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Platform(s): Xbox 360 (PC)
Developer: Reality Pump
Publisher: SouthPeak Interactive
The problem with Two Worlds is not its horrendous frame rate issues, as some have claimed. Instead, this SouthPeak Interactive title suffers from a major case of trying too hard. It’s touted as an Oblivion competitor, and at that goal it fails miserably. Playing through the game you’ll start to realize that the developers had something good going, but things got lost in the programming. You have to give Reality Pump credit for having the balls to compare their title to arguably the best game on the 360 up until BioShock came out.
Games have to hook you in the first moments; it’s just the nature of the medium. No one wants to waste 10+ hours of their time with pure suckitude. While there are expansive fields to explore, and some interesting RPG elements added to the hack ‘n’ slash gameplay, many won’t get far enough to enjoy the rare moments of fun Two Worlds has to offer. With that in mind, let’s just get right to the presentation.
Having a chugging framerate when there are a ton of events happening on screen does happen, even to the best of titles. Two Worlds suffers from this whenever you play. Walking down an empty path to the next village will result in a drop of 10-15 frames per second. This is absolutely unacceptable in a title that boasts a huge game world you have to travel through. It makes any quest outside of the current town a hassle. What’s worse is there is a wonky hit detection system, which results in horrible combat and NPC’s popping through walls on occasion. This is especially sad, because the combat is one area where Two Worlds showed promise.
I’m sure you came here hoping for a bash fest, complete with gimps and bloodthirsty canines. But when it comes to the actual game under this ugly trench coat, there’s something kind of nice about Two Worlds. The first few hours of the game offers players the chance to do what they want, but following the story is a simple matter of going to a place marked on your map. This eases you into the game. Another nice aspect is that Two Worlds doesn’t ramp up enemies as you gain experience. At the beginning of the game you’ll encounter animals and enemies that will destroy you, and you have to play it smart by getting around them. Trust me, you don’t want to fight a bear within an hour of starting the game. What the mechanic does is add weight to the importance of your becoming an increasingly powerful warrior.
Once the game begins rolling along the main storyline becomes a wide open net, with the player needing to finish side quests to move along. Your standing in the world plays an important role in how quickly you progress, so you’ll find that doing a side quest will help immensely. For anyone willing to endure Two Worlds, there are some rewards to be had. If you just want to bludgeon your way through the game, this might not be the game for you.
It’s hard to tell where coding problems begin and end in the game because they are so abundant, but whatever the reason there are some troubling happenings in Two Worlds. Combat is almost purely button mashing on its own, but some depth is added by the use of equipment. Speaking of the combat, there is no block option. Instead your avatar will jump out of the way with the press of a button. When we say that, we mean he’ll jump away almost every single time. It seems like a bit of a cheat that when up against melee enemies you are nearly invincible. The shrines don’t help that situation much. When you “die” your body is resurrected at a nearby shrine. You retain all of your goodies, and any time you’re weak the shrine can heal you. It’s an easily exploitable feature. If you decide to set the game to hard these problems are alleviated, but you can’t change difficulty levels in the middle of a game.
With chugging frame rates, getting around the huge world is a bit of a chore. Luckily there are a plethora of teleports you can activate, and early on you’ll get a stone that allows you to teleport from most anywhere. This is a huge relief, as your other mode of transport is a horse. Horse riding, and combat, is an abortion of a control setup. You’re rarely in control of what’s happening, and most times you’re simply better off walking to the next destination. After the tenth time your horse stops because there is some uneven land ahead, or maybe a slightly narrowed pathway, you’ll be willing to take the long hike.
Two Worlds isn’t going to inspire the masses. If you can even read the text onscreen, you’re well ahead of the majority of people. The icons used in the game hilariously reminded me of those used in Phantasmagoria, but little touches like that made me chuckle instead of fling the control pad. Much has been made about the terrible voice acting, and dialogue. There’s a ton of Ye Olde English thrown into the game that seems trite, but the booming delivery of most lines by the lead character will leave you crying. By the end, you might just find the voice acting a little endearing.
When everything is all said and done, Two Worlds isn’t the abomination you might believe. Sure, there are numerous (and annoyingly constant) glitches and problems with the game code. Your avatar may end up many feet from where he just was, and you’ll become intimately familiar with the little loading icon in the corner. But there are some great characters to get into, and an epic world to explore as you fight to rid the world of Aziraal.