There are children yet unborn who weep within the bellies of their mothers, knowing they are to be thrust into the same world that gave us Two Worlds. The original RPG from Topware Interactive is so atrocious, so unutterably diabolical that it is believed God will send down his only begotten son once more to be crucified, just as penance for this one game's creation. In other words, Two Worlds f*cking sucked.
You won't believe me when I tell you this... but Two Worlds II is actually playable. I played it at E3 and had to rinse my brain in bleach to comprehend it. Read on for the full preview and be amazed!
Speaking from a purely aesthetic standpoint, the difference between Two Worlds and Two Worlds II is like night and day. A new closer perspective, slicker animations, and generally more polished graphics makes this look like an entirely different game. In fact, if you gave me a demo of Two Worlds II without telling me what it was, I would easily believe that it was a totally new RPG rather than the sequel to one of the worst RPGs ever made.
This difference translates into the gameplay, too. The closer camera lends itself well to a more action-oriented game, as players of the warrior class perform simple combo attacks interspersed with special moves. Special moves are determined by the equipped weapon, and two are slotted to the "B" and "Y" buttons on the 360 controller, while RT deals normal attacks.
Combat is tighter, and has a very nice flow to it. Southpeak informs me that the combat is still being polished, but in this pre-release state it's still looking pretty good. The dreadful animations of the hilarious early trailer are nowhere to be seen. The game looks and runs a lot better now, to the point where it actually looks like a real videogame released in the current generation. What a nice bonus.
There are no predetermined classes, per se, but players can build a character however they want. There is enough customization for you to create battle-ready warriors, powerful mages, or arrow-firing rangers. The magic system is incredibly intriguing, allowing as it does the ability to combine spells of up to three tiers in order to create different effects. For example, you could mix a fireball with a summon monster spell, in order to throw fireballs that summon monsters once they hit something. There are allegedly tons of spells to mix and match in the game, so magic users will have a huge amount of fun playing around with the system to create the ultimate arcane arsenal.
So far, I am impressed by just how far Two Worlds II has come along. It's far too early to say for sure if this game has enough stuff to be a classic, but I've already been able to play it for longer than ten minutes, which is twice as long as I've been able to play the original without being violently sick all over my hands and balls. That is a definite plus for the game.
Overall, it's incredibly encouraging to know that TopWare and Southpeak are more than aware of the original game's flaws. I made no secret of how much I hated the original game in front of the SouthPeak reps and they didn't even try to defend it. This sequel is being developed at the same time for PC and console, meaning there will be no more shoddy port jobs. The combat system has been improved and is continuing to improve, and the graphics aren't half bad either. Overall, there is no doubt that this game is vastly superior to the original. That isn't saying much, but it's a very promising start.
Two Worlds II aims to do for Two Worlds what Red Steel II did for Red Steel. If successful, Two Worlds II could be the most epic turnaround for a franchise in videogame history. I can't wait to find out if they can pull it off.