Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, XBox 360
I can usually tell before the end of the first chapter if I’m going to enjoy a book. I give a movie no more than 10 minutes or so to hook me. But video games can be a lot harder to judge. Firstly, you have introductory cut scenes, and then there’s tutorials, and depending on the scope of the game, you may have invested a couple of hours before you know whether or not you’re really going to enjoy it.
Even if you decide just to focus on the main story, avoiding all the distractions that open world gaming provides, you can expect to spend about 20 hours on Two Worlds Epic Edition if you want to see it through to the end. If you’re an explorer, you can add anywhere from 10 to 40 hours to that total. Though it’s an older title, and the graphics aren’t nearly as impressive as they once were, that’s a lot of game for a $10 asking price.
I’ve been trying to avoid going into any new (to me) massive games like this, because there’s just no way I can give you anything even approaching a comprehensive review. Sometimes, a game starts slow, and just keeps getting better. Sometimes, the first couple of hours are fantastic, and then a game loses itself. It’s always a bit of a gamble.
I really enjoyed the time I spent with Two Worlds, although I felt that the intro movie was a little bit too long. The character creation is minimal because you play as a specific person in the story-line, not just an anonymous hero. The game forgoes typical class based characterization for a level what you like approach. There are opportunities in game to respec some of your skill points, so a poor choice doesn’t necessarily mean game over. There is some light crafting (alchemy), and there are multiple factions you can achieve reputation with. You will be given moral choices while playing your character, and the decisions you make will effect the outcome of the game.
Open world games are hard to do well – there’s a balancing act of the main story content and the other optional content that’s difficult to get right. Make the story too compelling, and players will skip out on all the other stuff; make it not compelling enough, and they may wander away from the game before finishing it out. I really can’t speak to how well Two Worlds handles this conundrum.
The graphics are dated; perhaps even slightly sub-par for the age of the game. The control scheme isn’t terribly complex, although there’s the questionable choice of using the space bar as the interact key & if keys are remappable, I haven’t figured out how. I had issues with the game crashing to the desktop several times while trying to change graphical resolution. I’m sure that’s not the last bug that I’ll encounter.
But the thing that really impressed me was this – nine years after release, the game is still being supported and updated. Non-Steam DRM has just been removed from Steam versions of the game, and there’s a beta code available that can be used to help Two Worlds play nicer with modern operating systems. I think this is so much more critical to being able to continue to enjoy older games than graphical touch ups, and I have a lot of respect for a company that continues to pour resources into a game after so much time has passed.
Two Worlds Epic Edition is far from perfect. It was far from perfect back in 2007. However, it does offer a lot of content for a relatively low price point (even lower through May 30th, while it’s on sale for just over a dollar!). Although it’s been compared to the Elder Scrolls games, it lacks the full customization options and doesn’t have nearly as much content or mod support as Oblivion, which was released around the same time. But it feels solid, and if you enjoy open world RPGs, it’s probably worth a go.