Two Worlds II
So, you're here. You really want to read this? I know, I even said over at AFK Mods that it didn't deserve the attention, but it must be done now because it's just that bad and we all need at least one awful game to review, right?
That one redeeming quality I mentioned in the pre-jump summary are the graphics? Even with the shitty depth of field messing things up, no anti-aliasing, and no anisotropic filtering, the visuals were still quite good. Better than a lot of games, but badly lacking compared to others of its time. Which hardly mattered once you factored in all the shader bugs, visual glitches, flickering screens, fucked up sound effects, and broken dialogue. How did this all get past QA?
Gameplay? What's that? This game was literally nothing but a button mashing ridiculous mess from start to finish. Through every step of the game, stuff that should be easy to kill will drain you of health quickly. You can level up all you want and it won't matter, because you'll hit a wall of XP gain before being forced on to the next area where the cycle restarts itself all over again. It's nothing but one long kill-kill-kill fest, with a few fetch quests thrown in for variety. It got BORING quickly and left very little incentive to want to go on.
Dialogue with several NPCs would cut off prematurely. Especially with "the prophet". That left a lot of disjointed plot elements behind as a result. Most of the time where you'd expect to be given a choice in how to respond to a question, your guy just blurts out a dumbass answer that nearly all logical people playing the game would have laughed at and NOT chosen. Only for very rare cases did you even get to feel like you were talking to someone. If you think you can get away with fixing this by turning on the subtitles, don't. They're so badly translated from whatever language this started in that they don't even come close to matching the audio.
The stuff that made the original Two Worlds a good game has all been gutted. No longer do you have the cool stacking system where you could pile up copies of the same item into much more powerful versions of themselves. No longer is the alchemy system a hit and miss affair with the discovery of new potions by experimentation. You don't even get the attribute system the original game had, instead you get the typical console simplified system of health, mana, and strength. With strength literally being nothing but melee damage bonus and increased carrying capacity. The guilds have even been reduced to totally faceless organizations you never get to meet. You get ALL of their mind numbingly boring quests from job boards just like in Dragon Age, and collect all your rewards as if by magic from a chest sitting next to the job board.
The main quest didn't fair much better. Filled with gaping plot holes, and burdened with being entirely predictable, the main plot just dragged. As with the first game, Gandohar is the bad guy, your sister is his prisoner, and you were captured at the end of the first game and held prisoner for 5 years in his dungeon. Blah blah blah, busted out by orcs (of all people), and off you go!
The prologue/tutorial of the game is spent on a small island where the orcs are hiding out. You get to kill off Groms for them, which are basically this world's goblins. All you're doing is learning the combat interface for most of this. Head bashing in melee, some archery, and a bit of magic. Might as well just not bother with archery or magic though because neither one is worth shit in this game. You also get your first tease by the orc girl you escaped the dungeon with. The prophet gives you your overall mission, which you already knew from the start. You're suppose to rise up and kill Gandohar. Simple enough.
The entire first chapter of the game is spent on an island savannah with one small settlement and one fair sized city. Don't expect anything interesting to happen though because all the NPCs are basically wandering plastic nothings with no ability to interact. You get to run around killing cougars, ostriches, rhinoceros, giant ants, and the occasional bandit. Oh, and spend about half your time here screwing around with the awful implementation of horses. They even took out their mounted combat that existed in the first game. Worse still, you have to kick your horse repeatedly to keep him running at full speed. You go through a bunch of crap looking for "The Captain". Still trying to figure out who the hell told me about him. Eventually though, he's found, and all he does is point you to some dude at the ruined mages guild. That guy wants you to help him build an army of crystal golems out of an element called vereta. Basically yellow crystals that supposedly have a mind of their own. Or something. That was never really explained. After doing his menial task you get to see this army - its huge. You're supposed to have this at the ready to assault Gandohar's castle later on.
There was a romance thing in here somewhere too but it was absolutely the lamest thing I've ever seen in my life. There was also a brief point at which I thought things were improving when I agreed to invest into a new shop that began to grow into a marketplace, and later into a factory, when suddenly the dialogue forces me to claim I'm no longer interested, hands total control over to the guy, and you never hear another thing about it again for the rest of the game. WHAT THE FUCK?
The second chapter is spent running around New Ashos. An oriental themed city who's cool factor ends right there. It's filled with useless NPCs and an even more useless market district that sells nothing but crap items. The main plot is spread so thin here you almost can't even tell when you're following it anymore. It's a sea of ridiculous side quests. So many that it makes for the bulk of the time you'll spend on the game. They just keep coming and coming. Eventually they start sending to you to the other half of this island, called The Swallows. A huge ugly wretch of a zone that's the way it is because of some evil experiment Gandohar once conducted. Filled with enemies that are suddenly FAR more powerful than what you encountered in the city just a few steps away. You get to stumble around in here for a bit before reporting back to the prophet on... I don't even know what anymore.
Somewhere in here it became deadly obvious that "the prophet" isn't what she's claiming to be. That you're being led around on a bunch of jobs to gather intel for whatever she's secretly planning to hose you with. It might even have been more obvious had the dialogue with her even worked right. The orcs are naturally too dumb to even notice this. I was almost yelling at the game to shut up and let me kill her then and there, but no, you couldn't even try that.
