The video game industry is one of the least forgiving mistresses imaginable. One bad game can be enough to sink an entire company. Hell, one mediocre game can lead to ruin. Two Worlds, an action/adventure RPG that launched back in '07, was one such title. It wasn't a bad game, but the 360 version was quite abysmal and sales were far from extraordinary. Now Reality Pump is working on a sequel, Two Worlds II, that promises to fix many of the holes left by its predecessor.
I stopped by Reality Pump's media room at PAX East yesterday for a talk with several of the game's developers. They ran us through a working alpha of the title and gave us an idea of what we can expect out of their next offering.
The most obvious improvement is in the graphics. The “cinematic” were all rendered with the in-game engine. Players will actually retain control of their characters during all cut-scenes. They demonstrated by walking in circles around the NPC, who moved to maintain eye contact with us. The result was a cut-scene that seemed much more dynamic and brooding than it would otherwise have been.
Two Worlds II's magic system deserves a mention. You actually construct your own spells, putting together different effects in order to create different magical attacks. Characters can swap their armor and weapons for mage-kit in fight, which greatly expands the number of combat options available. Sadly, melee did not appear to be nearly as innovative as the magic system.
Crafting has been improved on greatly since the original. Where once you would just mash two items together to create a better one, you now reduce your items to their components and use them to craft a much wider variety of gear.
The graphics aren't wildly exceptional, but the cities they showed off looked absolutely fantastic. The environment seems expansive and vibrant and the game world nearly cries out to be played in. TW: II still has a ways to go before its ready, and I'm not convinced Reality Pump has fixed all of the kinks that made the first iteration a pseudo-bust, but they do seem to be on the right track.
Two Worlds II is due out for release in April of 2010.
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