've discussed whether there is a place in our industry for B-games -- the interactive equivalent of low budget, badly acted (but
strangely enjoyable) B-movies. Two Worlds II presents the latest
argument in favor of this new style of game.
Like its 2007
predecessor, this sequel has significant problems. Though it features a
new and improved game engine, slowdown occurs frequently, especially
when you or enemies start slinging spells that put the in-game physics
to work. The core story is generic, and the sloppy writing sometimes
fails to explain what's going on or why characters are acting a
certain way. Unlike the original, though, Two Worlds II is playable,
with an improved user experience that shows how Polish developer
Reality Pump has grown.
After a well-paced series of tutorial
missions that set the stage for the story and introduce the numerous
systems at work, players are dropped onto an island that comprises a
small portion of the total game world but has tons of quests. The goals
have plenty of variety, like go here, kill this jobs,
pickpocketing missions for the thieves' guild, and exploration quests
that take place in maze-like ancient tombs packed with hidden treasure.
Your quest log quickly becomes overcrowded, but current objectives are
highlighted on the map and are easy to navigate to thanks to a
Two Worlds II's various mechanics weave
together in a complex but enjoyable pattern. If you want to stick to
cutting down enemies with giant blades, you can. Gamers looking for
more depth can employ the crafting system, which allows you to break
down and build up almost every weapon or piece of armor you receive.
The spell system is even better; as you level up your various skills
and collect spell cards, you can build your own set of insane,
overpowered abilities. Reality Pump made the wise choice of letting
players break the game's balance for the sake of fun.
mentioned, the overall story isn't anything new -- the big baddie
from the first game is now the emperor, and the main character must
join a resistance against him to try to rescue his sister -- but the
tone of your interactions with NPCs is surprisingly original. From
subtle references to the first game's poor quality to over-the-top
scenarios such as encountering a woman who wants to feed you to her
undead husband, the game's self-aware, tongue-in-cheek attitude is
The art design also impresses. Although character
models look rough, environments, armor, and weapons feature enough
detail that I took time to look over my character whenever I equipped
something new. Where the original Two Worlds was mostly based in
generic medieval fantasy motifs, the Two Worlds II environments draw
from Middle Eastern, Egyptian, and Asian influences. Even if the story
and the process of cutting down hundreds upon thousands of beasts is
the same old thing, at least you're doing so in a lively African
savannah instead of boring grasslands and forests.
If the huge
single-player game isn't enough for you, Two Worlds II also contains
a handful of co-op and competitive multiplayer modes. The co-op
chapters in particular provide a nice distraction, but it's
frustrating that equipment and levels don't carry over between
single-player and multiplayer. The other multiplayer options are
Like other games that could fit under the B-game label, not everyone will embrace the elements I enjoyed in
Two Worlds II. If you're looking for a lengthy and humorous (if
somewhat unpolished) hack-and-slash RPG to tide you over while you wait
for Dragon Age II or The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, it's worth giving
Reality Pump a second chance.