The third chapter, where I shot the one and only screen I felt worthy (and used for this post too) takes place entirely within a swamp that's cut off from the rest of the world by a magical barrier. You're the suspicious outsider who gets to play around winning the trust of the people in the village there. The rest of the time you're aimlessly walking down roads through the swamp killing of legions upon legions of undead. Undead who are literally wiping the floor with you most of the time causing you to have to retreat time and time again. Though the area is ridiculously small and takes less than a minute to run from end to end, it takes HOURS to get anywhere due to all the stupid fighting. All to find out the witch isn't really a witch, and the priest you had pegged as the bad guy here was really the bad guy - a demon in human form. With the demon dead, you can teleport out and never think of the place again.
Which brings us to the finale. You get to say your good byes to folks at the orc stronghold, and to the orc girl you've been getting teased by for the whole game. The prophet sends you off to go beat the tar out of Gandohar. More drudgery through an entire area leading to the castle that looks just like The Swallows, but is filled with giant scorpions instead of the usual Swallows creatures. Uh, ok, whatever.
It's at this point I feel I should mention that a glitch of epic proportions affected my character. About halfway through chapter 3 in one of the dozens of undead fights, I noted I was no longer taking damage. Odd, but then I opened my stat screen to level up and noticed I had 10 million HP. Ordinarily I'd be rather disappointed and upset at such a thing, but I welcomed it because by that point in things I was very close to rage quitting (it takes a lot for me to rage quit a free game). So even though the battles still had to be fought and were tedious as hell, it no longer mattered becase I couldn't be killed. Hello, QA, you've got a bug, just thought you should know.
Anyway, back to spoiling the ending! After kicking the crap out of dozens of scorpions and then suddenly finding Myrmidons (demons I guess) in the second half of the area, I arrived in Gandohar's throne room to find the one plot twist I did not see coming. You see, the whole game had been going on and on about Gandohar being evil, uncaring, reckless, and power hungry. He was torturing you and your sister both, and all for the chance to free the fire god from your sister's body that was acting as a vessel for it. Right up until you walk into his throne room and the orc girl (the teaser) and your sister are telling you not to attack him. Because, well, he's dying anyway see. While you were killing everything in sight to get this chance at revenge, he decided to use his own life force to keep your sister alive. So you've now spent two whole games on the idea of Gandohar being the bad guy of bad guys only to find out he's really the good guy and has been all along. Oh, and remember that ridiculously large army of crystal golems you spent an entire chapter helping to build without knowing it? Yep, you never see them again after that point. Plot holes.
The surprise twist lost its novelty right then and there though when in barges the ever so predictable outcome. The prophet is the real bad guy. Only she's not actually human. Duh, as if you couldn't see that coming. She's a dragon. Bent on bringing the fire god back. Apparently playing you the whole time to come kill Gandohar because she knew he'd be weak after you escaped the dungeon. Oh, the cliche of it all, it's just fucking BAD. So off we go to the final battle, because, well, the ritual. You have to perform the ritual. Wait, what ritual? Oh, THAT ritual.
So this ritual means you need to stick parts of the creations of the gods into some sarcophagus and it will imprison the fire god for all time. Hasn't anyone noticed this didn't work the last time you tried it? Of course you didn't. So, let's do this. Wait, why am I putting a DEMON HEART into this thing? Orc girl slices open her hand... orc blood. Makes sense at least. Still want to know why the first wasn't me slicing MY hand for human blood, but ok. So the 3rd piece. Yeah. You probably saw this coming. Dragon blood. You, over there, the one screaming "what about dwarf and elf blood". Yeah, you weren't supposed to notice there's 6 races on Antaloor and only 3 ports on the trap thingy. Told you there were plot holes the size of dragons.
So how do we get the dragon to go along with this? By fighting an insanely stupid long final battle with her, of course! One that meant having to fuck around with a piece of shit ballista setup all the while having to run between one of 4 of these because the dragon is flying around obviously. Oh, and of course you get to fight the magma golems she flings down at arbitrary moments during the fight. All while your sister is chained to the top of the trap. Have I mentioned plot holes? The dragon could have ended all of this with ONE FIREBALL.
She's dead now btw, after 45 minutes worth of running around trying to aim ballistas with bad aiming systems at her. So the ritual is complete. The orc girl picks up some random crown that showed up from who knows where and blurts out something about not letting the emperor die because Antaloor will be in chaos. She didn't get the memo apparently. The world is nothing BUT chaos. This is where the final cutscene was supposed to go too btw. Except it didn't bother to play. You get a fade to black after she walks over to you with the crown, and that's it. Bug city. It just completely fails to run. How the fuck does this even get past QA? Did they even HAVE QA?
I had to go hunt down the video on Youtube just so I could see the ending. Maybe it was for the best that I didn't see it during the game. It was all of about 2 minutes long. Your SISTER is now wearing Gandohar's armor. She puts on a mask to conceal her face. She walks through the throne room past a shitload of people (where did you guys come from anyway) who have no clue what's going on, and then she stops and turns. That's it. 90 seconds wasted on crap. The remaining 30 or so is you and the orc tease walking through some forest where she makes a stupid quip about how your guy can have any woman he wants now, and then bam, she's just... gone. That's it. Roll credits. What. The. Fuck.
Only Ultima 9 has this beat for the worst game of all time, and Two Worlds II sure gave it the college try.
Final battle video: http://youtu.be/JQLOmbMAgzE
Ending cutscene: http://youtu.be/kbsmS0K8Mqs
"It is pointless to resist, my son." -- Darth Vader
"Resistance is futile." -- The Borg
"Mother's coming for me in the dragon ships. I don't like these itchy clothes, but I have to wear them or it frightens the fish." -- Thurindil
Well. I guess that's that then.
I was already bored of the game by the third paragraph or so.
Besides, July needed a post.