Neverwinter Nights 2

It has recently occurred to me that I have forgotten enough about World of Warcraft (WOW) that I am probably at the point of no return. In other words, the time I’d have to spend remembering how to play the game, customize the interface, optimize my character, etc., feels like more effort than its worth. So I’ve been thinking about finding a new game to waste time on. As a couple people have pointed out, Elder Scrolls Oblivion is out, but I’m not sure I’d like the play style. Since there’s no demo available, I’ll pass. (I’m guessing that a game that takes up 4.6GB of hard drive space can’t be easily shrunk to demo size.) In reading the description, they are really after casual WOW gamers, as they list short challenges as a primary selling point; big challenges (that require 5-40 of your friends to be online and up for the same challenge) is one of the biggest complaints about WOW.
     So I was pretty happy to hear that they are making Neverwinter Nights 2 (NWN2). I was a little worried when I read that they’re using the same game engine as NWN (Aurora). But the full truth is that Bioware is just providing Aurora to Obsidian, who is modifying it significantly and has renamed it Electron. Yes, that means Bioware is not actually developing NWN2, just helping a little.

The Good:
+ Follows D&D 3.5 rules
+ All races and classes from NWN, plus new ones like Duergar, Drow, Aasimar, Tiefling, Wild Elves and others that aren’t as cool (meaning evil).
+ All classes and prestige classes, plus new ones like Arcane Trickster (rogue plus wizard/sorcerer)
+ Improved graphics based on DirectX 9 and Pixel Shader 3; old game engine != old graphics

The Bad:
– No epic levels, at least to start with; cap at 20 again
– No psionics, unless you’re an illithid. And you can’t play an illithid. Boo!
– No mounts, gotta run everywhere on foot, just like in real life. Because horses weren’t invented back then… Boo!

So overall, pretty cool, except it’s not due until 9/1, according to EB. That means I’ll have to find another game, or stay productive until September. I’m pretty I sure won’t make it that long.

P.S. I got most of this info from the Wikipedia entry.

5 thoughts on “Neverwinter Nights 2”

  1. I am playing Oblivion now and I must say it’s the best role playing game since, well, Morrowind actually. I’ve played ALL the Elder Scrolls games throughout the years. This is the only role playing series I have ever played that has actually DRASTICALLY improved with every installment.(Baulder’s Gate 2 was great, but was it REALLY that much better than the first one? Ect)
    A word of warning to anyone considering this game: You may want to synchronize this purchase with a system upgrade as I am doing now. It will not act kindly to even a moderately powerful setup.(By the end of the week I’ll have a dual card motherboard with twin 7800s JUST because of this game.)
    It’s also an extremely long game, which is what I base most of my purchases on. Like my books. I read for the fun, not for an ending.
    Which reminds me, I just finished S. King’s Dark Tower series which makes the Bible seem like a pamphlet. Almost cried when it was finally over.
    Way off the point.
    What is the point?
    Baulders Gate
    Icewind Dale
    All GREAT games, but a bit linear for me.
    Linear is OK for FPS games like Half Life2 (the best FPS of all time), but when it comes to role playing, give me the Might and Magic days of old.
    Elder Scrolls lets you go and do anything the hell you want, anytime you want. But with consequences if you find yourself off the beaten path.
    Just like real life.

  2. Thanks for the detailed review. You’re the 3rd person to give it very high praise, so I’ll probably pick it up after I figure out my job situation.

  3. I am also loving Oblivion. The completely free form aspect of the game seriously rocks. I also love the fact that it is so much more immersive than other RPGs due to a couple of things:

    1) The quest givers don?t have a big yellow thing over there head to tell you they have a quest. Also, they don?t just stand around waiting for you to come along. They have jobs they go to during the day. They get together for meals with other NPCs. They go home and go to sleep in their beds. You have to wander around listening to people talk to each other, and talking to them yourself to get quests usually. This doesn?t pull up a text box, but instead some really tallented voice actors tell you the quests, or rumors, or whatever, and the animations going along with the dialogue are great.
    2) It looks amazing, and the weather effects rock. It really feels like a real world you are moving around in. I have it playing on my XBOX 360, on the big screen, with the latest Dolby system, great cables, the optical audio,?. i.e. getting most out of that machine that I can, which is allot. The surround sound is amazing, and really impacts the game play if you sneak around a bunch (if you are not sneaking, they hear you first usually).
    3) You don?t have to constantly listen to idiots looking for attention. It so much spoils the experience for me when every 5 seconds someone sends out a message to the world using incoherent text messaging, or otherwise proving to the world through their actions that they are either 12 years old, retarded, or both.

    I also am getting a kick out of making my own spells and enchants. You don?t just learn spells, you can also make spells based on the effects that you have learned so far. My favorite is one I made that both reduces the weight of the loot and gear I am carrying, while simultaneously boosting my strength by a huge amount, so I can carry even more. The balancing of the magnitudes of both effects, along with their duration to provide just the right amount of effect while not using magika (mana) faster than I regenerate it is fun. Combined with the special set of gear I enchanted to further increase my load carrying capability, I can carry out tons of loot. I then jump on my horse (cool evil looking thing with red eyes and a bit of an aggressive streak) and fast travel back to the house I bought, where I sort my stuff into the chest, cabinets, and such that I bought for the house from another vendor. I don?t know why it is so cool to own a house in the game, but I love having a place to call my own way more than I should (and I own a house in the real world btw).

    Finally, the think that surprises me the most about the game is that I really enjoy playing it in the first person perspective. Now, I LOVE first person shooters, but usually for RPGs, it just doesn?t seem to work. World of Warcraft was fun, but other than selecting your target and making sure you were within range, you didn?t really have to pay much attention to what they were doing most of the time. With casters you could just tab through all available targets and to pick which one you wanted to hit first. With mele, you could just select a target, use a charge attack or similar, and boom, you were in mele range. From there, you could just watch the health and mana/rage/energy bars for you and your foes while you pound on buttons, usually in the same way until things became just a grind?.
    With Oblivion, your targeting and positioning is critical. If you shoot off a spell and you are facing the wrong way, you miss! Same with arrows. You even need to lead moving targets or aim high on targets that are far away. Coolest though is when you are in mele combat with something else doing the same (beast or NPC). It is freakin awesome the way you see your shield come up when you hold the block button. When they hit you (if you miss a dodge) you can then jump in to slice them up a bit before they recover from their swing. The timing of all the movement makes a huge difference in how the fight goes, and it is different for everything you fight. (Oh, and there are no health bars on your target, so you don?t know how well the fight is going sometimes until it is over, unless you are watching all the blood on the ground.) I have a fairly high speed rating on my character, so I can often get through an entire fight with some of the slower creatures without getting hit once, and it really feels like I was in the fight, just like a good first person shooter.

    I will still go back to World of Warcraft someday, probably when the expansion comes out, but it may be a short lived return!

  4. The one thing that worries me a bit is that I *don’t* like FPS. I’ll still probably give it a shot, maybe the top-down view will work out better for me.

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