I won’t lie. I couldn’t stomach the first Two Worlds game long enough to finish it. What good ideas it had were buried under more flaws than even I could be bothered to dig through. As such, I’m not sure whether the second game, Two Worlds II, is a direct sequel or not – but one thing I do know for sure is that it’s a huge improvement.

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Players are put in control of a nameless hero imprisoned alongside his sister, who is apparently a channel for one of the world’s gods. The evil mage who has imprisoned them is using the hero’s sister to siphon the god’s power bit by bit. As luck would have it, the hero is rescued by a group of renegade orcs who agree to help him free his sister in exchange for his help in bringing down the evil mage.

That is one ugly interface.

As far as RPGs go, Two Worlds II is a mix of linear and open-world. Players are only able access to more parts of the huuuuge world as they follow the main quest, but there are plenty of side quests and guild missions and such to dabble in along the way. You are also stuck with the default character, who is a kind of generic, medieval Clint Eastwood. Seriously. I keep expecting him to bust out a gat one second and ask, “Feelest thou lucky, punk?” [“bust out a gat?” – ed]

That aside, there is no shortage of enemies to fight, and they’re incredibly varied from one region of the world to another. The combat is simple but satisfying with enough special moves and weapon types to keep it interesting. It’s also real-time, so no excruciating turn-based stuff here, thankfully. The magic is one of the deeper systems I’ve seen in a videogame, requiring players to craft their own spells by combining effects to create new and unique spells ranging from radial fire blasts and homing poison missiles to summoning demons or raising dead enemies. The alchemy is also complex, and there are hundreds of ingredients for players to mix to discover new potions.

If you can get online, you can invite some friends (or strangers) to play with  you in the game’s various multiplayer modes, where you can create a custom male or female character, and go through one of the game’s several multiplayer-specific co-op campaigns or duke it out with other players to prove your skills in the arenas.

The only real drawback to Two Worlds II, apart from the controls being a bit fiddly sometimes, is the visuals. It’s hard to describe, really. When you look at each individual element on its own, like the armour, weapons, buildings, flowers, and so on, they look good, even fantastic – but when you put them all together… something bad happens. I can’t describe it.

The animation could be a lot better too, and the voice work. Which is a pity, because it gives a slightly low-budget tang to what is otherwise a solid and worthwhile action RPG.