Two Worlds II is less than two weeks away from release in North America, set to arrive January 25, 2011. Are you ready for your adventure into Antaloor and ready for the beasts that await? To get you up to speed on the story of Two Worlds and some tips to set you off on your journey, Aubrey Norris from Southpeak Games shares some insight on the fantasy action role-playing game. Think you’ve heard or seen it all in an RPG? Read on…
For players unfamiliar with the original Two Worlds, can you catch us up with a brief (non-spoiler) introduction to Two Worlds II?
Two Worlds II is a hardcore action-RPG based in the medieval fantasy world of Antaloor. It’s based around the hero and his sister, Kyra, who are born of a family that carries a mystical connection to the war god Aziraal. This connection has cursed members of their family (and now, in this generation – Kyra) to be vessels of Aziraal and the sole containing force of his terrible power being unleashed upon the world. Emperor Gandohar, a tyrant thirsty for power and complete world domination, has taken both of you prisoner and attempts to use his 1337 mage abilities to unleash Aziraal’s forces from within Kyra, using your life force to sustain her. At the beginning of Two Worlds II, a group of orcs (some unlikely allies) break you out of Gandohar’s prison and your ultimate mission is to unite the resistance forces of Antaloor against Gandohar and save your sister and the world from his malevolent grasp!
What are some of the first things that come to mind on what players can only experience in Two Worlds II?
The very first things that jump out at me are the incredibly deep spell creation and crafting systems. Any item you pick up, whether weapon or armor, can be deconstructed into its basic raw materials (e.g. Steel, iron, wood, etc.) and then used to upgrade your existing equipment. This unlocks slots for magical crystals that give a huge range of benefits like elemental damage, skill bonuses, stat bonuses, etc. On top of that, for players who are big into the online multiplayer side of Two Worlds II and form their own guilds, equipment can be custom dyed with guild colors.
The spell system is based on cards and amulets. Each combination of a set elemental card (for example, Ice, Poison or Power) and a set action card (for example, Missile, Summon or Trap) within an amulet will produce a ridiculous range of spell possibilities. On top of those basic things, other aspects of each spell can be customized, such as adding a homing component, a ricochet component, adding a damage over time effect, etc. And, if you thought that wasn’t enough, some amulets allow you to build linked spells, so that you could, for example, set a frost trap which will do 2000 damage upon being triggered and then summon a gigantic hell warrior to smite enemies and induce bloodshed you and then cast an AOE lightning attack. :) I love the range of possibilities!
I’m especially a big fan of the inclusion of summoned monsters for mages. If you put enough points into summoning as a mage skill, I discovered that you can literally have a horde of monsters fighting for you while you fire off AOE attacks or missiles safely from the background. ;) There’s nothing like a massive swarm of bees or (my nickname, of course) death grasshoppers to keep you safe and sound!
How big is the world of Antaloor and what environments should the player be prepared to endure?
Antaloor is made up of a system of gigantic islands (and when I say gigantic, I mean miles and miles- thank goodness for teleports! :) ). Parts of each island have their own individual flavor. The first island you begin questing on after the tutorial phase of the game has a very savannah/tropical African feel to it, complete with its own unique wildlife like Ostriches and Baboons that throw poo at you (seriously :P) (yes, the poo does damage to you :P). Other places in the game have Asian vibes, swamp-like environments, and so on.
How complex is item and quest management in the game?
Item management is similar to many other RPGs – players have an inventory system that separates their items into their various uses – magic cards, alchemy ingredients, weapons & armor, plot items etc. are all on different tabs. That comes in really handy, as Two Worlds II gives collectors the freedom to really go wild with the sheer variety of stuff they can gather through their travels – like crystals, different weapon types, different elementally-based mage equipment, books with amusing stories to read, items taken from corpses, bizarro alchemy ingredients like Undead Thyroids, creatable potions that offer a ridiculous variety of effects like invisibility, walking on water, etc. :) So – there’s a LOT to deal with, and the game separates everything into its appropriate category, which is really helpful.
Quests are managed on a rolling basis. The player’s quest log reads sort of like a diary. The hero will write down what he knows about the quest as soon as he takes it on, and individual quests can be highlighted at one time. When a quest is highlighted, a marker will show up on the game’s minimap along with an estimated distance to the marker in order to help keep players on track so they can get where they’re supposed to go. As new parts of each questline are completed, the hero will update his journal with new information about the quest or thoughts about what happened, so that if you stop playing the game and come back to it later you’ll be able to refresh your memory and not have as much trouble jumping back into the game, which as an RPG fan I’ve often found to be a difficulty with huge, immersive RPGs – sometimes if real life happens to make it so that you can’t play for a week or so, it’s really hard to jump back into the game and remember what you were doing before you left. Luckily, Two Worlds II constantly keeps track of where you are with each quest, so all you need to do is scan through the journal to refresh your memory.
Will players in Two Worlds II have unlimited inventory slots?
Inventory slots are not limited, but the amount of inventory carried is limited by weight, which is a function of each character’s strength. Players can also acquire residences in various cities and locations that they can leave things in they may not want to be carrying around all the time. :)
Are there any tips you can give players on character class selection or choice?
