Two Worlds Hands-On Preview

With Reality Pump's ambitious role-playing game almost set for release, we travelled to Germany for a final hands-on preview.

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Previously known for strategy games Earth 2140, 2150, and 2160, Polish developer Reality Pump is attempting its most ambitious project yet with Two Worlds. It's a role-playing game set in a huge open fantasy environment containing a staggering number of side quests, and it's set for release on the Xbox 360 and PC. While that description will sound familiar to players of Oblivion, the sense of ambition in Two Worlds is no less pronounced than in Bethesda's modern classic. In fact, at 35 square kilometres, the world that Reality Pump has crafted is even bigger than Oblivion's world. We managed to spend some time with Two Worlds ahead of its release in May to see if it's set to deliver on its lofty promises.

More than 200 actors have been used to bring the game's villagers to life.

The main quest will take about 20 hours to complete, but those who want to engage in side quests and proper exploration can easily expect that number to triple. Like in many recent RPGs, the overriding idea is a genuine sense of freedom, although the difference in Two Worlds is that you're limited to playing as a human male in the single-player game. While you can still customise your protagonist's appearance, the decision to restrict the main character is the result of the story, which is very focussed on putting you right at the centre of events. The basic plot is pretty generic, but there's definitely an emphasis on giving your character a backstory and a place in the grander scheme of things. Your immediate concern is to find your missing sister, who has been kidnapped by a group called the Dark Brotherhood. As they try to resurrect the dark god of war, Aziraal, you are inevitably led into this plot, travelling around completing quests for them.

While the story isn't particularly new or engaging, it does lead up to a more epic decision that will set the tone for the rest of the game. After finding your sister, you'll be forced to choose whether or not to resurrect this god, which will affect the appearance of the world thereafter. It's also clear that small decisions will have an effect along the way. For example, if you choose not to follow a particular quest to save local villagers from attack, that village may well end up burned to the ground.

We had the chance to play the first couple of hours of Two Worlds during our visit to Germany, and it does a good job of drawing you in while helping you get accommodated in this new home. While the environment offers little that's new, it still has a striking level of beauty on both the PC and Xbox 360. The game manages to mix the grand with the subtle: You can stand at the top of a hill and the view of the landscape stretches for miles, while snakes slither along the ground and foliage gently sways in the breeze. The animation is also well executed, with motion capture used to attain a realistic sense of movement during fighting and general exploration.

While you'll have to wander around this world on foot to begin with, the game offers two other methods of travel for intrepid explorers. The first is on horseback, which is a much better option for seeing the terrain at a quicker pace. The control system is based on real horse riding, so you move your player to make subtle adjustments to the horse's navigation while altering the speed by pushing forward and backward. It's a little like driving the warthog in Halo, where you look where you want to go and accelerate while the vehicle follows. It takes some getting used to, and we're told that the control system will continue to be tweaked, but it's a fairly intuitive method. The second mode of transport available is the use of derelict transformers that are scattered around the map. While these can't be used without being activated, they're by far the quickest way of travelling long distances across the expansive map. We used both methods within the first hour of gameplay, so you're not restricted to on-foot exploration for long.

Creating a game as large as this is no mean feat, but a team of 50 people built it from the ground up in only about a year and a half. What's even more impressive is that there are virtually no loading times, with only momentary pauses in the PC version and a couple of seconds on the Xbox 360 version. With such a large world and a cast taken from so many villages, the developers needed to hire more than 200 different actors to voice all of the roles. In addition, the main character responds vocally during conversations, and you are sometimes given a choice of different responses, rather than just stock answers. Also of interest for trivia fans is the music, which was composed by Harold Faltermeyer, the man responsible for the classic Top Gun and Beverly Hills Cop theme tunes.

While there are no character classes, you can combine skills to become more like a warrior, mage, or thief.

The character development interface is built around classic RPG skills, such as brutality, dexterity, strength, and willpower. If you want to build a great warrior, then you will need to focus on developing your strength, whereas a mage will build up on willpower. There's no class system, but you can specialise as a warrior, mage, or thief by focussing on the relevant skills. Minor skills include horse riding, swimming, and lock-picking. Again, you can distribute points among them as you progress. The magic system is based on the elemental forces of earth, wind, fire, and water. You can build up projectile attacks and the ability to heal yourself using your supply of mana.

