During E3, I spent some time with Pirates of the Flying Fortress, the expansion to Two Worlds II. The expansion adds a fair bit of content to an already expansive game and revolves around you helping a crew of damned pirates in a cursed archipelago. It adds a new campaign that is about 10 hours long along, and an archipelago that adds about 25% more land to explore.To fit with the pirate theme, you can expect to see a lot of brand new, themed weapons and armor.
A lot of the content that went into making this expansion comes from previously planed Two Worlds II paid DLC and content taken from Two Worlds III. The team behind the game thought it was best to not only combine all of that content into one large expansion, but also address a few of the criticisms that people had with the game. There are all new animations in both the combat and dialog sequences and all new recorded dialog, voiced by an all new cast. This includes a recast of the main character.
Other new features include new hair styles and faces to choose from during character creation. Horse Armor has been added to the game in order to give your steeds more customization options and more of a fighting chance out in the world. I was also told that the actual mechanic of riding horses has been improved, making riding horses far less of a chore than it should be. In addition, there is a new class of ranged weapons, crossbows, which are very powerful, but reload slowly. The map has been improved with a boat and horse marker, so you will never lose your boat or horse again. In general, the game is also far more sailing friendly. All of the new islands are approachable and dockable from all sides so you no longer have to search for a suitable place to anchor your boat. The freedom you are given to move around the island chain with your boat adds a lot to the pirate theme of the game and should prove more fun than the base game.
The game itself looks a bit nicer than the original did. It seems like a lot of the technical problems of the original game have been smoothed out, and the addition of random weather effects adds a lot to the atmosphere and visual flair of the game. I didnít get to see much of the brand new cities or environments, but I was told that the quests take you to some interesting places and make you do some strange things. For example, it was strongly hinted that there would be an undead quest chain involving undead strippers, which should be fairly entertaining. In terms of jumping into the expansion, you can immediately start it with a brand new character or use the character you completed the main game with. You can also hop back and forth between the old and new areas at will. There are also some additions to the multiplayer game as well, including 4 new maps. However, Iím not sure how large these maps are or what new quests are attached to them.
All in all, it seems like a fairly decent expansion. You get a lot of improvements and bug fixes to the base game, along with an emphasis on mechanics that werenít a major focus in the last game. You also get more customization options, a ton of brand new loot, a brand new overarching quest and theme, and a whole new area of the world to explore. If you are interested in checking out the expansion, but donít have the original game, TopWare Interactive is releasing a Game of the Year Velvet Edition that includes: the original game, the expansion, a special DVD case with metal corners, a world map, an in-game bonus item, a bonus disc with the expanded soundtrack, and a pirate head pin. The Velvet Edition should cost about the same price as Two Worlds II did at launch. Velvet Edition comes out alongside the expansion sometime this October. Since Iím currently enjoying playing through Two Worlds II right now, Iíll probably have to check out the expansion for myself later this year.