The Cult Gamer: Two Worlds II (Can You Make Yourself Like A Game?)
I first tried Two Worlds II over 6 months ago. Open world RPG? Great. Endlessly customizable? Yay. Traditional swords and sorcery stuff? Awesome. I knew the game got mostly rough reviews, but the developer and publisher all seemed awfully proud of their game nonetheless so I gave it a buy. It was intriguing at first, clearly rough around the edges and a bit awkward but it grabbed me in a certain way. Then it let me go. The terrible voice acting seemed done by the developers themselves or people off the street, the interface was clumsy as hell, the controls were atrocious and there were so many bugs and glitches all around that I couldn’t keep playing. I wanted to like it, and I tried to get into it a number of times but ultimately gave up and sold it.
Time passed, Southpeak and Topware decided to give their game a Game of the Year edition even though it’s a 6 out of 10 at best and nobody ever gave it that honor. Still it made me think of the game. “Had I been too hard on it?” I kept thinking of my character (who I made look just like me) and how much more he could have done if I were diligent. Plus the visual style is so appealing. So I bought it again, and after about 3 hard tries and after getting the first bothersome quests out of the way I’ve somehow fallen in love with the game.
The graphics are really bad in some places, but the GRACE engine handles things absolutely beautifully. And I realized that the only way to enjoy it was to look at it a different way. Like that movie “Immortals”. Yes, the movie sucked, but if you look at every scene as if it were an actual painting, you see the brilliance in the scene direction and visuals. Two Worlds II is like that, a painting that gets under your skin. Even if you never paid attention in art history chances are something like Nighthawks, Rainy Day In Paris, or Nocturne in Black and Gold just stuck with you. Now that I’m addicted to the game I see a lot of magical scenery in it.
There’s no getting around the terrible voice work, the bad effects, and the fact that the audio is always cutting out, but the musical score itself isn’t bad and the game knows exactly when to get quiet and it handles ambient sounds masterfully at times.
The controls take a ton of getting used to. You can’t just swing away, you’ve got to draw your weapons and choose your loadouts or you’ll just wind up kicking at the bad guys in a sad 3rd grader kind of way. After trying to get into the game 6 times I finally got the hang of it. As far as accessibility goes this game is really for hardcore RPGers and maybe it’s just not suited to a gamepad (I’m playing on PS3) so it could be easier for keyboard aficianados, but if you can learn the system it can be very beneficial. For instance the 3 “sets” are incredibly useful. By pressing the Dpad left, up, or right I can switch from different set ups in an instant that are very useful. Just a tap and I’m an archer, a rogue, a heavily armored tank, a mage, or whatever I need to be. That’s the strength of this game, customization. But the combat takes patience, you can’t just hack away like Skyrim.
As I mentioned before, the interface to do everything is extremely cumbersome and takes a lot of getting used to. The whole game takes a lot of getting used to, but now that I have I’m exploring all kinds of great places in Antaloor and enjoying the quests. I’ve even had a couple of “video game” dreams about it.
They say the more you listen to a piece of music the more you like and appreciate it, even if it’s something you don’t normally like or appreciate. Can you do the same with a game? I say… maybe you can.
The final word is that scores across the board are pretty accurate, and I’d have a hard time actually recommending the game to anyone but if you have the ability to overlook things you’d never see in a AAA production, or can appreciate a massive vision on the part of the developers even when the production falls short of its mark then Two Worlds II could work for you. Most would tell you not to waste your time but this is the Cult Gamer after all. But, ah, I take no responsibility if you can’t see what I finally saw in it.
I do sincerely hope they try again and make everything work with Two Worlds III. Love that GRACE engine, it just needs to be put to good use. Reminds me of the Cryengine 3. If you buy, buy cheap. Why stick around for the ride? All the great locations, and the game occasionally does something really awesome that let’s you see where this thing was headed.