Two Worlds II Review

03 Aug 2012

Eschalon: Book II

Publisher:TopWare Interactive
Developer:Reality Pump Studios
Release Date:2011-02-04
Genre:
  • Role-Playing,Action
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • Third-Person,First-Person
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay
Character System & Crafting

Fortunately, Two Worlds II has some surprisingly robust and enjoyable mechanics that flesh out its RPG feature set. For starters, it features a fully open, classless character system. This means that it's possible to make pretty much any character you like, at least within the confines of what the game offers, and it encourages mixing and matching rather than sticking to one specific role.  The game also has just the right number of attributes - Strength, Willpower, Endurance and Accuracy - and pretty much every single skill you can pick up is useful, from various crafting skills, to pickpocketing and assassination, to elemental arrows. Leveling up is pretty quick early on, but late in the game you'll be getting most of your experience points from quests instead of combat.  There's some satisfying character progression on tap, although like a lot of other titles, Two Worlds II does have a strong inverse difficulty curve.

Crafting is probably the thing most people will remember from Two Worlds II. Personally, I've never been a big fan of crafting, mostly because the systems are never that well balanced, or are overly complicated. Two Worlds II is different. There's no "standard gear" or "crafted gear" - rather, crafting serves as a way of enhancing your existing equipment or recycling stuff you don't need. Literally any piece of gear can be upgraded with slots to place magic gems in, or deal more damage, or provide more protection. Furthermore, since every piece of loot can be broken down into fundamental components, every single item you pick up can be reused and turned into something you might want.

This also applies to alchemy. Like a lot of RPGs, Two Worlds II has a robust alchemy system that allows you to brew your own potions. Ingredients can range from flowers, to food, to the entrails of monsters, and pretty much every single one you find is worth picking up. Potions have very, very powerful effects, even with no investment in the Alchemy skill, and many will make the difference between a death and a victory, though some are just a bit too powerful for their own good - gaining a 60% bonus to your attributes, even for a minute or two, can make some of the game's bosses comically easy.

Last, and most interesting (especially for Elder Scrolls fans), Two Worlds II has a pretty interesting and original magic system which revolves entirely around creating your own spells. By using magical cards with different properties, it's possible to summon various creatures, apply buffs, throw around elemental bolts, and just about anything else you'd expect from an RPG, but with the added flexibility of being able to choose how you use those base components to your advantage. While not as flexible as Morrowind's spell creation, it allows for a lot of experimentation, and lets you decide how to spec your spell list, unlike some RPGs, which saddle you with dozens of fixed spells that grow obsolete over time or are simply useless.