Currently Playing: Neverwinter Nights (PC)

Neverwinter Nights have been so much awaited for a very long time now. I immediately got it as soon as I saw the game. I’m sorry if it took me a while to get this review going, but the game is very addicting. I had to pry myself from the game just to write this review.

Basically, in history the best RPG game to be made in the PC is Baldur’s Gate since it did capture the true D&D feeling and atmosphere and it always gets you the feeling of the pen and paper classic RPG. This game is the second game that used the third edition rules of Dungeons and Dragons. The first game was Pool of Radiance. I don’t know what the rules mean, but I think it helped this game a lot. Now it seems more simplified and easier to play than previous D&D related games.

I guess this is what made the game so appealing from the start. The game is so simplified, yet it still has this deep immersive feeling that has been felt through the Baldur’s Gate games. It can appeal the new and old gamers.

Well, we start it off with graphics. I wasn’t really amazing when I saw it, it was kind of a let down, since I expected a lot, but this is only because your character starts within a city. This makes going around a bit boring since everything is blocky it doesn’t scream “LOOK AT ME” at any rate. You’ll find Dungeon Siege more attractive at the start, but later on when you get out the main city proper you’ll find that this is better than the previous game mentioned. Obviously that the texture detail is much higher and better which in later levels you will appreciate very much. This is not BioWare’s first 3D game; there was another game before this, which was abandoned early on. The second game was Dark Alliance which was developed for PS2 and XBOX. I haven’t really seen Dark Alliance so it’s hard to judge it from that. But what I can say here, the game is visually well done. The lighting effects are great which gives a more realistic feel. There is also some use of pixel-shaders (usually used on realistic distorted reflections like water) but here it’s just used as a water effect with no true reflections. Sometimes though the framerate is sluggish, it seems that it happens randomly or maybe loading some stuff that I can’t see.

The 3D animation of the characters we’re created really carefully, they do try to hit accurately, but misses sometimes (graphically) but this is a better representation than Baldur’s Gate. You can actually see things hit or miss or hitting a shield or another weapon since sparks fly. Sometimes there are actual hits graphically but the points are missed on the status screen. But that the animation is just a representation and a good one that is. I love watching the fights especially when you already have an entire party to go on to your quests.

One last thing about the graphics is that the treasures show up slowly on screen. Like when you break open a chest it takes a few seconds before the items fade in… slowly.

The game controls are great, it won’t take you time to learn everything, and actually it’s as simple as Diablo since you don’t really depend on the keyboard but it still an option to use. During the tutorial they will tell you how to use both controls. The nice thing here is there are 3 different ways to play the game, which really depends on how you try to view the game. The first type is playing in isometric view yet with full control with the camera view at any time. The second type is that the camera follows the main character where you click the next move (like a combination of the first and third type). The third type is in third person view like Tomb Raider. My favorite type was playing the game with the first type since it was more similar to Diablo and Baldur’s Gate. All of them feel different, but the game itself doesn’t change a bit.

You’ll notice the detail of the character levels and weapons are very intricate and details which is pretty much expected from an AD&D game. Though with so much variety, there are also a lot of similar items here and there. But then again with similar types you can also choose the best look that you can find that will fit you. Careful though that there are weapons that are designed specifically for a different race. You might not be able to use some of the items that you encounter, but there are too much items that you’ll find on the way that you’ll have trouble handling all of it.

The henchmen are great but it gives too much limitation. Here it seems more like playing Diablo than Baldur’s Gate since you can’t give or get help in carrying items. So there is very little control over them. You can talk to them which give them a little personality and an adventure to boot. I like that they are strong and can be relied on most of the time. They are the ones usually the first to attack the enemies which makes my gaming a little easier. You can also command them to position themselves in a better spot or use a long range or close combat weapon. Well, I like them since it feels like they have more of their own personality now than it was with Baldur’s Gate but I feel bad that I can’t do more, like share my weapons or give him some that I’ve found that might help our quest.

There are so many things that can be done in the game, so many quests that will keep you playing for hours end. There are various types of things you can do but, some missions are short and some are long and hard. When you talk to some of the in-game NPC’s you’ll be asked if you want to do a mission or not. Accepting a mission will add a quest on your mission list. What I like about the quest list is that it keeps it organized. There is a section for the unfinished, finished and a little notepad. It makes it easier to do what you have to do. Another thing is that it’s easy to know what your priority is. But most of the time it is very satisfying especially when you see your lists of quest adding to the completed list.

When your character rests, it’s not like the usual RPG when you rest it takes days. Here your character just rests a little while and then you’re ok. This is much more appealing since you don’t have to be cautious when you need some little regeneration. Playing makes it easier now because of this.

The Tool set is a great tool, I played around with the engine and really had fun playing with it. It’s the easiest editing tool that I’ve used in years. A map wizard is so easy to use that you can make several maps in minutes, if you really want good detail it will take longer.

This is a great game for people who are curious about playing RPG games seriously, but if you still want a fast paced game like Diablo or Dungeon Siege you should look somewhere else. This is for people who has a lot of patience and who likes all the intricacies of details in a game. Personally, I highly recommend it.

Requirements:
Windows XP/ME/2000/98/95 (Windows NT not supported)
450 MHz processor
128 MB RAM
8x CD/DVD-ROM drive
1.2 GB free hard disk space plus space for saved games, Windows swapfile, and DirectX 8.0
16 MB TNT2 class OpenGL
DirectX 8.0 compatible sound card
Keyboard
Mouse

Tested on:
Windows XP
AMD Athlon XP 2000+ 1.667 GHz
512 Mb PC2100
40x CD-RW
GeForce 4 Ti4200
SoundBlaster Live!
A4 Optical Mouse

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