Two Worlds Preview - The Next Level

Game Profile

Release date:
Topware Interactive
Topware Interactive
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Two Worlds

Topware takes a stab at making the most immersive RPG ever.

Preview by Aaron Drewniak (Email)
May 16th 2006

The Basics: It's getting harder and harder to make good games these days when titles keep raising the bar. The most recent in the RPG realm was The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion, with its lovingly detailed world and NPCs with complex behavioral cycles. Two Worlds seeks to make it as obsolete as Daggerfall, by presenting a world that's so rich in detail and life that the player will have to open a window to tell the difference.

A young man traveling with his sister and a band of mercenaries have the misfortune of arriving at a peaceful dwarven mining town when an ancient temple is discovered, dedicated to an unnamed deity. Before long, a prominent member of the Dwarven Mining Guild will be assassinated, while all the mercenaries will be dead. His sister missing, the young man is nearly killed himself, only to be saved by a mysterious mage. Now he must follow down the path of chaos and strife to reach his destiny.

Two worlds with two major choices set before you. Do you become a champion of light and virtue, or a force of corruption to poison the lands before you? Either way you'll need to be strong to survive, improving your skills and seeking out the best equipment, especially artifacts powerful enough to strike at the gods themselves. Join different organizations to learn at the feet of their masters, and possibly betray them to gain prominence with their rivals. Strive to complete complex quest arcs as your own reputation, or infamy, grows. In all this, many enemies will lay before you, from men to monsters, orcs to the undead. Tactics, traps, and steel will take them down. Whatever path you choose will have a very real impact on how this story unfolds.

Fighting in this game promises to be closer to Dynasty Warriors than what's normally seen in an RPG, with the ability to slash, block, dish out special moves, and expend special items for unique actions. All of this can be mixed in with the game's magic system, which uses a form similar to most collectable card games. Each spell is represented by a card, and power based on the user's ability, but there's also the option to stack various effects in other cards to construct more devastating spells. This way no spell ever ends up being useless, and players will strive to collect needed spells, trading off unwanted magics to other characters in the game.

All of this in one of the most lifelike games to date, where metal gleams and water ripples as the trees sway in the breeze. There's a tactile feel to this world, aided by the advanced lighting and shadow modeling that add depth to the pleasant townscapes and rolling countryside. Night and day cycles along with realistic weather effects will also help this illusion, which will not only darken the skies but have a tangible effect on gameplay. No longer can players march boldly through a snowstorm in bare feet. If they don't keep warm, they can freeze and eventually die, just as they can starve if they fail to eat. HDR and Pixel Shader 3.0 support add to the show.

To take this even further, Two Worlds will also feature a separate scenario devoted to multiplayer, currently planning to support up to sixteen players on PC and eight on the Xbox 360. The PC version will also include an editor so players can make modifications to virtually any aspect of the world and share them with other players, while the best of the best might be made available on the Xbox Live Marketplace for the 360 version.

What we think: Two worlds is still early in development, so all that was shown were stills and animation sequences taken from the game engine developed specifically for this title. So at this point it's hard to say if they'll manage to implement everything they have planned, but the rich visual detail presented at least promises a world with a level of immersion that seemed a bit lacking in Oblivion and all the RPGs that had come before it. So it may have a long way to go, but it's already off to a strong start.

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