Two Worlds Critique: “Say Hello to DEATH”

Two Worlds is a game that I didn’t really like at first. The combat was stiff, not to the levels of Risen but still not fluid, the overall mechanics were iffy, and the alchemy was really just confusing. I let it sit in my library for a while until a few weeks ago, when I started replaying it, helped by the fact that in the time between, several people had finally figured out the alchemy rules.

The game is kind of hard to take seriously, mostly because of the voice acting, which seems mostly silly even when it should be serious, along with the feeling of starting In media res but without context, with you being a somehow-important mercenary with a sister that’s been kidnapped for…reasons…and the only logical motivation being that you’re trying to rescue her. It doesn’t explain who’s taken her besides a name, you don’t find out the faction until about 10 hours in, and the best part? You can become friendly with that same faction quickly, almost entirely by collecting a single item spread like Nirnroot that apparently spawns undead enemies every night, usually in graveyards. The factions play out like Morrowind meets every MMO with more than one player faction ever, with every two factions being against each other…not that this stops you from playing both sides, which is lent some backing by you being a merc and mostly being about the money.

The plot device you’re after is a relic your family had until it was broken up into pieces which can apparently resurrect the deceased Orc god. This is generally considered to be a bad thing, although if you find an NPC with one of the “good” factions, The Society, the conversations makes it seem like they’re less like the standard Orcs and more like the Kerrigan-led Zerg at the end of StarCraft II…it’s really bad when the outcome most people don’t want to happen in the game actually sounds like a good thing because of an external threat to the world.

The actual mechanics, aside from questionable combat, are actually pretty decent, feeling like someone took the best parts of Morrowind and Diablo and mushed them up. There’s four main stats, following the Diablo pattern, along with the inventory system which goes based a number of squares. Where it splits with Diablo is the amount of inventory space and the size. The physical size of the inventory is a great deal higher than any other dungeon crawler, matching only a modded Torchlight II with 10 inventory tabs. There’s also a weight limit that increases with added Strength, which is where the game starts looking like the Elder Scrolls clone it’s commonly charged with being. That, along with the numerous skills are the major Morrowind-style mechanics with a hint of Risen, since in order to learn skills you don’t start with you need to find the right trainers. Unlike Risen, however, these actually make sense, like one of the last skills I learned was how to break enemy weapons with a certain type of dagger, something quite specialized. I’m not sure if the skills you start with are randomized, since there were trainers early on that couldn’t teach me anything since I already knew what they taught, but even so, the starting skills are an excellent pool of basics, including the required lockpicking, vital for any mass looter.

The most important skill, however, is the aforementioned Alchemy. You find a vast amount of materials throughout the large game world, many of them offering temporary effects…but some offer a permanent effect. Each level of alchemy gets you a higher percentage of the potential effects from the potion ingredients, which means for the permanent potions, you want to wait until you max out the skill…which can lead to some borderline game-breaking potions, such as this one I personally made. Keep in mind, this game gives you 5 stat points per level, and that single potion adds 49 of those points permanently, sort of like the late-game stat potions in Diablo but with a much stronger effect. The only really unique mechanic this game has is item-stacking, which lets you take multiple copies of the same item and stack them to improve their power. Aside from rare instances, this is only useful at the start of the game due to the variety of items dropped later.

The main question that should be asked is if this is a good game. It’s certainly not the worst RPG I’ve played, that dishonor belonging to the first Risen, but it’s not all that good of a game overall. The mechanics are solid, but the story and characters are a bit too silly and complex in the wrong ways to be taken seriously, which holds this game back from really being good. The sequel, on the other hand…