What can you say about a game that died?  A game so hilariously bad and widely ridiculed that it was clearly destined to be banished to the shores of the seventh circle of gaming hell.  A game so frought with bugs and issues it could not possibly get a sequel . . . yet somehow  it did.  That game was Two Worlds.  Why did Two Worlds get a sequel?  Because it had great potential.  However, if sheer potential was enough these days I’d be playing Alpha Protocol 2 as we speak.  Such is the curious case of Two Worlds II.  Or as I like to call it – the little sequel that could.

I’m not going to regale you with tales of the absurdity and horrible ridiculousness that was Two Worlds because frankly, the past is gone and we must move on. The year is now 2011 and Reality Pump, Topware and SouthPeak have let the naysayers know they’ve been damned and finally released Two Worlds II upon the North American public.  Yet, I was skeptical.  The first game sucked – we all know that.  Why on earth would they tempt fate and dare challenge the gaming gods by attempting the improbable.  Why not let sleeping dogs lie?  Why on earth would anyone make a sequel to Two Worlds!?  Well, in the words of the developers themselves – “Why the fuck not!?”

And why the fuck not indeed!  Two Worlds did have potential.  An overwhelming shit ton of potential to be precise.  If they could somehow manage to completely fix damn near everything that was wrong with the original game – they could produce an RPG the likes of no other.  An open, expansive, addicting and downright fun roleplaying experience for gamers young and old.  Have they managed to do so with Two Worlds II?  I suppose you’ll just have to read on to find out.

You Are Not Prepared.

Two Worlds II will set you on an epic journey the likes of which you have likely seen before.  It is a tale wrought with cliche and I will summarize it thusly:  You will begin as a lowly prisoner who must rise up and challenge the evil emperor of the land.  Such is your destiny… such is your fate.  Sound familiar?  Good.  It’s your basic RPG fare and quite frankly the story only exists to move you along from quest to quest and town to town as you decide the fate of every man, woman, child and Varn in Antaloor.  The story itself is a continuation of Two Worlds – but no experience with the original game is needed, trust me.  There is no real gravitas, no epic drama, and this certainly ain’t Shakespeare.

Added to this is the fact that the game’s voice acting – while a significant improvement over the first game – is still downright atrocious.  Not to mention that your main character storms around the countryside with the bravado of Commander Shepard and the voice of Solid Snake.  Not that I mind, but I’m sure not everyone wants their character to be that guy who everyone looks at and goes, “Who’s that asshole?”  Well, that asshole is the hero of Two Worlds II!!  Please show some respect – he just saved your mother.  Anyhow, the game also isn’t afraid to poke fun at it’s predecessor (known for it’s horrific voice work) as well as poke fun at gaming culture at large:

I've Been Waiting For This Dialogue Option My Entire Life . . .

This is a typical tale of fate, destiny and glory and it’s one you’re unfortunately soon to forget.  Yet it lies buried within a game that you will be hard pressed to stop playing.  That’s not to say the story is uninteresting – in fact at points it is quite interesting and many quests and dialogue choices are downright delightful (see above)  However, if you came to Two Worlds II looking for an epic tale filled with breathtaking narrative, you’ve come to the wrong place.

That being said – the presentation of the story has certainly been taken up a notch or two.  Take a look at how the developers blend in-game footage and HD cutscenes seamlessly in this next video featuring everyone’s favorite misanthropic second in command, Sordahon.  (Spoiler Alert)

Where Two Worlds II excels is where any good RPG truly should – in it’s addictive attention paid to swords, shields, dragons, demons,  guts and glory.  Unlike many other RPGs,  in Two Worlds II you can be a jack of all trades.  In fact, the game promotes such endeavors.  The skill trees for Mages, Warriors and Rangers are quite deep and by the end of the game you can be quite skilled as all three.  Not only that, but you can swap between armor and weapon sets at any time with the push of a single button.  Want to start out sniping your enemies from afar only to get up close and personal with your mace in their face shortly thereafter?  That’s not a problem in Two Worlds II and the combat itself is fun and rewarding. (Even at times when the hit detection can seem sub-par)  There’s an endless variety of baddies to kill and you will soon learn which of your skills and classes is right for each of them.

It is worth noting however that special attention was clearly paid to mages and the game’s magic system which currently holds the Guinness world record for most possible spells in a video game.  That’s not to say being a warrior or ranger isn’t fun – but you’d be doing yourself a disservice not to explore and utilize Two Worlds II incredibly deep and oft times hilariously good magic system.  What do I mean by hilariously good?  Well, what do you get when you combine a Conjure Random Junk spell with an Air Shield when you’re surrounded by enemies?  The answer is by far one of my favorite possible spells in Two Worlds II that I henceforth shall refer to as the, “Corpse Tornado!!”

SouthPeak actually refers to this spell combination as the “Shitstorm”