Two Worlds II: The Game That Keeps on Giving?
I’m suffering from a distinct sense of déjà vu as I write this post, as feel I’ve written something very similar before. Actually, I know perfectly well that I have and here’s the previous blog post. So, once again let’s recapitulate what was previously discussed. Back in 2014, I was searching for another RPG to fill that post Skyrim vacuum. I ended up buying Two Worlds II and its expansion, Pirates of the Flying Fortress. There was an exceptionally well-priced bundle available at the time. Furthermore, a little research showed that this game by German developers Reality Pump Studios, had quite a following. So I invested about 90 hours of my time into this franchise and enjoyed it far more than I expected. The game visually has a lot of rough edges. There are weird character models and a rather ponderous propensity of using faux "Olde English" in all dialogue. But the games core systems are great. Crafting and spells have a great deal of depth. There’s a wide variety of weapons and armour. Plus there’s sailing. I really dig this aspect of the game.
Circa June 2017, I and many other gamers were surprised to learn that there was further DLC coming to Two Worlds II. As well as some additional multiplayer maps, a standalone story Call of the Tenebrae was to be released in Q2 and another, Shattered Embrace, was to become available in Q3. Because I had fond memories of the game, I bought a season pass and dutifully installed the first of the new DLC. However, due to the fluid nature of “life”, I never made much progress with Call of the Tenebrae. Eventually, when I had more leisure time available, other games took priority and so I forgot about Two Worlds II. Until today. To cut along story short I was looking for a discount key for a specific game and I found myself perusing the TopWare Interactive online store. And there, as bold as brass, was a banner for Shattered Embrace. Turns out it wasn’t released back in 2017 due to “reasons” and is scheduled to come out this November. As I have a season pass, I should get this free of charge, so I duly re-installed all of Two Worlds II. It didn’t take long for the games niche market charms to come flooding back.
If you like open world RPGs and are prepared to try a flawed but interesting game, then why not give Two Worlds II a try. If you shop around you can get the base edition for an absolute song on numerous key seller sites. The GUI and combat mechanics are intuitive and fairly simple to master. The tutorial is integrated into the prologue quests which helps a lot. The dialogue is frequently droll and self-referential and it curiously mitigates some of the game’s rough edges. Some of the human character models are a bit weak and look quite awkward, where others such as the various beats and monsters are quite pleasing. The lighting is especially good and helps make the open world more atmospheric. The game is very good at servicing the players immediate needs, presenting them with many key RPG tropes and systems. The story itself is not anything special and is merely a narrative MacGuffin, rather than a major selling point. But not every game can be as well written as the Dragon Age franchise.
One of the most appealing aspects of Two Worlds 2 is the fact that you're not tied to a specific class. You can switch between melee, ranged and sorcery on the fly and the spell customisation process is based upon cards. It's very flexible and allows for a very diverse set of skills. The multiplayer element of the game supports co-operative play through specifically designed content; a sort of MMO-lite mode. I have never got around to exploring this aspect of the game but it would seem that the developers, Reality Pump Studios, are at least trying. There are numerous collaborative modes and it’s not just generic death matches. If you want a more in-depth analysis, then here’s a link to an episode of the Angry Joe Show in which he casts a critical eye over the game. In the meantime, I intend to slowly replay the game or at the least catch up with Call of the Tenebrae before the release of the final DLC Shattered Embrace next month. In an age when the lifecycle of a game can be comparatively short, it’s nice to see a developer still producing content nine years after the original release.