Posted: December 10
Warning: Extremely long, mixed rant and story ahead.
It doesn't show, but I've spent dozens of hours in this thing, I swear.
I bought this... thing because Angry Joe recommended it to people who love really, really open world games. As a fan of Garry's Mod, Skyrim's WORLD (not the combat) and free-wheeling, massive games like Wind Waker or Mass Effect, I thought this might be up my alley. I'm not "terribly" pretentious when it comes to graphics, and I like European games. I thought "Hell, why not." Bought it at full price. With the DLC.
I had no idea what I was in for.
Joe, I love you man, but your tastes and mine are not the same.
But first, the good. The World: You can pick a direction or a distant mountain or tower, and walk there. I love that in any game. But there appears to be three huge continents on the map: THIS IS A LIE. There is ONE continent, ONE small island, and ONE SWAMP. THE THIRD CONTINENT IS A LIE. Also, if you like generic Asian land, Savanah Land, and Swamp Land, then this game is totally for you.
The graphics: The environmental graphics, while often repetitive, can almost be breath-taking at times. At full graphics I'm sure it's quite nice looking, especially the ambient lighting and textures. I particularly like the undead swamp, abandoned Asian town, wasteland, and initial savannah area.
That being said, the character models are quite atrocious. While they weren't exactly repulsive, they were very, very ugly, in a charming sort of way, and suffered from an armor designer with tastes very similar to the horrifically awful taste in the Dragon Age games. Seriously, Bioware, shoot that desginer.
Anyway, another somewhat bright spot in the awfulness is the spell design system. I love anything which allows you to summon creatures, and worked like hell to get where I could summon a massive army of skeletons to do my evil bidding, wiping out whole villages of hyena-men in a massive melee beneath a piercing bright moon on the blood-soaked savana. That totally kicked ♥♥♥, as well as wiping out outposts with hordes of rock golems, or my undead horde murdering fishmen in some idiot's flooded basement.
There were some quite memorable side missions, the most well-done the very early on "Fluffy the Dog" mission. That was a quite excellently executed buildup and execution of a damn creepy horror level. Playing at 3am with headphones to hear that soundtrack in the final room (you'll know it) was truly nightmare fuel. Also that bit where the the guy was being buried alive, and the undead swamp, had really quite nice, stark imagery and fairly well realized concepts. I really quite liked those parts, when it was being marred by...
The bad: And how much bad there is.
First the writing: It is quite, quite awful. The side characters (and there are too many of them) are, for the vast majority, flat, lifeless constructs who dole out missions. I can remember a few of them mostly a corrupt embalmer, the grave digging guy, and the creepy priest. And some of the more major characters, the gay captain, the witch, the demon priest, the one British guy (?), the orc chick (Bioware relationship it most certainly was NOT) and of course the Big Bad himself. I actually was genuinely interested in his backstory, and to see how he and the main character were really very similar: both ruthless sons-a-♥♥♥♥♥es, who just happened to go down different paths. Definitely not a novel concept, or particularly well executed but I liked it anyway.
Further comparing it to Bioware and Skyrim, I appreciate that everything was fully animated and voice acted. Not many games has the cajones to do that.
However, that being said, the extremely annoying protagonist caused me to remember why silent protagonists aren't so bad after all: he never shuts his god-damn mouth. He dispenses a tiny pool of one liners upon dispatching his feeble enemies which RAPIDLY grate on the nerves during extended play sessions.
That, and all the voice acting there is is EXCESSIVELY awful voice acting. Seriously. It is very very bad. But, in a morbidly enjoyable sort of way, I guess. You can always skip it if it really starts to ♥♥♥♥ you off (which it may).
The other truly terrible bit of the story is the cutscenes: Every one of them is overly elaborate, horribley mo-capped, butchering-the-art-of-cinema awful. Seriously. These guys need to learn about a little thing called subtlty.
And speaking of subtlty, the ending twist may just be the worst thing ever. Yeah, both of them. They just plain suck.
Now to break down the meat of the game:
There is only one good class. Forget about the complicated spell casting system, because this is how EVERY, and I mean EVERY battle works. Summon deads. Deads distract enemy/form human wall. Throw the same basic spell 500000 times because it is the only thing that recharges fast enough until the deads vanish. Resummon. Repeat until target dead. Repeat ad nauseum with every single fight, and by that I mean the 1000s of enemies you will face in the course of this game. Utter lack of damage resistance means attacks from tough enemies often kill you instantly.
Archery is broken and horrible so rangers are stupid and don't exist.
Horse combat is utterly non-existant. I get that we can't all be Mount and Blade, but horses are worse that useless.
Only fighters have enough damage resistance to be worth playing, but their fighting is possibly even more boring. Spam attacks, wait for idiotic MMO cooldowns, and slavage armor so thick that enemy attacks don't even graze you.
PvE is totally unbalanced. If an enemy succeeds in wounding you, pause time, make 5000 health potions, then drink them.
The stats system utterly lacks subtelty. Put all your points in health and strength. There is absolutely no point to multi-classing. Dark Souls this AIN'T.
Horrible boring enemies that make JRPG's slimes and bats look clever. Ooh, my club and I are SO scared of skeletons.
I truly hate when ostriches, hyenas, boars, and rhinos, all of whom should hate each other, gang up to kill you. It's lazy.
And you may have heard of the final boss battle on a forum. It is one of the most truly pahtetic, disgusting and spectacular fails of a fight I have ever seen in gaming history. I don't mean that lightly.
All in all, it's frustrating, it's idiotic, it's droll, and it's very boring at times. But there are many points where I had fun.
So I'm sorry, Two Worlds 2. I simply can't recommend you to the world. I can only say to those would be buyers out there: if summoning a horde of skeletons to kill a herd of rhinos sounds awesome, or an extremely clumsy approach to sexual assualt (shudder) is your cup of tea, or you LOOOOOVE horrible MMO combat: By all means. Play this... thing. It's your funeral.