Thursday, February 14, 2013

Horse Riding Hilarity: Two Worlds 2

Before I begin let me say that I am actually enjoying Two Worlds 2. It looks great has an interesting world to explore with lots of stuff to do. The game does have its flaws however so you do need an open mind and a certain willingness to put up with things until you get used to them if you are going to enjoy this game. Nowhere is this more evident than in the implementation of horse riding.

I got my horse as a quest reward and things looked promising at first. Facing the beast I was told to press button "A" to mount and that worked as advertised. A message flashed by suggesting that I press the left trigger to gallop but being very much of the opinion that one should learn to walk before attempting to sprint I decided to start off slowly by easing the left stick in the direction I wanted to travel. Nothing happened. The horse didn't move or turn so I tried the right stick. Again nothing happened. None of the other buttons seemed to do anything either so I decided to hold on tight and pressed the left trigger to initiate a gallop. My horse lurched forward and promptly stopped. I pressed it again and held it this time. The horse lurched again and stopped again. In order to sustain forward momentum I found that you have to pump the trigger repeatedly. Furious button mashing isn't the answer. A certain rhythm is required to maintain a constant speed.

Turning is another matter. Trial and error eventually revealed that the left stick can be used to steer a moving horse. It is quite sensitive and needs a gentle touch.  You are pumping away rhythmically with your left index finger in order to keep the horse moving and then you need to carefully adjust the steering with your left thumb. Think about that for a moment. In fact if no one is looking at you try it on an imaginary controller now.

You cannot even cheat because steering doesn't work at all when you are stationary. This causes particular difficulties when my horse runs into a tree or a wall. Once I have climbed back up I need to turn the beast's head around to get going again but it will not turn unless is is also galloping. A rather dexterous combination of left stick and left trigger resulting in a wildly spinning jump is the only way I have found out of that all too regular dilemma.

Yes I did mention climbing back up because this horse is entirely too fond of throwing its rider. If I run into an obstruction it will throw me. If I try to make it go along a path it doesn't like it will throw me. If it is attacked and injured it will throw me. If I try to push it too hard by hammering enthusiastically on the gallop button it will throw me.

This is one of the worst pieces of interface design I have ever come across. I say design because it is clearly intentional. Somebody must have decided that the ridiculous pumping required to move was a good idea. Perhaps it is supposed to simulate a rider eagerly urging their pony forwards with spurs and whip. If so then I doubt the game designers have ever ridden a real horse.

The really strange thing is that I am beginning to get used to it. Now that I can get my horse to go where I want (most of the time) at a speed that is doesn't result in my being thrown (most of the time) I am even beginning to enjoy the mini-game challenge that horse riding presents (most of the time). I still think it is a ludicrous game mechanic.

1 comment:

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