Another feature I really liked in Two Worlds II is the “Oculus.” This is an ability that allows players to essentially scout ahead and experience the world from different angles. With the push of a button, our guide initiated the Oculus, which is, as the name suggests, an invisible, eye-like bubble that can explore ahead. This ability allows players to identify enemies, plan ahead and possibly even avoid confrontation by seeking out an alternate route. The Oculus allowed our guide to witness a group of skeletons standing around from down at foot level to high up in the trees. It was a unique way to explore the world and offers intriguing possibilities to help aid your character through tough situations and help him plan ahead.
Two Worlds II wouldn’t be much of an RPG without the storytelling to back up all the combat and customisation. This was a major issue in the original game – it languished in stiff, awkward dialogue and cutscenes. But both Seaman and Kobylinski assured me that this was one of the major things they are addressing. “We just finished our first round of voice-over in Toronto last week and we’re in the process of implementing that, lip-synching and everything like that.”
TopWare has also completely reworked how conversations are presented. “In a lot of classic, open-world RPGs you enter a conversation and it becomes the camera flip thing,” Kobylinski explains. “It’s this exercise where he says this, he says that, he says this. And while it reads very well in a lot of these games, we wanted to do something a little more unique in this game, a little more flavourful. So what we did was actually allow the player to move around within the conversation environment, pan the camera, pull the camera forward and back to make the characters themselves pop.” The closest comparison would be the original Assassin’s Creed, where players could wander around the room throughout the conversation. “It makes it feel more like the conversation is a natural part of the game world as opposed to being this separate mechanic,” he adds.
Another interesting aspect of Two Worlds II is its attempt to strike a balance between those who want a story rich RPG, and those who want to go through the game more directly and beat it in the most efficient way possible. The developers have included optional side quests, and various collectible items (such as books that provide story detail) as a way to entice the story lovers. But by making them optional, they are also working to appeal to those want the most direct path to the end. They didn't want the game to feel “like a chore,” but still wanted to provide extra depth and options for game play. Their ultimate goal was to find a way to achieve that delicate balance.