Two Worlds 2 PS3 Review

Dar-pha

Unexpectedly Two Worlds was an engaging and enjoyable RPG. Even though you could not play as a female avatar, it did well enough for what it was. As RPG’s go many people have distinct favorites. This game isn’t going to be replacing any mega hit JRPG’s anytime soon. But like that secondary anime that you watch in between episodes of your favorite, this game’s few flaws aren’t bad enough to prevent you from wasting some time on it.

With a Gandalf clone named Gandahar as the villain, although it seems very LOTR-esque in some ways, the story does have a female at the center of the plot. The main character’s sister has been abducted and an evil sorcerer who held your character captive as well, is extracting her magical mana from her for himself.

Perhaps the game’s best effort is the graphics. It does feature detailed beautiful graphics. This is the best looking game that I have played in a while, after a spate of either drab or just simplistic game designs in reviews. This one gives a feeling of adventure by having pretty green forests with trees that look like trees. There are branches in the trees which are round, and leaves that are leaf shaped and aren’t only sharp, one dimensional, bare polygons. When the character walks through tall grass and shrubs, they move around. The wind moves the scenery. There are snowy mountain ranges that don’t look like a painting sold by a busker on the street corner next to a Dunkin Doughnuts.

There is abundant foliage and scenery, with all those nicely realistic looking plants. I spotted hawkweed, dandelions, blue chicory and yarrow. Each of them nodding as they individually move as you walk through them. They have done equally well propagating jungles, or desert Savannah’s which are more than texture maps. Another pleasant discovery was their excellent use of lighting effects.

Equally well detailed are the enemies’ character models. The Orcs are ugly-ass muscular fighting  brutes. They do resemble Infinity Blade’s Orcish fighters. They are luridly colored in deep tones, with crenellated, wrinkled skin and cut muscles. All of which are visible, showing that equal care was taken in the many aspects of crafting this game.

The Orcs play an unusual dual role in his game. They are in some places enemies, and in other places friends. The game speaks a lot about taking appearances for granted. It challenges your character’s sense of trust and preconceived notions about the race of Orcs. It makes you wonder how much of the political commentary is intentional. Your character is saved by a band of not so usual Orcs in fact, at the start of the game.

The NPC character Dar Pha is a female who wears a kerchief across her face. Could she possibly be a half Orc? Female character is much more intense looking than the male character you are stuck with. I can’t help wondering why we aren’t playing her? Hers is surely a more interesting story, will it be a missed opportunity, or one for another day?

In many games of this nature you will get a character who doesn’t feel right while walking. The physics for walking never seems to work right. Not this time though. He doesn’t float above the terrain. He doesn’t sink down and loose his feet into the textures, and he doesn’t bobble up and down either. His shoes are ordinary, but you can see them. That is a plus. There are sound effects for walking which are plausible and the tone changes depending on the surface he is on. RPG’s have a general theme of traveling on foot, while on some grand quest. There is usually plenty of walking involved. Exploration potential is important in games and the way the character travels on foot is a large part of the immersion.

When a developer chooses to put an avatar in a third person game it can draw you into the scene more fully if it is done right. (Boo for no female avatar!) The amount of details in the avatar relates directly to how involved you can get into the game. Fine details like shoes and the interaction between the character and the environmemt when outside of combat shows how much the developer was thinking about the user. With an RPG the experience does weigh heavily on the story and your involvement in the characters.

You don’t find many games these days that allow you to customize your own character class. Even though the cosmetic customization for the character lacks the choice for female avatar, and isn’t very expansive for your male character either, they do make up for it with the unique way that they deal with the sets of skills.

You can choose from the whole buffet of abilities. Everything is there from swords to magic and archery. Then there are layers and levels galore above that.

This goes for crafting as well. There is tons of loot in this game, and all of it is craftable by breaking it down into components. The various enhancements can be used to power up weapons and create other buffs for your character. You can spend a limitless amount of time just collecting stuff and creating things. You use the skill points, and add stones too that will enhance your weapon’s powers. If that is how you feel about it, you can take your time on the main quest.

The magic system in the game is based on the popular set of elements like fire or water. It is also card based. The cards indicate the element, it’s range and type. As you collect them or complete tasks you can divine your own spells. The potential to make spells is unique. If you want long range blasts, or something to prevent enemies from coming too close, you can decide on the best course of strategy.

You can skip the cut scenes huzzah! If you aren’t particularly interested in the voice acting, it can thankfully be skipped.

The ambient noise is much more than just the buzzing of a fly hear in Dragon Age 2. The lilting sounds of birds and flying insect wings has just the right balance to make it sound like a natural environment. The music to stealth kill by sets the right tone. It has an epic feel to it at the right moments. It is rich with many instrumentals and what sound like aboriginal instruments. There is native sounding chanting, and primal drums. They did an excellent job on the sound track it has a World sound to it.

Two Worlds II is set in an expansive semi – open World and does offer a good value for single player experience with many hours of gameplay. Many of the missions are hunt and fetch of course, there isn’t much innovation. It does feel comfortable and accomplishable though. With the ease of use of the interface it doesn’t make you feel like you are going to get stuck right away.

The Map system could use improvement. There is a fine line between keeping up the mystery for the sake of effect, or being irritating. This Map system fell into the category of  irritating and obtuse. The Map looks like a tray of blowing sand with nothing written on it. Bright candy colored flags are available for use as way points, but unfortunately neither the terrain or it’s labels are to be  seen.

The interface is clunky and stoggy. But what RPG control layout isn’t? They are attempting to fit everything into a console controller that would be better off with a keyboard after all. Getting to those cool weapons, your bow, or the great looking spells in a hurry is going to take practice. You’ll have to memorize where you put everything and then the sequence of buttons you need to activate it. If you end up dying over and over, it might not be because the game is overly hard. It might just be hard to get the game to actually do what you tell it to.

Like Elder Scrolls Oblivion, which showed up the original Two Worlds, your character can pick locks. You may be called upon to deliver a severed heads. Or pastorally collect herbs. You are able to ride horses and take off on side quests, leaving your sister to roast indefinitely.

But unlike Oblivion which came out so long ago, and Red Dead Redemption that came out only last year, neither of those skills are quite as good. The horse riding in RDR is still incomparable in any other game. The game is nostalgic. Not only in the medieval theme, but also in several other ways. They are competing with something that was new in 2007. When Elder Scrolls Skyrim comes out later this year, it will show exactly how these two franchises are years apart.

The women have various outfits that fit tightly, focusing on the boobs, which hang out. Does it pass the girl gamer’s Bechtel test? Not hardly. There doesn’t seem to be much if any consideration given to the underserved female portion of the demographic of Western style sword and sorcery RPG fans. Giving more of it’s curve to teen males.

If you find that you are working on your character and making weapons and spells to use, then it may have grabbed you. This game is subtle, it is a sleeper title that snuck up from behind a tree, before the summer blockbusters and the holiday lineup come along to blow it it if the park.  On the whole this was not a bad game I’d recommend giving it a Rent, to see how long it sticks around before you’ve sunk in enough time on it to buy it. I give Two Worlds 2, 7 magic stones out of 10.

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