The lights are on
Two Worlds II is the kind of game that gets overlooked among all the great offerings from top-notch RPG developers like Bethesda and BioWare. It lacks the level of polish and overall quality that we've come to expect from games this generation, but just because it's no masterpiece doesn't mean it's terrible. Two Worlds II shows a very high level of improvement from the first game in the series, which is widely considered to be one of the worst games of this generation. The voice acting is still bad, the animation can be awkward at times, and the story is pretty forgettable, but Two Worlds II offers a fun and unique roleplaying experience for those who are willing to forgive its flaws. For those like myself who found charm underneath the layers of technical issues that plagued the first game, everything you liked is still intact and improved upon.
Like most European RPGs, Two Worlds II tends to put more emphasis on character development than storytelling, and the effort that developer Reality Pump put into this aspect of the game really shows. Two Worlds II ditches the restrictive class system found in most RPGs and instead, opts for a robust skill-based advancement system, allowing you to improve any of 50+ skills in any order and combination you choose. The game also features an interesting equipment upgrade system and the most unique and versatile spell casting system I have seen in any game to date. Combined, these features make character advancement the most fun and rewarding part of the game.
Two Worlds II also goes where few RPGs dare to go, by adding a full multiplayer experience to the fold. There are several competitive multiplayer modes as well as a village builder and a seven-part cooperative campaign. The competitive multiplayer is somewhat passable and the village builder is not much more than a distraction, but the cooperative campaign, while very linear compared the single player experience, is a very welcome and fun addition if you have a few friends to play it with.
Overall, Two Worlds II is a worthwhile investment for hardcore RPG fans, but if you're a more casual fan of the genre, the rough edges might steer you away. The level of improvement from the first game is incredible though, and Reality Pump has proven that it's worthy of a second chance as an RPG developer. Two Worlds II is definitely not the next Dragon Age or Elder Scrolls, but die-hard RPG fans will find a lot to love in this otherwise passable game.
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