05 Oct, 2007

Two Worlds Review

360 Review | It's Oblivion! But not.
Over eighteen months ago now, an Xbox 360 game that went by the name of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was released, and was devoured by the masses craving quality 360 software. To this day, Oblivion remains to be one of the best games on the console, with a super-duper special game of the year edition having just hit shelves. So how does this relate to Two Worlds? Basically, Two Worlds, an epic scale action-RPG, is a carbon copy of Oblivion. But somehow it didn’t end up being anywhere near as good, largely because of issues in porting the game from the PC to the 360.

The story is nothing new. You’re a mercenary, and your twin sister has been kidnapped in the vast land of Thalmont. A nice chap by the name of Reist (and his suspicious ally Gandohar) believes that you and your sister are descended from a powerful family, and are the only ones who can assemble the Relic and perform a ritual to release the god Aziraal from his imprisonment. Naturally, your character believes this is utter crap, but has to play along in order to save his sister, and fun times ensue. It’s a reasonable story that provides incentive to keep playing, but it won’t be winning any awards.

He doesn't like the score. Bad luck, mate.

He doesn't like the score. Bad luck, mate.
All the usual RPG elements are here. You run about the land, talking to strangers, some nasty and some nice, and do quests for them in exchange for gold, or better yet, experience points. Every time you level up you will get five points to assign to your four main attributes, strength, vitality, dexterity and willpower. In addition, you will also usually two skill points to assign to your other various skills, such as stealth, magic types (fire, air, water and so on), two handed combat ability, as well as many other skills, including fighting on horseback. Not that you will ever, EVER want to fight on horseback, because it is an absolute nightmare. The attack button is less responsive, and attacks rarely seem to hit enemies, since they literally have to be right next to your horse. But it’s not just the attacks that suck on horseback – just trying to ride the horse is hard enough. Again, the horse doesn’t seem to be terribly receptive to your commands, and will often run straight when you’re trying to turn, or get stuck on a wall. After five minutes trying to maneuver the horse, most will give up and just hustle around Thalmont on foot.

Upon starting a game, you’re given some basic player customization options – hair colour, eye colour, arm length, and so on. No female or alternate race options here. From here you’re thrust into combat, where it becomes apparent how basic the fighting mechanics are. Bash the right trigger to attack and press B to dodge. Depending on your weapon, your player can string a three to five hit combo together. Various magic spells and other skills can be assigned to the d-pad, where they can be quick-selected and used with a quick pull on the left trigger. In addition to being basic, the combat suffers from some rather sluggish controls – spells often don’t take unless you are stationary, for instance.

On the plus side, the game world of Thalmont is absolutely huge – developer Reality Pump claim that it is an impressive 25% bigger than that seen in Oblivion. Navigating the world isn’t an issue either, given the generous use of teleport chambers. Thalmont is home to numerous towns, villages and caves, each of which containing their own people and quests. The quest choice is reasonable, and there is a surprising amount of variety in amongst the kill-this-person and get-this-object quest, too. Unfortunately, despite the huge world size, the game feels really short, with it being possible to knock over the main quest in around seven hours. A more thorough player should be able to see most of the game within fifteen to twenty hours – not short, but not as long as we’d expect from a game of this type. There is also a multiplayer mode when you can face off against other players – but it’s not really good, and there are very few people playing it anyway.

Riding a horse in Two Worlds is even more uncomfortable than riding a real horse bareback.

Riding a horse in Two Worlds is even more uncomfortable than riding a real horse bareback.
The various menu interfaces are obviously intended for use with a mouse, and as a result have a tendency to feel a bit clunky and more labour intensive than it should be. The worst offender is the quest/map screen, which involves using the right analog to navigate quests, the left to move to locations on the map, and the d-pad to scroll the map. So. Very. Clunky. The item screen isn’t much better, involving coordinating both analogs to scroll through your inventory. It seems pretty obvious that it was designed for use on a PC, and it hasn’t enjoyed being ported to Microsoft’s white box.

