Two Worlds II: Call of the Tenebrae Review

A Living Relic
Developer: Reality Pump Publisher: Topware Interactive Platform: PC

I played this instead of Skyrim

I have made a lot of strange decisions in my life – many of them you could describe as questionable. As I stand here looking at my time spent with Two Worlds 2: Call of the Tenebrae I find myself wondering what kind of world am I living in where I have played this game but I have in fact never played the Elder Scrolls: Skyrim.

All great adventures start with anthropomorphic rat people and leather ladies

Does it in fact make me more qualified to review this title because I serve as an untainted bed of opinions? Because I have never played what people say is perhaps the greatest open-world RPG ever created? A game so nice they released it once, twice, thrice …you get what I’m saying.

The truth is Two Worlds 2 isn’t an awful game – it just isn’t an exceptional one either. It’s oddly charming, and you can tell that it’s been made by people passionate about the project. But unfortunately it comes across as a beast that requires a lot more polish – or perhaps just simply more mechanical skill is required to competently tell the story that the developers at Reality Pump Studios are trying to tell. There is a lot of goodwill on offer simply because the project is over six years old and the expansion of Call of the Tenebrae definitely is building on what you may consider some very ancient foundations – meaning on a technical level there are a lot of failings that are simply unavoidable.

Even after a HD remaster, the game still can’t shake those classic-stylings

The narrative offered by this expansion is quite fun – the story is interesting enough to keep me involved, however the game itself fails at so many fundamental things you have to push through them to keep enjoying the story that’s being told to you.

Generally, the big bad’s attempt to kill you via time-fuckery has instead sent you to the past – effectively giving you a second chance to prepare and defeat him. I am so used to games employing time travel as a very particular gameplay gimmick, so seeing it used in such a blasé way is genuinely refreshing.

Just another day in the life of an epic adventurer

The game’s fundamental gameplay elements are at times not offensively bad, just bland enough that you desperately wish for something more modern. It’s odd to play a game that makes use of a defined ‘combat stance’ that prevents you from using abilities in the year of our lord 2017, particularly when a healthy amount of your offensive actions are mostly clickspamming attacks – attacks that are also inaccessible when not in ‘combat stance’. Leaving combat stance allows you to do a short-ranged kick, that may or may not stumble your opponents. I am not being obtuse here, the act of kicking enemies was so inconsistent that in the end I am still mystified if the stumbling mechanic is actually intended. Spells and magic are fairly devastating when they are used – but long cooldowns really do dampen one’s excitement in using them. It’s a conundrum that you understand the people who played the game in its prime will play the title with a healthy dose of nostalgia driving them forward – however newer players will find themselves alienated because of this same framework. It’s not so much a double-edged sword as it is simply a fork with a rusty handle.

Why, yes, this is a random polygon of water in the middle of nowhere – Why do you ask?

It’s not so much a double-edged sword as it is simply a fork with a rusty handle

It is puzzling and a little disappointing to see that the developers did embrace one aspect of modern game design – the questionable inclusion of DLC microtransactions. Ranging from crafting material injections to class ability unlocks, they really do seem to be the most aggressively lazy cash-ins I have encountered in a long time. For a game that is by measure an entirely singleplayer experience, providing these shortcuts are a little eye rolling when you consider that they serve no purpose than to service those with more money than time (or effort).

On a scale of 1 to -holycrap-, the DLC strategy is a solid 9

Final Thoughts

In conclusion Two Worlds 2: Call of the Tenebrae is a difficult beast. It primarily serves as a gateway for people who enjoyed the original product to revisit the world and slay a plethora of rat people – while scowling at microtransactions that fundamentally insult them. This odd title has appeared seemingly from nowhere, and anyone not aware of the title’s near-decade old past may be bitten by curiosity, but they ought to be warned  that they are destined to be pummelled by frustration as it dawns on them how dated it really is.

Reviewed on PC

Never ask a genie for a huge cock

Good

  • Narrative Is Interesting Enough To Engage You
  • Some Seriously Slick Textures
  • Game World is Huge

Bad

  • Odd/Plain Gameplay Kills Desire To Engage in the Narrative
  • Again, Odd/Plain Gameplay
  • Bugs are common enough to be near CONSTANT
  • Enemy AI is somewhere between Dim and Nonexistant
  • Slow pondering pace
4

Carn Mate

Known throughout the interwebs simply as M0D3Rn, Ash is bad at video games. An old guard gamer who suffers from being generally opinionated, it comes as no surprise that he is both brutally loyal and yet, fiercely whimsical about all things electronic. On occasion will make a youtube video that actually gets views. Follow him on YouTube @Bad at Video Games

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