The inventory system itself is initially limited by a 35 kilogram weight limit, but if you choose to level up your strength, you will be able to carry more items. You can drop and sell items if you want, as well as combine weapons and armour to make them stronger or more effective. On the combat side, you can add trick skills to your traditional attacking and defensive capabilities. You can use a torch as a weapon, swing your sword above your head to take out multiple enemies, or simply kick dirt in their eyes to temporarily blind them. On the other hand, enemies can also employ the exact same skills as you, plus they will be able to defend against them.

The fighting system is fairly simple: You tap the mouse once for a single strike or twice for a combo strike. The fighting style changes if you're carrying a shield because it slows your movement even though it may give you protection. You can have up to three active weapons, and you can choose to map these to the face buttons on the Xbox 360 pad for quick access. A nice touch is being able to use your sword while riding the horse. During our play test, we managed to graduate to using a bow and arrow to take out enemies from afar.

The build that we saw was more or less in a finished state, with only tweaking taking place during the final month before release. While it's looking impressive, we're hoping the Polish developer is working overtime to iron out the numerous bugs that we encountered. The horse is intelligent enough to not gallop off a cliff, but the animation still needs to be polished to make it more intuitive and enjoyable. Likewise, swimming and blood effects are still placeholders, but Reality Pump promises they're issues that are being tweaked right now. Although we weren't treated to a look at the multiplayer game, we were promised a choice of customisable races, plus the ability to group together with up to eight players to take part in joint quests. The developer also says that new quests can be added very quickly, hinting at the possibility of downloadable content being added for both the PC and Xbox 360 versions.

Two Worlds clearly aims to capitalise on the success of such recent free-roaming RPGs as Oblivion, and while it will have a hard time competing with that particular masterpiece, it has clearly set its sights high. The world itself is a place that we could gladly spend hours at a time, and the combat system is satisfying, whether you're slaying orcs or bullying rabbits. Two Worlds is set to launch simultaneously on the PC and Xbox 360 in May 2007, so check back soon for GameSpot's full review of the finished game.

Discussion

226 comments
Lordx67
Lordx67

This game may be a bit larger than Oblivion but I've played it and it isn't that great so I'm sticking with Oblivion...

capitancahonas
capitancahonas

*Torresmatt* Ta for the heads up, sounds like a buggy oblivion (and that had few bugs..) I tink I'll hang on for a bargain bin "re-launch", if I bother at all...I'm pinning my hopes on mass effect this year and it's all looking good on that front..

torresmatt
torresmatt

I've played both the demo and the latest version of the game. Despite the fact that it's only just come out in the US, it's already had 4 patches released, one of them 1 GB in size. The version I played was the latest. The game isn't the worst thing I've ever played, but it feels more just like a....a mod or someone's side project. The voice acting and dialog are pretty bad, but I was willing to let that slide since it had obviously been translated from another language and...well, who knows what kind of actors they could hire on their budget. Graphically, the game is actually really good. With the view distance set high and the HDR and depth of field on, it looks really nice and has a very "grand" feel to it. It was fun running around looking at the scenery. Unfortunately, the rest of the game play just wasn't very engaging at all. If you're using a sword, it looks like your character is just showing off rather than actually fighting. The combining weapons / armor feature is pretty neat, because it means that rather than having to wait around for better, more expensive chain mail armor or whatever, you can just keep combining your set of leather armor and it'll improve quite a bit. Nevertheless, I walked away from the game just feeling like there really wasn't anything in it worth my time or money. However, if you're just looking for a new RPG to play and level through simply for something to do, this is pretty typical and it'll fit the bill nicely.

The_AI
The_AI

I'm going to play the demo to give it a chance, but the game just looks like a joke.

BlackBaldwin
BlackBaldwin

Two worlds seems interesting but like everyone else I'll wait until the price tag drops on it to finally buy the game. By the way Oblivion wasn't that great of a game I found the game was pretty lacking, the only thing that game had going for it was the graphics and thats pretty much was it. Hopefull When Mass Effect comes out everyone will forget about that lame oblivion and praise that game instead of it...

hitman1988
hitman1988

could be good...lets just wait and see

diedante
diedante

Is this a third or first person RPG??? i think from the screenshots it look like 3rd, hope its animated better than Oblivion if so!!

