Aug 29, 2010
My task, or quest, as it were, is to attempt to review this game in the cold light of day without being biased towards any other game, just for the record, I’ve not played Gothic, Oblivion or World of Warcraft for more than a day at any point, although I know the basic ins and outs of them and how they work. I’m not a die hard player of any game in particular; I do still play the original Neverwinter Nights, though.
I decided to enter the world as a human cleric, I’m essentially good natured and would rather help people, than say, smite them into the ground with a large stick – although the latter does appeal to me somewhat. The character creation is pretty much what you’d expect from a creation screen for a D&D based computer game. Class, race (no 100 meters??), stats, feats, deity and background are the order of the day here, although I’m afraid I have to mention that the characters are very un-customizable looks-wise, so in a large multiplayer game, you may look similar to everyone else…
Onwards into the game, I started by entering the first of many cut scenes, which are all done with the in-game engine. Sadly, this results in dodgy lip-sync and no collision detection, although you can forgive some of this as the voice acting is quite well done as it goes. Indecently why are dwarves ALWAYS Scottish? I want to meet a Jamaican one “Hey mon, give me da’ gold or I be hackin’ yer kneecaps off mon.”
All of the people who join your cause have their own backstory and are willing to talk to you about it (sometimes) until your ears fall off. They also interact with each other, sometimes depending on your decisions in the game, you also score points with them depending on how well you’ve treated them, since they’re more willing to do things for you if you’ve been nice to them.
As the story develops, you find yourself being sucked in. The developer has done a good job with NN2 and it is quite compelling. It’s also better written that a fair few things I’ve seen around recently. You are forced to make some very definite decisions in the game -like join the bad side or the good side – it’s just to further your cause and help you along in the main quest so you won’t have to do it throughout the entire game, but depending on what kind of character you are, the choice can be fairly obvious – of course your fellow party members may not like your decisions.
Obsidian have revamped the “Electron” graphics engine somewhat. In order to run it like those screenshots you’ve seen online you need something massively powerful under your desk to run it, I’d suggest a Kray super computer, personally. The engine itself is really not that great, it’s buggy and very slow. I’m not running a massively powerful machine, but it is well above their minimum spec, and the thing is that the graphics really aren’t that great. For instance (this jumped out at me) all the characters look like their armour is made of spandex or wool. Not particularly what you’d want if someone was hurling a sword at you.
Quite a few things that really helped the first game as an RPG have been taken away, strangely. Two things off the top of my head that bug me about it are the inventory and the lack of the radial menu. For those of you who didn’t play the first game or didn’t use the menu, you could press 0 on the keypad, and from there you had 8 submenus, all of which could be accessed using the number pad by pressing the required direction. It was very quick, efficient and easy once you learned where things live. They took this out completely, and now you have to right click, wait for the delay (which is in the options, but you can’t turn it down to be instant) and search through the menu. This takes far too long and will probably get you killed on more than one occasion. As for the inventory, it’s gone back to single icons which are nearly indistinguishable from each other. This causes great confusion if you’re in a hurry, for example, mistaking a potion to cure serious wounds with one that cures light wounds, will almost certainly kill you if you can’t rectify your mistake in time.
Obsidian, in my opinion, have really screwed up on this one, possibly because they’ve rushed it. The game feels unfinished and it’s very rough around the edges. I’d have expected a game to play and feel like this in 2004. It also lacks a lot of features you’d expect from a modern RPG. It wouldn’t matter as much if the game had something that made you sit up and say WOW! But it really doesn’t.
I’m torn between five and six here, Do I award it six because it’s Neverwinter Nights 2 and I really want to like it? Or do I stick to my guns and mention more reasons for disliking it? This game may be worth playing in about a year’s time when Obsidian has finished patching this clunky monstrosity, but right now, it’s a strictly average affair.
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- Directly to your computer – recommended for beginners.
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The download contains the Neverwinter Nights 2 DVD, archived into 62 RAR files. Windows only.
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- Buy from Atari for $29.98 and instantly download it to your computer. Windows only.
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