Developer: Reality Pump Studios
Publisher: TopWare Interactive, ACE
Call of the Tenebrae is an adventure RPG set in the Two Worlds II universe. It’s available as a DLC to the base game, or as a standalone game.
The story starts off with your friend Dar Pha being murdered by giant rat-like creatures. As you seek vengeance against them, you are accidentally thrown back through time by their leader. From there, you find a note Dar Pha has left for you, and you must find her and help her stop the catastrophic events to come. This story takes place after the Two Worlds II: Pirates of the Flying Fortress DLC, but it isn’t necessary to have played it.
I have not played any Two Worlds 2 prior to this Call of the Tenebrae DLC. Thus, I was prompted to create a new character instead of importing a previous one. As a new player to the series, I was extremely annoyed by the utter lack of any sort of tutorial. The game isn’t very intuitive either, so I was clueless on how to play and fight. I wound up restarting the game about five times before leaving the first town.
Upon creating a new character in Call of the Tenebrae, you choose a class: warrior, ranger, or mage. You start off at level sixty with a full set of gear, a ton of attribute points, a major buttload of skill points, plenty of consumables, and quite a bit of currency. Starting off in a role-playing game with essentially a maxed skill set makes any sort of character progression feel nonexistent.
The gear you start with is upgradeable by using crafting components you’ve obtained by dismantling other loot. I figured it’s a good idea to upgrade, so I upgraded a few of my items to their max levels. The bad part about the gear is the fact that the gear I started with never needed to be replaced during my entire playthrough.
Combat is frequent throughout the game. You can attack, block, use traps, and abilities. Your set of three abilities will vary depending on which class you play, what abilities you have unlocked, and what weapon you have equipped. Some of the skills are only available if you find the skill book somewhere in base game, or spend real money on them.
I played as a warrior with a 2-handed-axe, and I found the most effective way to fight and conserve health was to simply spam auto-attacks while using special abilities whenever they were off cooldown. Combat feels clunky, and blocking is pointless most of the time. Running away to wait for cooldowns seemed like a better alternative.
There is also a crafting system in Call of the Tenebrae. You can craft from your inventory, anywhere in the world. The system works by adding ingredients you’ve scavenged into the cauldron. It’s very clear what effect each ingredient will give, but you can mix and match ingredients to try and find new recipes to create stronger potions or ones with varying effects.
- the story in Call of the Tenebrae is alright; it keeps you somewhat interested, and you might want to listen to the dialog and plot developments
- the music and ambience are very good, and they create a nice immersive atmosphere (which gets ruined by the broken voiced segments…)
- crafting system is easy to use anywhere, and it’s good for creating attribute buffs, such as strength or endurance
- environments look alright, not great, but not too bad either
- controls are fully customizable, and there is full controller support
- combat is clunky, and the most effective way to fight is typically repetitive and feels the same from start to finish
- levelling up feels completely unsatisfying, and doesn’t award you with any sort of accomplishment at all, since you already have almost everything unlocked at the start
- while loot is plentiful, it’s all just crap that is never an upgrade over your current starting gear – it serves as junk to dismantle, and looting enemies for the sole purpose of dismantling items is horribly tedious, and you’ll eventually want to just give up on looting enemies or opening treasure chests altogether
- crafting system feels utterly useless for creating health or mana potions because the ones you’ll likely craft are complete garbage compared to the potions you can buy from the vendors
- several broken segments of voiced dialog – There are times where 1. the voice dialog doesn’t play at all while characters are talking, 2. the dialog gets completely cut off mid-sentence or stops too abruptly at the end (and you can hear where they cut the tracks), and 3. the voice volume is inconsistent and plays so quietly compared to usual volume, that you can’t hear it over the music
- quality of the voice ranges from mediocre at best to quite poor
- game stutters briefly when loading randomly while you’re running
- a few occasional, but very serious lag spikes and framedrops in some of the areas
- (nitpick) the game isn’t very intuitive and it’s annoying have a lack of tutorial (I thought it was supposed to be stand-alone DLC?)
- (nitpick) microtransactions are lame, but at least if you start a new character for the DLC, all of that class’s skills are available
- (nitpick) the characters and their animations still look incredibly out-dated, and even straight-up goofy or glitchy at times
- (nitpick) some texture popping issues
The game took me about 5.5 hours to complete excluding the times where I restarted the game. I focused on the main story, and skipped doing the optional side quests, and I would not consider replaying it.
Two Worlds II: Call of the Tenebrae lacks any sense of progression or accomplishment, and the combat is tedious. The audio breaking regularly on top of the poor-to-mediocre voice acting ruins almost any sort of immersion or enjoyment the story might provide. I had little to no fun playing Call of the Tenebrae, and my time would have been better spent elsewhere.