soultakernemax
soultakernemax

ceasarblu i like what you say and im with you thats what iv been saying all along :). but hey we will all find out today me in just 2 hours how this game is gonna be when i pick it up finally from my local gamstop who has already called for my reserved copy pickup. all add me who are to purchase the game my gamertag is soultakernemax

cesarblue
cesarblue

actually gears of war is a rip off of kill switch, you guys don't pay attention to anything, this games is a little of both fable and oblivion, they do got to be on the level of oblivion with graphics, and game play should play like fable with a nextgen feel I mean for swings some combos a jump button that's all we want and what's worng with with playing as a human your human white or black cool with with me, even when i played morrowind i was a blackmale redguard, I really just want the choice but humans find with me. come check out my new blog www.myspace.com/prophetschasinpaper thanks guys shaolin

cesarblue
cesarblue

look two world don't come out with this game until it's absoultley ready, you have the potential to become a house hold name, i say hold off on this game till you got the graphics and combat up to par as oblivion, don't put a half-as product cause your going to get a half-as response and it's over for the company. why not build a franchise and have people believe in the product your shipping, if your staff is leaving after work to play Mass effect it's not a good thing come check out my new blog and let me know what you guys think www.myspace.com/prophetschasinpaper

madmoose7
madmoose7

hhhhmmmm im not sure about this game it hasent impressed me with the pics or the videos and the graphics look like #@%&. I'd rather wait for Elder scrolls V when ever that comes out.

bsnarr_311
bsnarr_311

does anybody know if the combat is like WoW?

Alkerio
Alkerio

@ the_gdfather No one was comparing Halo 2 and Gears of War. In fact it was the opposite...

Shroomiz
Shroomiz

seems allright, but the graphics look crappy to be a 360 game, they better improove them, oh and...boobies!

4Sparta
4Sparta

looks cool and i dont have a 360

thninja
thninja

i can't believe so many people think oblivion came up with the concept of a "dark brotherhood." the elder scrolls series has never been original, they take their stories and backdrops from books and movies, just like most other RPGs. get over it. and oblivion isn't even that fun compared to morrowind. what annoys me is i went to gamestop today to buy it, but it's not out till friday there. the guy at the desk was mad too. i pre-ordered it though so it's cool.

woges
woges

With regard to The Dark brotherhood I suspect the TES name was inspired from Lovecraft's "The Dark Brotherhood and Other Pieces". I do not know this for certain ofc but H.P. Lovecraft's work has inspired a lot in Roleplaying games.

the_gdfather
the_gdfather

And again, how can you guys compare gears of war and halo 2? they are completely different games idfferent camera view, different style, different everything. hell, its not even in the same time. halo and gears are completely different.

xmisto
xmisto

Oblivion, Two Worlds.. Halo, Gears of War.. Every game has a different feel and look to it. Sometimes you just have to ignore the fact, that someones always using something someone else created. All I'm trying to say is, Two Worlds I'm sure will be a good game. If you have a creative mind, you'd think any game is great. Atleast we're not talking about Shrek The Third.

Alkerio
Alkerio

Well... Mostly because Oblivion was a much deeper game than Fable, and it appears Two Worlds is also.

the_gdfather
the_gdfather

why are you guys comparing this to oblivion? It seems more like fable than oblivion. i mean, look at the character movement. and being a human male isnt bad at all. thats all i ever was in oblivion and all you could be in fable, and fable turned out to be a kick ass game. i might get this one to hold me off until fable 2...

Alkerio
Alkerio

Being limited to a human male is gonna suck... And just because a game is a free-roaming RPG doesn't mean it's a knock-off. That'd be like saying Gears of War is a knock-off of Halo because they're both Sci-fi shooters.

AmandaLB
AmandaLB

It sounds pretty good, all except for the "you can only be a human male". Oblivion was really a great game. But what made it even better was that you could reach out and be more involved in it by making your character another race, not to mention female. Not all woman gamers enjoy playing a male character.

dn3datomiced
dn3datomiced

I'm reaaaaaly apprehensive about this. This game comes from a developer I've never heard of, their team is smaller than Bethesda, they're shooting for a more ambitious overall goal, they're trying to include 8-player MP, they developed the game in 21 months, and at the time of the article, there's a mountain of bugs. Yeah...I really hope the best for them, but it sounds like they're WAY in over their head. Tough...

jasongm
jasongm

Hmm.. im gonna wait this one out and see what the reviews says about this game. Right now i have mix reactions to the multiplayer aspect of it.... Sounds like it might be similar to that of a Halo 2 multiplayer game except for swords and arrows. I thought the single player part you can customize your character to any race, being human sounds very limited. I guess the online part is where it might shine, and i hope it will feel more like Guild Wars or Phantasy Star Online han that of Halo or a cheap 3rd person knock off of the same game genres... Time will tell...

okassar
okassar

Oblivion was great,but Two Worlds is definitely not a rip off of it,Halo's great,does that mean that Gears of War is its rip off?No,that's totally giving in a whole genre to one good game under it.I believe Two Worlds will be great...atleast that's how it seems so far.As with Bioshock,I'm waiting to see if it really lives up to its promises.

