Zwei: The Ilvard Insurrection E3 Impressions
XSEED's support for bringing over Falcom's back catalog's to a western audience has been stellar in the last year. We saw the English release of Xanadu Next late last year and the highly anticipated conclusion to Falcom's Trails in the Sky trilogy last month with Trails in the Sky the 3rd. XSEED isn't slowing down. In addition to announcing an enhanced PC port of Trails of Cold Steel earlier this year, we also got the surprise announcement of an English localization of 2008's Zwei II, called Zwei: The Ilvard Insurrection. We only learned of Zwei's localization a couple of weeks ago and we will have a chance to dive in really soon: the game is set for a summer release. XSEED provided some screenshots and other media right before E3 2017, but I had a chance to sit down and play the game on the show floor.
The basics are that Zwei is a light dungeon crawler that implements some basic RPG and puzzle elements. You play as the two characters Ragna and Alwen. The gameplay takes place in a number of themed dungeons, each with their own puzzles, enemy types, traps, and bosses that need to be overcome. There are many elements of Falcom's other titles in Zwei: the boss encounters are highly reminiscent of the 3D Ys titles while the dungeon crawling is more similar to the gameplay found in Xanadu. The game shares combat and visual similarity to Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure, though Zwei features multiple playable characters, so the core gameplay is perhaps more similar to Ys Seven or Celceta.
The take-away that I had immediately is that Zwei is incredibly pleasing to look at. Even in the poor lighting of the E3 show floor, Zwei stood out amongst even XSEEDs other titles. The bright colors pop and the artwork holds up and disguises the game's late 2000s roots. We can also look at XSEED's other recent PC titles such as Trails the 3rd to get an idea of what sort of configuration options should be available. But even on the settings used on the floor demo, the game looked sharp and vibrant. All of the characters and enemies are visually distinct and none of the detail is lost in the midst of a chaotic combat encounter.
The game felt perfectly paired with the Playstation 4 controller. The player can switch between either of the two playable characters on the fly, as well as make instant adjustments to whichever element Alwen is currently attuned to.
A similar mechanic involves changing which weapon Ragna is wielding. I had equipped a transforming chain weapon that Ragna could ride like a rocket ship to ram into enemies for high damage at the cost of having a limited degree of control. Certain enemies will be weaker to specific elements or attack styles, so the game rewards changing things up as necessary. I did not have the chance to try out the mouse and keyboard controls, but as a game with PC roots, I envision that there isn't much to worry about there.
The dungeon puzzles were fairly simple but adequate. The game offers an easily accessible map and switches and gates and other puzzle components were usually easily spotted and solutions were pretty straightforward. I never found myself wondering where I should go during my short time with the game. The cacophony of the E3 floor made it hard to make out the soundtrack and voice acting, but what was shown in the E3 trailer seems to give a good idea of what to expect on that front.
Zwei: The Ilvard Insurrection is set for a Summer 2017 release on PC. For the rest of our E3 2017 coverage, remember to check out our E3 hub!