But where the port goes from mediocre to flat out bad is in the visuals. Two Worlds suffers more frame rate problems than any other game we’ve seen on the 360. The game seems to generally run around the 20-25 frames-per-second mark, yet still somehow suffers massive dips whenever there are too many people on screen, or you enter a new area. Gor Gammer, a large area in the game, constantly chugs for the entire time you are in it. Almost every time you kill an enemy, the game will pause for a fraction of a second, while it loads a death animation. Unforgivable. Oh, and then there is the criminal pop up – enemies can appear mere metres in the distance, as can buildings, trees and other objects. What makes it even worse is that the visuals, while being far from bad, are not impressive enough to warrant such frame rate hassles. After playing Two Worlds for a few hours, try going back to any other 360 game – the difference will pretty damn obvious. Then there’s the animation, which is somewhat broken. For example, if you try and mount a horse from the right, you will suddenly teleport to the left and jump on. If a bear tries to attack you and you run around to face it from behind, the bear will suddenly be facing you, as if it has access to some sort of teleportation technology. These are very serious flaws, and make Two Worlds feel like a budget game at times. There are also countless little visual flaws across Thalmont, such as it raining inside caves.

Probably running at seven frames per second.

Probably running at seven frames per second.
Then there’s the voice acting. It’s absolutely terrible. Most of the characters in Thalmont speak in clichéd, half-assed over the top RPG speak (for a lack of a better term). Expect a lot of ‘well met’ when walking amongst the public (who will often immediately trash you if you engage conversation with them properly), excessive use of the word ‘nay’, and a nearly every character in the game to say ‘verily’ at least six times. However, it’s rubbish and absurd enough to come off as genuinely amusing, which saves the day.

There are only really two problems with Two Worlds on the Xbox 360. The biggest problem is that it has suffered an absolutely shocking port, where serious animation and frame rate issues almost render the game unplayable at times. The other problem? Oblivion is simply a much, much, MUCH better game. But, if you have already run Oblivion into the ground, and can get past the technical problems, you might just find that Two Worlds is actually an enjoyable game, with a lot to see and do.
The Score
Two Worlds is a good game that suffers from a shoddy port. You would best be playing it on PC. Or, better yet, playing Oblivion. 6
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Two Worlds Content

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6 years ago
Nice review Brendan!

Those graphics do look terrible, glad I didn't win a copy! icon_lol_old.gif
6 years ago
Couldn't agree more with the review. This game would have been quite enjoyable if it wasn't for the shit porting. I bought this recently, and was all excited that I had found a new RPG to suck me in like Oblivion or KOTOR had done and ended up by playing for about half an hour before throwing my controller down in frustration. I ended up by taking it back to EB and swapping it for GRAW 2. The horses shit me up the wall and it was like playing Gears when the host is American and has a shitty connection. I would like to try this on PC though, because it had a good premise.
6 years ago
I've heard that aside from a few technical errors and almost unplayable online with more than 2 people, it is a very enjoyable game. I am really wanting to get a copy of it. I love RPG's and it still looks like alot of fun despite a few shitty reviews.
6 years ago
I would have loved to have seen a screen of it raining in a cave for the review.

Nice review, by the way Brendan.
6 years ago
My brother picked this up for PC, worst purchase ever. First the game would get half way throught he first loading bar and stop. Finnaly after 3 hours of troubleshooting and fiddling he got into the game only to be greated buy stupid amounts of crash bugs and no sound at all.
6 years ago
This is the only website where I have read even the slightest bit of positive impressions. Everyone else has said it horrible.


6 years ago
^ ... no, the sad thing is he actually did have positive impressions icon_neutral.gif
MSN wrote
Brendan: two worlds is cool
Spence: no
Brendan: it is
MSN wrote
Brendan: i cant believe how much i like two worlds
Brendan: even if it is pretty broken
He needs to get out more.
6 years ago
I've played games from the first vic 20 up to my 360 now and without doubt this is the crappest game I have had the misfortune of playing. It is so poorly made that if it was electrical equipment or a toy of some kind it would have been recalled, I mean for god's sake you can edit your appearance and yet in cutscenes you are still depicted as the default hero, pitiful. It's not even a poor mans morrowind. The blood effects are poor 2d bitmaps, it chugs when your in a dungeon that has some bricks and a couple of barrels in it. All copies should be gathered up and taken out and burnt on a pyre and maybe after a few years everyone will forget the pungent glow that it gave off (apologies to George Romero). I'm sorry but everyone involved in this game should hang their heads in shame for daring to ask people for money for it 1/10. icon_eek.gif
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  6/09/2007 (Confirmed)
Standard Retail Price:
  $119.95 AU
  Red Ant
Year Made:

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