Two Worlds II initial thoughts

Last week I picked up Two Worlds II for the Xbox 360. A few of my XBL friends saw me playing and asked how I was liking it, so here’s my answer.

In case you aren’t familiar with the title, TW2 is an open-world RPG. I bought it because I really wanted to play Skyrim but it isn’t November. I just had the itch to basically play an MMO that wasn’t an MMO and it turns out TW2 is pretty close to that. It has quests and leveling of course, but it also has rudimentary crafting and alchemy systems. In the former you destroy gear to get raw materials to use in improving other gear, and in the latter you harvest bits from the landscape and the corpses of things you kill and combine them to make potions. TW2 also has a big enough world, and enough stuff in it, to keep your attention if you just feel like wandering around exploring. At least, so far.

The combat system is action based but not really frenetic. You have 3 “equipment sets” that you can switch between on the fly. I set up one for melee, one for archery and one for magic. The system takes some getting used to. There’s basic 1 button to attack, 1 to block combat, but also more complex things like a multi-arrow attack that lets you ‘tag’ several enemies and then shoot an arrow at each one.

The magic system is quite interesting. You have a couple of “spell amulets” and you collect various magic cards in your travels. By combining cards in the amulets you can create a spell. It’s kind of similar to Magicka, of all things. So you might combine a Fire card with a Bolt card to make Fireball spell, for example. I don’t have a lot of cards yet but I’ve read about some pretty crazy spells people have put together. I don’t usually play Mages but in TW2 skipping the magic system just seems like too much of a shame, so I’m trying.

I’m only 5 hours or so into the game (though I’ve played longer than feels enough like an MMO that I keep forgetting I have to save my game. Doh!) so can’t pass any comprehensive judgement on it, but I will say the game feels pretty rough in spots. The interface can be really awkward to use and at times the engine will stutter or hitch for a second. None of it, so far, is game-breaking but it makes me think that the full $60 price I paid was too much. It didn’t help that Direct2Drive had a sale on the Windows version this weekend: $25, and according to the various forums I’ve poked into, the company is much better about patching the PC version than they are the console versions. If you decide to play I’d really point you at the PC version.

I considered PC, but I was really looking for a couch-title. I wanted to stretch out and relax and explore a world and honestly TW2 is giving me that. One quick example. Your very first location to explore is a small island. You’ll have a couple of quests but soon enough you get access to a teleporter that takes you to a 2nd, larger island. I got there and started questing and things felt a bit tough. After dying a few times I headed back to that initial smaller island and started wandering around. I found lots of stuff I was never sent to in a quest, including some caves full of mobs that were actually still too tough for me to take on. I know now I’ll have to go back and explore this area further. To me, this is exactly what I was hoping for… a place to explore where I’ll find un-marked caverns and lairs to fight in.

The game has some kind of multiplayer but I haven’t tried it yet.

Don’t buy TW2 at $60 unless, like me, you’re really hankering for an open world RPG on console and you have nothing else to play. If you can find it for $20-$25 (like the Direct2Drive deal) and you’re looking to roam a fantasy world, then it’s probably worth it.