A poor man’s Oblivion. This description may seem a bit damning, but it puts the game in awfully fine company when you consider the sheer greatness of Bethesda’s role-playing game opus. Reality Pump’s RPG certainly has it where it counts in the aspiration department, even if, largely due to some design quirks, the first-time RPG developer can’t quite match the gold standard established by Oblivion last year. With that said, the epic scale of the game, along with outstanding character development, free-flowing action, and good quest variety, make it a worthwhile play for any RPG aficionado.
In an exact reversal of the problems that Oblivion players on the PC griped about in 2006, Two Worlds’ biggest issue on the Xbox 360 is its PC-centric design. This is actually a welcome surprise in some ways, as PC RPGs typically boast more depth than their console counterparts when it comes to storyline, character creation, and sheer scope of the gameworld (and that is certainly the case here). However, this focus is a big problem in other respects.
For example, everything about the interface is geared for a close-up monitor. Even on a large HDTV, it’s nearly impossible either to read the minimap on the main adventure screen or to determine at a glance what the icons are on the big map when you pull it up to full size. This can be a serious problem, as the gameworld is so huge and the number of points of interest so tremendous that it’s easy to get lost or backtrack for miles without realizing that you got turned around somehow. Text is so minuscule that it might as well be the fine print on a mortgage. Furthermore, the inventory is a clunky affair in which you have to scroll across all of your items every time you want to use a potion or swap out a weapon. You can pretty readily tell that the whole thing was designed with a mouse, keyboard, and monitor in mind, not a gamepad and TV. Regardless, you do grow to tolerate these drawbacks after an hour or two of squinting. The game beyond the interface is worth the eyestrain, and if you happen to be playing on the PC, you won’t run into any such issues.
The story is stock-standard for this sort of RPG. The backdrop deals with a war in the land of Antaloor between man and orc that resulted in the imprisonment of the orcish god Aziraal in a magical tomb. When the game opens, 300 years have passed and a dwarven mining expedition has possibly uncovered the big guy’s final resting place, which doesn’t bode well for relations between humans and orcs. You’re a mercenary just trying to get by, one who is more concerned with rescuing his missing sister than saving the world or even looking into what’s got the orcs all riled up as of late. As with most open world RPGs, you can dive straight into this main storyline and take on all of its quests, or freely wander the world while helping people and killing monsters for fun and profit. It’s important to note that there is no level-balancing or similar gimmicks present here, which means that you need to finish a fair number of side quests to gain the experience and equipment needed to send Aziraal and his orc pals packing.