Now, don’t get us wrong. Two Worlds isn’t bad. It’s an unapologetically hack-and-slash RPG, borrowing much from Oblivion, Gothic and the other big names, and in most respects, it hits the right beats. It’s pretty, with lots to see, lots to do, and plenty of choice in how you do it. And yet... there’s something missing.
The environment suffers the most. Like Oblivion’s, it’s big, open, and you can wander more or less freely. It looks very pretty. But it’s so damn empty. You can get a horse, but they handle like a broken-down truck, so most of the time you’re left trudging through the wilderness. There’s little epic music to accompany you on this, and not many sights to see out there. If you die - and you often will, thanks to some brutal balancing and packs of monsters - you just respawn. Usually nearby, with only the mildest penalty as a scar. No real tension. Little reward.
Actual combat fares much better. The basics are simple enough click-to-strike stuff, but the RPG elements soon come into play and add depth. The weapons are varied, and easily upgraded, the advanced skills you can buy ranging from the ability to shoot multiple arrows at once, to stabbing enemies in the face with a torch. The price for acquiring that one seems a bit steep to us: 1) take torch, 2) stab in face - but that’s why we’re not a legendary hero.
Unlike most epic RPGs, there’s also a multiplayer mode. It’s an interesting idea: a click of the Network button turns the game from a single-player RPG into something more approaching Guild Wars. Your character is persistent, unlocking new towns by completing missions, and enabling you to team up with or fight other groups of players. You can also just hit someone in the back of the head when they’re not looking, bringing back the old “oops my finger slipped” fun of scrolling beat-’em-ups.
Without a steady flow of new content, it’s going to get old fast - there’s only so many times you can beat up the same pack of wolves/best friend - but it’s a fun aside. Indeed, it’s almost a shame that this wasn’t the focus, instead of the largely tedious single-player campaign. While suitably big and epic, with plenty of meaningful choices (such as whether to help or sabotage an Orc plan to take over a major city), there’s precious little wit and verve in your quest to... zzz... retrieve five sacred blah blah blah evil god blah. The main quest suffers from the fact that with no serious issues with death, most situations can be effortlessly resolved by killing everyone in sight with your sword. Just as well, as more than a couple of attempted puzzle solutions simply fizzled out.