Review by Dr_GooDviBeS

Reviewed: 11/13/06

NWN2 - the sleeping beast

The much anticipated sequel to one of the, if not the best, RPG for PC, Neverwinter Nights is out there on the shelves. Obsidian picked up where Bioware left and tried to keep up with the revolutionary approach to the Dungeons&Dragons world of magic and fantasy. Does NWN2 lives up to its predecessor? The answer, unfortunately, is no. Albeit with some noticeable graphics and a much more engaging story in the first-person campaign than NWN, the volume 2 has numerous flaws that just can't be ignored.

Graphics [8/10] - they are neat, the effects are great but, honestly, there are some games out there that are better looking and don't use nearly as much system resources as NWN2. The graphics engine needs some serious revamp to make it fully enjoyable.

Sound [9/10] - The voice acting is great and the music is divine, as expected. Just one low point: the recycling of many sounds and voices from the previous instalment generates some mixed feelings. It seems that Obsidian clearly looked to save precious time...

Gameplay [5/10] - NWN shined at its simple, intuitive and flexible gameplay. NWN2 is full of some very, very wrong ideas. The inventory system is chaotic and simply unrealistic. The quickbars, although augmented to a whooping number of 120 slots divided in 10 bars, lack the right-click flexibility of NWN where one could easily add item and special abilities with ease. Dual-wielding is not even supported out-of-the-box. A shame. WASD control is now prohibitive due to the extreme turning speed of the characters. The cool radial menus are gone, replaced by cumbersome drop-down menus. Why change so many things that worked so well?

Story [9/10] - NWN2 is a heavily epic story-driven game, and it will keep you glued to your PC for long hours, unravelling the mysteries behind your childhood, the shards, the strange races you find along the way, and putting you in the control of the fate of an entire realm. You couldn't ask for much more, except perhaps for more in-party interactions, that even with the influence system (reminiscent from KOTOR and KOTOR2) seems to be poorly explored.

Tilt [10/10] - NWN2 can be theoretically played to infinity. You have 12 core classes, several prestige classes, many races and subraces, a toolset that allows you to create new in-game content and modules, lots of online servers ready to be explored for free... the potential is unlimited!

Overall [7/10] - I have to say that, being a huge fan of NWN and AD&D, I'm quite disappointed with NWN2. Don't get me wrong: it's a great game. You can't get much better in RPG nowadays than with NWN2. But it has very serious performance and gameplay issues that need urgent care. Hopefully, with quick and effective patching, NWN2 can become the greatest RPG ever made for PCs, but as things are now, it seems that the game has been somewhat rushed out of beta stages. But, if you have an high-end machine and are seriously committed to the RPG cause, then go forth and adventure!

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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