I had the opportunity to stop by the studio and see an Alpha run of South Peak Games TWO WORLDS. As always, I will cut to the chase, this game is 100% next generation RPG. The game world has very high end graphics as well as world effects. It is still in Alpha and already, in my opinion, this game has set the pace for the pack and is the new "ten" standard to measure all other RPGs against.
Two Worlds is created by Reality Pump, a gaming company based out of Poland who created games such as Earth 2160. They are making the jump to the RPG market on both the XBox and PC with Two Worlds. The game will cater to most player desires. You can play a single player story mode with a highly reactive world that changes according to what decisions you make in the game. Or you can play in a group setting linking up with 8 people for Xbox. If you are running it on the PC, you can open the MMO feature up to hundreds of friends and foes alike. So far, only the human race is the story mode race, but there are many races you can choose from. Orcs, dwarves, Groms (think barbarian trolls), Elves, and serpent men which move around on just tails and have no legs!
The world itself is absolutely massive. Above ground, it is twice the size of a game like Oblivion, but also has a subterranean areas and mountain peaks. Towns of various races that can like or dislike your character based on decisions you make, caves filled with savage monsters. And fortified caravans of bandits are all there for you to encounter around the world. All of it is ultra detailed to bring the game more to life.
The weather effects are like something never seen before. We were able to see what it was like to zone into a camp at night during a raging storm. As lightning flashed the world became illuminated and shadows danced all across the background. We loaded another zone to see how much detail went into the mainland features. Grass sways in the wind, and leaves rustle on trees in a display of insane detail as the storm raged on. It was crisp, clear, and ultra detailed. Start saving money for a nice high def monitor to enjoy all that the scenery has to offer.
The spell effects are equally as dazzling as the backgrounds. We got to see a fight between a Pyro-Mage and a giant scorpion. When the mage shot a ring of fire at the scorpion, it screamed and died, a standard in game death. What was not standard was that there was now scorched and burned grass where the spell has landed. So imagine a large fight between warring guilds in an area. It will actually look like a war-torn battle field with skeletons, shattered ground, scorched earth, and smoke wisping into the air. While the graphical effects and backgrounds set a very high bar, the character avatars and monster artwork were several notches below them at the time of the screening. It is early Alpha and changes are likely to occur.
The game has unique features like mounted combat and spell stacking as well as old classic features with new twists on them such as stealth and archery. Say, for example, you attempt to remain unnoticed by those around you. You can walk past guards and icons show over NPCs to indicate how close you are to being detected. Using common sense and not being overly aggressive can provide you with enough opportunity to pull off sneak attacks, pick pockets, or even the one shot assassination of an enemy by running your blade over the jugular. Archery has a cool over the shoulder view. When you pull out your bow and start to aim at your target the camera will slowly zoom in on your target the longer you hold your fire and aim. So a decision has to be made, zoom in and make sure you hit, or shoot on the fly and get off many shots in hopes that you hit a charging opponent.
Two Worlds has twelve character classes to choose from. Some of them are: Pyro-Mage Warrior, Bladedancer, Water-Wizard, Barbarian, or even Necromancer. You can take as many skills as you want, but obviously the more you spread out in your skill selection the less specialized you will be. So you can be a benevolent healer wielding curative water magic to aid your party, or a merciless necromancer as you tear the life out of your foes and corrupt the world around you. Unlike other games you can allocate stat points to any skill you want (Strength, Vitality, Dexterity, Willpower). So you could be a necromancer who uses sneak and fights with a two-handed weapon thus making you a dark knight of sorts by allocating points into strength and dexterity to add more flair to your class. Most skills will be available to every class in some degree. These skills can be trained by masters located at various cities across the world.
Air, fire, earth, water, and necromancy are the schools of magic you can spec in. Necromancy is rather unique because in the start of the game it is locked away and secret. You can opt to quest to unlock the dark arts but be warned, once you unlock the power, the world will change forever and now everyone will have access to it as well! Spells are used via spell cards. Each time you get a card you can use the card to add power to the current spells you know. So you can run around and know 15 spells and cast them all poorly, or you can hyper specialize and have the ultimate fireball.
Weapons work in a similar way to the spells. If you attack and kill a bandit in the woods he will drop a short sword. You can then equip this short sword and use it, but when you kill the next bandit he may drop another short sword. Instead of throwing the sword away, you can forge the sword with your current sword into a more powerful version, a short sword V2.0 in a sense. The weapon type you use and armor types you wear have their strengths and weaknesses. Chain mail is strong against the slash of a sword but weak against the bite of piercing arrows. Leather provides minor protection from slashing but almost no protection at all from the blunt attack of a hammer. These are just some practical examples on how armor works.
Voiceovers for NPCs go in a dynamic soundtrack. The musical score is epic, having been composed by two time Grammy award winner Harold Faltermeyer who worked on Beverly Hills Cop and Top Gun.
Well there you have it, the initial preview from early Alpha of Two Worlds. The game is set to be released some time this summer for the Xbox 360 and PC. There is a plan to add the MMO and PvP aspects to the game later on.