Well, luckily enough, there’s no class selection in Two Worlds II. It’s a completely design-your-own experience, where you put whatever points you want into whatever skills you want. In my first playthrough, I was so eager to do it all that I just could not decide, so I did a little bit of everything. Two Worlds II allows you to set three “quick-slotted” armor sets, so that you can switch from one to another with the push of one button. My strategy was to have a decent mage-type armor set, warrior-type armor set and rogue-type armor set and literally switch back and forth from them in the middle of a fight. I’d start off by taking out as many Varns, for example, as I could from a distance with my rogue and his bow and then once they got close enough switch to more of a warrior setup. But there are limitless possibilities on how you can strategically use that feature of Two Worlds II – you could have all three armor sets set as different elemental mage types – say, a fire mage, water mage and necromancer – for you to use depending on what situation you’re in. Or, if you want to concentrate on warrior, you can set up the quick slots with different types of damage in mind, like lances and their spinning attack for crowd-control type situations, dual-wield blugeoning weapons for when you’re fighting Necris and an Axe for creatures that are weaker to slashing damage. It all just depends on how you want to play.
Also, don’t underestimate the viability of a ranged emphasis in this game. I’ve seen in many other fantasy RPGs where bows and ranged weapons are in there sort of like a “HEY GUYS THERE ARE RANGED WEAPONS! LOOK!” but in practical use the bow cannot be used as a primary weapon. To me, there was nothing more exhilarating than sitting in my living room picking off an entire camp of enemies with my bow and Fire arrows and screaming for them to suck it. It was awesome!
I know action-RPG lovers will find some familiar fantasy enemies in Two Worlds II, but are there any that particularly stand out?
Well, we talked about the baboons and their poo, so that’s a thing. :P The groms some may be familiar with from the original Two Worlds do make a reappearance, although they are not nearly as prevalent. I guess you single-handedly eliminated most of their species in the first game. ;) Even among your standard fare wildlife per region, there are some really awesome ones – like raptors. RAPTORS! (Actually, called Drakonai in Two Worlds II). And BEES! The best part about the bees is that eventually you can get cards to summon your OWN bees and then just have an absolute bee war going on with your bees fighting off the enemy bees. And, of course, I mentioned my precious “Death Grasshoppers” (that is totally my own name – in the actual game they are called Stingers and are pretty WTF looking). And then there’s another enemy called the Taedium that is like a giant goddamn walking, gaping maw with little goddamn walking, gaping maws around it and it definitely elicited a “WHAT THE F*CK IS THAT” response from me upon first sight. :P
I’ve seen some crazy and diverse spellcasting in Two Worlds II. What are some of your favorite spells?
As you can probably tell, I am a big summoning fan. ;) But, there are some other spells that are just filled with lollerskates. Like a spell you can cast that will literally dump a pile of junk, including barrels, boxes, anvils and so on, on top of an enemy’s head. Each of those pieces has physics to it, so it does damage to anything it falls on. What’s even better is when you have a warrior in your party (in multiplayer) who is using Blockbreaker, a massive melee attack that sends loose objects in the area flying into the air and you see anvils and barrels flying everywhere. I love it!
It’s also fun to cast an AOE tornado around yourself and pick up random objects/corpses and use them to do supplemental damage to your enemies as you’re beating them to a pulp. XD
What about the weapons? Any particularly deadly or shiny gear/loot adventurers should be looking out for?
Lances are my absolute favourite. The hero has this amazing spinning attack that you can only use with a lance equipped that can really clear out enemies when you’re being bombarded from all sides. ;) So definitely give those a shot! I am usually not a 2-handed weapon type of person but it’s so worth it here!
Are there any other tips or advice you have for players in preparing for their Two Worlds II adventure?
DO ALL THE SIDEQUESTS. OMG you have no idea. The sidequests were my fav, I mean FAV part of Two Worlds II. Case in point: there’s one side quest where you have to deal with a woman’s cockblocking dead husband who inadvertently killed any dude she tried to get with. OR, there’s a quest where you have to convince a troll whose sole magical ability is to RANDOMLY SUMMON COWS AND CHICKENS to move out of the cave he’s occupying into a neighboring shack. WIN! Seriously- the sidequests are so entertaining, I loved them and I’m sure you will too. ;)
OH! And the oculus is also one of my fav things about Two Worlds II. The Oculus is literally the eyeball of a beastie that was ripped out and imbued with magical powers that allow you to use it as a free-floating scout/camera. You can send it into camps to check out where all the enemies are, around corners to see who’s lurking there in wait for you – it’s SO handy. Some oculi also have the ability to set traps or shoot fireballs. It’s pretty hilarious when a jackal guy is just standing there innocently guarding his camp, and you get all up in his business and shoot a fireball at his ass and he’s all like “WUT?!?!?!” Seriously. Just do it.
Big thanks to the always animated Aubrey Norris from Southpeak Games for this interview and gameplay tips! Two Worlds II will be available on January 25, 2011 in North America for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. There is also still time to nab some bonus items before Two Worlds II hits the streets. For more on Two Worlds II, visit the official website at www.twoworldstwo.com.