Review by miyaa

Reviewed: 11/04/06

Seems like back to square one for Neverwinter Nights 2

When we last left our adventurers in the Atari version of Neverwinter Nights, you had your hero outwit an ancient and dark evil that was out to thwart Neverwinter (or Waterdeep, in the case of the last expansion) and overtake the world of Fareun.

Neverwinter Night 2 seems to be starting back out at square one. This time, you play a hero of your own choosing among a slightly broader list of classes using the Dungeon and Dragon's 3.5 edition. The plot is fairly straight forward, you must protect these "shards" that seem to cause strange creatures (githyankis, bladeings, and shadow creatures) wanting to essentially revive a very old King to his proper place in the swampy farmlands that are south of Neverwinter. How nice. How you fit into this only your foster-father knows, and he makes Spock look emotional.

The graphics and sounds are a bit better than before. This "eyecandy" as I like to call it. The people, places, the scenery are all very well drawn out, particularly the characters you end up conversing with. However, this comes with a steep price of making sure you have a very heavy-duty graphics card. Otherwise, you will end up with very choppy animation during battles and fights. The voices selected for this game are very well done, although a bit annoying at a times.

I have more of a problem with the gameplay itself. The main problem that I saw that Obsidian (the group that made NWN2) didn't pick up where Bioware left off with their very innovative gameplay. You have fourteen classes to choose from, the only truly new class is the warlock class, probably because one of the people you have to fight again is a Warlock. Warlocks are even faster versions of sorcerers, but with a very demonic taint to their spells. I found them to be very enjoyable to play with. They revamped the casting system so that instead of having your list of skills on the bottom of the screen to use on a moment's notice, they are set aside on the left-hand side to use very easily. That maybe well and good, but it makes the screen a lot more cluttered.

Speaking of cluttered, replacing of the radial menu with the drop-down menu made things seem more cumbersome than before. You can give out general commands through the drop-down menu, but in a battle, that turns out to be very hard to do. I also had a problem with them using a rather modernistic looking font instead of the medieval Old English clone of a font that the original Neverwinter Night used. Some people may have a bit of a problem with the Star Wars like way you interface with major characters through full movie replays and then clicking on one of the various responses you could take. I wasn't thrilled with it myself.

Also, players can choose from a wider variety of races including plane-touched races and other lesser known sub-races, including the dreaded drow. They did increase the size of your party from two people to a proper party of four. So you have to choose fairly wisely about who you want depending on what is going on in the game. The multiplayer version of this game runs similarly well, although the people running the servers may limit the number of henchmen you wish to bring into a game.

If you loved the first Neverwinter Night, as I did, you are going to be fairly disappointed. It's a fairly good game, but not at the level that the first one was. If you've never experienced this game before, or if you're used to the way the Star Wars RPG games were developed, then you will enjoy this game quite a bit. And if you're a D&D geek, I will warn you. This version was a lot more faithful to the Forgotten Realms world than one was. And I also like how choosing a God does matter in this game. But, you will still be feeling like this game could have been a little bit more.

Rating:   3.0 - Fair

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