Review by bullitproof
Mind Blowing, from a RPG fan...
Where to begin? First of this game is HUGE, when I say huge I don't only mean land mass...
You start the game with only the clothes on your back, then an unlikely event happens and you end up in the big wide world. A tutorial starts in which you learn how to use every weapon type also during the 'tutorial' you can explore a bit, like swim around etc. so it seems less linear than most tutorials.
After a few cut scenes and completion of the odd task you reach you first new level. There are just the right amount of attributes and skills to play with, it is possible to be a decent wizard, archer, fighter and thief all at the same time, however I specialized in Fighter, Archery and metallurgy(used to upgrade all your gear) and a bit of thievery to make lock picking a bit easier. Not all the skills are available at first, you are required to find books scattered about in the world to unlock locked ones. Plus you may need a higher skill in an other area, say retribution(Fighter) to unlock dirty tricks(fighter, which may require 2 points in retribution). Alchemy is another skill that you can or more precisely will use, to combine animal bits and plants to create potions. So metallurgy and Alchemy work a bit like sub skills in Wow. The combination of potions(you will create through trial and error, once you create a useful one, you can write it down on a scroll instead of trying to remember it, unlike some games). Also to upgrade your armour and weapons you just breakdown rubbish loot that enemies drop, and improve you weapons/armour with it, the variations are limitless for both alchemy and armour/weapons! You can add stones to sockets to like Wow which can be devastating and generally give your weapons a special effect like a flame. You can also dye your clothes, which is a nice touch.
Combat is great in my opinion, the very occasional camera defect can be annoying but every game has the odd annoying bug, and like I say it's pretty rare. It's very easy to switch between weapon sets, your allowed 3 but can customize them whenever you want. I have a weapon sets for a sword, mace and bow. It is extremely important to find out what the weakest area of your opponent is, for example blunt items like maces work great against skeletons, while swords are nigh on useless against them.
Graphics are brilliant also, lovely weather effects great variation in terrain, armour looks unique and effects like flaming or glowing weapons are special. The shadows while your in a tomb for example are amazing. The foliage is top notch and so is the water. Nothing in Oblivion for example is better than the graphics in this. The spells look brilliant and have far more variation to them than Oblivion.
Sound wise the music is brilliant, VERY atmospheric and despite almost every review knocking the voice acting this is extremely unfair as I think it's very good. There's different accents like American, English and German. The main character sounds like a young Clint Eastwood. There's loads of humorous dialog, well it could be an acquired taste the humour but I thought it was great. Unlike Oblivion, this has more than 2 actors and is far superior in all sound departments especially the voice work, that will surprise a few people!
The world is so believable and HUGE, with some really interesting and vibrant towns and villages. Some areas pay more for swords for example and some areas pay more for shields, same goes for buying items. Travelling around is similar to Oblivion, you can explore on foot or horse. Once you find teleport points then you can teleport to that point at anytime, so actually it's different slightly to Oblivion, you do need to explore to get the teleport facility. I will say the horse feels terrible at first, but once you get used to riding one it is pretty good, probably better than Oblivion once again in this department too.
There are so many sub quests, and loads concerning the main quest and then there's the fact that you can own your own village where you can run quests from(end game stuff), this brings in the multi-player aspect which is similar to Animal Crossing in that other players online can visit your village. This game is bordering on a MMORPG too! It is totally massive, and you could spend 100s of hours playing it. It's so much fun playing through the game that there's a very high chance you'll want to run through it again while specializing in a different class.
There is just so much to cover like the fact that caves don't looks all the same like Oblivion, the quests seem much more fun than Oblivion and they are certainly more varied, I could go on.
To summarize, this is by a million miles the best modern day RPG I've played, it wipes the floor with Oblivion makes Fallout look depressing and shallow, and makes Dragon Age look like a demo, because it's so short compared to this. I can't believe the mediocre reviews this game is getting, methinks these reviewers have definitely not played the game for long, I think they were competing or something to get the reviews out, it is a scandal why it has got the reviews it has. A very respected German mag give it a very high score however, higher than Oblivion. I have compared this to Oblivion because that is the closest game I can think of, it is ridiculous how Oblivion is so highly regarded with all it's flaws and this is not. One thing I will say, It is EXTREMELY difficult at the beginning when you are low level just completing so called easy quests, I recommend running past enemies in caves etc. if you just need to collect something from the cave. You have to give it at least 1-3 hours, depending on your skill level before the fun REALLY starts!
The main story is pretty standard with the odd twist, and you've got the interesting stories in the sub quests too. A Solid 8.
The odd bit of slowdown prevent this from getting a 10.
I love all aspects of the sound.
From messing about in crafting to some truly exciting encounters, this game has the best combat I've seen in the genre. It blows Oblivion out of the water.
It's almost as long as this review. Nah, it is HUGE, I'm amazed how it fits on one disk.
The best game of 2011, easily so far. Obviously it won't win it.
Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Product Release: Two Worlds II (US, 02/08/11)
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