1SleepyGit
1SleepyGit

To those saying that its a rip off of Oblivion, you know Oblivion wasn't the first of its kind you know? And as for Sithlord's comment about the Dark Brotherhood, you do realise Oblivion didn't come up with the idea itself either? Dark Brotherhoods have existed in lots of roleplay games, with the exact same name in many of them, so its not like Oblivion was being imaginative, on the contrary many of Oblivion's ideas were rather derivative if you look into it.

TED_LED
TED_LED

is 2W gonna hve a 1st prson view like oblivion, or is it just 3rd?

100Blondie001
100Blondie001

I hope the walking riding side of its better than oblivions its sorta perfectic when a horse gets stuck on a stick on the ground and no matter how many times you push the button the @#%* wont jump....

KevColds
KevColds

maybe they did. but i wouldnt trust any1 with poop for brains

Wayward_Son_88
Wayward_Son_88

While it looks like it is a blatant copy of Oblivion, it's still interesting. Oblivion had a few problems, in that everyone sounded and looked the same, that most places looked the same (except for the Shivering Isles expansion pack), the fighting was good but a little shallow, and for being this amazing hero, your decisions didn't seem to affect the game very much, except for removing the occasional Oblivion Gate, which to me was repetitive and wasn't very fun. If they can fix some of these issues, while still pulling off a very polished game, I'll get it.

p00phead
p00phead

These guys are @##@ they copied oblivion with the dark brotherhood

Sir_Bozack
Sir_Bozack

yeah this is seeming a lil too close to oblivion. I LOVED oblivion but that doesnt mean i wanna go buy a rip off. Id rather wait for es5! but ill probably end up gameflying this one.

matty_sen
matty_sen

this game will be great but whether or not it will stand up to the big hits coming though out aug,sep,oct,nov,dec will it servive well gamespot sayed it needed tweeking, the realse date has gone from may to august i meen they must be doin somthin

EvilDarkside
EvilDarkside

If there are no "OBLIVION GATES" in this... I'm sold

vass86
vass86

this one looks good. if it gets some good reviews i'll probably get it.

Spencer626
Spencer626

I agree with sonofabear17, it looks like a good game, and i might get if it gets a good review. But seeing as it's coming out the same week as BioShock, i'm not picking it up right away.

Sithlord_Kurth
Sithlord_Kurth

I can't believe they didn't even try to cover up the fact that they're copying oblivion. The Dark brotherhood... how obvious is that? complete lack of originality. couldn't they have even changed it a little? like, "the siblings of darkness"...lol

lg1300
lg1300

I like that the group who kidnaps the sister is known as the Dark Brotherhood. Hopefully Two Worlds doesn't sacrafice creativity to try and profit off the past success of Elder Scrolls.

spartanlink117
spartanlink117

oblivion was pretty boring after a little while, i hope this game can keep me more interested

lsny
lsny

If this is any good, I'm definitely picking it up...I wouldn't mind an Elder Scrolls IV.5 though I suspect it won't surpass Oblivion.

Nharia12
Nharia12

It sounds interesting and if your choices do truly effect the game it'll provide countless hours of play redoing each sceniario to see the cause and affects of your decisions.

glitchysquare
glitchysquare

ok i kind of take back what i said in thte last comment...i looked further into it and the game game looks pretty good, its no mass effect, but with 40 hours of gameplay, online play, and side missions thats could up the gameplay to 100 hours it looks like a game worth playing.

glitchysquare
glitchysquare

i was looking forward to this game a long time ago, but since then i've seen games like mass effect which has grafics, gameplay and much much more that put this game to shame. this could have been a good game if it came out months ago, but now its merely a rentel for me.

briandap
briandap

Stop comparing every Free-roaming RPG to Oblivion. Oblivion was boring became boring after the 16th gate you had to beat. I was level 8 I think when I beat it, because on the last gate I took off all my clothes and ran top speed to the boss. Booya grandma. Booya.

psp109
psp109

Your immediate concern is to find your missing sister, who has been kidnapped by a group called the Dark Brotherhood. can oblivion sue for copying them cause if i remember corectly they have a group of assasins called the dark brother hood just sayin.

paradise19
paradise19

This game seems absolutelty amazing. I worship this game in my sleep and I have posters of my drawings all over my basement. Whenever I think about it, the urge to touch myself becomes overwhelming and has caused some family strains. However, I beleive that the cult I will start on this game will be quite popular!!!!!

getchasome
getchasome

"derelict transformers"? Seems like a bit of a slip up there.