(Started as a comment on the Two Worlds II review, but it got long)
I'm the odd one out who desperately wanted to love Oblivion but found that I hated it and still consider it among the worst games of the decade due to:
The "enemies level with you" idea effectively eliminated the RPG elements, because there was no way to make your character more powerful - leveling up or getting new loot just meant that your enemies leveled up or got new loot, too. Effectively, this is doing the exact same thing as the FPS games that give you new skills and/or weapons throughout the game - the FPS gives you stuff and then promptly makes its enemies tougher.
For a game that most people still claim is an RPG, this is at least as bad as the recharging health that has become the norm in FPS games - in much the same way, the tension is gone. Recharging health removed those tension-filled stints where you had 5 HP and needed to play flawlessly for a few minutes until you found a medkit or health station, while having enemies' levels match the player's level got rid of that worry that you might be about to take on some incredibly powerful monstrosity, and it also took away the satisfaction of finally getting to a high enough level where you could go in and take your revenge.
It had too crappy a combat system to be called an action game. If all of the RPG elements are being dumbed down to the level of an FPS, then the combat system needs to be compared to an FPS. After all, the primary reason to play a shooter is to have fun killing things. But Bethesda couldn't even get that right - the combat AI presented no challenge, the various attacks that you could pull off were uninteresting and required too many button presses to be efficient, and to top it all off you couldn't even fight on a horse.
The animations were so bad that they made graphics that looked amazing in screenshots fall to the point where games from 2000 seemed prettier when presented in videos or in game. I'm not huge on graphics, but animations are important to even me - when a company focuses so much on textures and polygon count that they forget to make their polygons rotate at the hips to do a diagonal strafe, it reminds me of the earliest 3D games, in early Playstation days. Yes, the original. Anyone ranting about how good Oblivion looks needs to stop looking at screenshots and start playing in third person - it's about as appealing as a fresh, steaming pile of dog poo on top of your kitchen table.
It offered to let you play as characters that were to become absolutely useless later on. I mean, admittedly, I'm a bit off the beaten path in that I love to play monk characters, but really, in a world with magic, what's preventing a mage who is studied in close combat from coating his fists in a magical flame or something? Could we at least get some sort of magical buff to our fists that lets us deal damage to ghosts? I'm happy playing a heavily underpowered character, but when there's something that the character should, by all rights, be able to do, I would really appreciate it if that thing is at least possible.
What we're effectively left with is an unbalanced fantasy FPS with a horrible combat system, no multiplayer, and graphics that were only impressive in screenshots. After 250 mods (about 15 GB worth, I think), I finally had a playable game, but by that point my enjoyment had been castrated by previous attempts to play to the point where I couldn't even finish playing the modded game.
But Two Worlds II actually has me very interested. If it's a little more classic RPG with a sense of humor and has a world even half as detailed as Oblivion, I'm going to enjoy it. If it has a better combat system and unarmed combat isn't completely worthless, I'll probably love it. The online multiplayer is just icing on the cake.
Plus, the animations look much better than Oblivion's. The reviews all say Two Worlds II's animations are half-assed, but from what I've seen, the character at least points his feet in the direction he's trying to walk.
*cracks knuckles* Time to get TWII working in Wine. read