The monsters that you'll slay aren't quite varied enough for an RPG of this length and scope. While scraps fly past so quickly that boredom will rarely be an issue, it seems like you're killing the same packs of wolves, bears, and boars in the wilderness over and over again. And that does get dull, because after the first hour or so of play, you've got enough experience and weaponry to slaughter these beasts in mere moments. Other creatures include fantasy RPG stereotypes like the goblinesque groms, as well as orcs, dwarves, skeletons, ghouls, and dragons, along with more esoteric selections such as Flintstones-refugee reapers, man-sized jackals, and giant bugs known as trachidis. There seems to be a good number of monsters spread through the entire game; it's just that the repetition of specific types in certain areas makes you feel like you're on a treadmill at times. Reality Pump just hasn't filled Antaloor with a menagerie quite befitting its tremendous size.
Quests provide more variety. There are dozens upon dozens of assignments available, spread all over the world. They range from standard delivery jobs to solving murders, from stealing underwear to collecting herbs, and, of course, slaughtering tribes of groms and orcs. Most of the quests are also set within a realistic backdrop of factions and interests. Groups in the game, including the knightly Brotherhood as well as the guilds representing such disparate folk as merchants and necromancers, hire you for jobs at various points. A consequence is that your reputation increases amongst different crowds of NPCs. The world itself is tied together with realistic geographical features and common teleportation platforms that let you take shortcuts after an initial reconnaissance of the map. So you can take in some postcard vistas when you want to sightsee, and when you want to just zip around, you can minimize aimless wandering with this magical transit system (or by hopping on a horse, although the nags in the game are so tough to control that it's easiest to just stay on foot).
Flora and fauna dominate the gorgeous countryside and provide lots of magical goodies to brew up in your alchemist's pot.
Multiplayer gives Two Worlds a little something extra not offered by most other RPGs. On the PC, Reality Pump has given the game a basic arena-combat venue where you can go online and duke it out with human opponents, but the real meat is in the quasi-MMO mode of play in which you can wander Antaloor and take on quests with online pals. About the only major differences between this option and the solo campaign is the lack of the story here and the ability to pick specific character classes from lists of warriors, rogues, and mages instead of custom-crafting a hero with stat and skill choices. This isn't quite the cooperative play-through of a full campaign that RPGers have been dying for, but it's certainly an innovative idea. The only problem is difficulty. Even the introductory quests are extremely hard, which pretty much forces you to group up with other players to have a chance at survival. Co-op play is also an iffy proposition because there seem to be only a couple dozen players online at any given moment right now. If the game gets more popular, this mode of play could really take off.
At any rate, this multiplayer mode is miles above the dreary (and laggy) limited online option available with the Xbox 360 version of the game. Instead of the cooperative campaign play that RPGers have been dreaming of, all the developer has included here are dull host-or-join game modes like deathmatch (deeply bland because of the simplistic combat system), monster hunt (better due to the addition of an objective, but still too repetitive to enjoy for long), and an RPG option where you develop a character courtesy of hacking and slashing through quests on one-off maps with up to seven buddies. The latter pales in comparison to the multiplayer offering featured in the PC edition of the game, as it features full server support that makes maps feel more like persistent worlds, along with player numbers that roughly resemble what's available in MMOs. Anyhow, the only distinction with the MP games here is a wide variety of set character classes, including specialty warriors such as the blade dancer, as well as mages focusing on the elements and necromancy. Even if you want to try these half-baked games, they're often unplayable due to frequent dropped connections and serious lag that regularly turns combat into a slide show. Very few people seem to be taking advantage of the online play at this point, which isn't exactly a surprise when you consider its quality. Ultimately, if you want online RPG action, look toward the PC version.
Horseback riding is a great way to quickly see the countryside, although the awkward controls make it tough to settle into the saddle.
Visual and audio quality aren't quite fully realized. The game's artwork looks great due to gorgeous mountain ranges, grassy hills, detailed monster and character textures, and nicely varied city and village architecture, but frame-rate hitches and loading pauses frequently interrupt the action on the 360 version. Quick pauses during combat happen in virtually every scrap with more than a couple of opponents. This doesn't affect the overall playability of battles, but remains awfully annoying nevertheless. Section loads are also frequent, if brief. A little disc icon pops onto the screen every so often while you're wandering through the woods, during which the game pauses for a few seconds. This can be a little irritating, although it's certainly preferable to long loading times. However, sometimes the game pauses without flashing the disc icon, which means that the game has either additional, unadvertised loads or a few bugs. The PC version doesn't have any of these hitching issues. Much of the experience is seamless, with area loads being barely noticeable. Best of all, everything runs smoothly on even a mid-grade, single-core machine with a 6800-class video card. You need to dial the graphics back to 1024x768 to avoid choppy combat, although this is a small price to pay to get a game this big and attractive to run so well.
Audio quality is mixed. As previously noted, the dialogue is an amusing blend of cheese and action-hero clichÂ£s. Atmospheric battle effects are generally excellent, if not pronounced enough to make you aware of their presence. The same goes for most of the soundtrack, which is noteworthy only for some ethereal odes Â£ la Enya and the fact that it was composed by '80s one-hit wonder Harold "Axel F" Faltermeyer. The only real standout tune is the ominous bass-heavy piece that eerily wells up whenever your hit points plummet to near-death levels.
If you appreciate ambitious RPGs, seek out Two Worlds. It won't make you forget about Oblivion, but Reality Pump's take on heroic fantasy adventure is good enough to consume many, many hours of your spare time. Even though there are some flaws here, especially with the 360 version of the game, this is a solid role-playing experience.