Neverwinter Nights 2



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If you played any of the Baldur's Gate games, you probably got the feeling that the authors really loved the genre and put their hearts and souls into making a great story and a rich gaming experience. While NWN 1 didn't match this level of authorship, it was a playable game with some minor problems we hoped could be overcome in version 2. We had high hopes for NWN 2. Well, here's NWN 2, and we couldn't be more disappointed. On every front, it feels like the authors were just going through the motions, and ineptly at that.

The result is a game that feels like doing your homework instead of going on a high adventure. Add some of the worst voice acting in gaming history, and you've got a real stinker.

Plot: 3/10 The story starts out with some promise, then quickly becomes as dull as dishwater. The plot basically involves endless repeats of this: "We need help. Go and find (insert NPC name here). They're nearby in (insert area x here). You'll need to kill (insert interchangeable anonymous monsters here). Thank you. You're very kind." Yaaaaawwwwwn.

Character choices only influence the story in meaningless and superficial ways and the dialogue is so amateurish that you'll find yourself interrupting it with mouse clicks just so you don't have to listen to it. Pathetic attempts at internal intrigue within your party amount to "He likes me more, and your dress doesn't match your shoes anyway. WhatEVurrrrrr!"

Game environments: 3/10 In NWN 2, most towns and game areas are little more than a painting. You get the impression that, if you walked around the back of most buildings, you'd find that they were cardboard cut-outs about to fall over in the wind. The most interesting thing about the game environments are the painted textures. Try watching the paint on them dry for excitement. No one sweated the details here. There's little that's creative and none of the sense of "what's around the next corner and behind that secret door?" excitement you see in well designed RPGs. Just walk from one end of the trail to other and kill anything you meet along the way. Booooooooring.

Voice acting: 1/10 Imagine the cast rejects of your high school Christmas play doing voice overs for The Lord of the Rings and you get the picture. (The tiefling rogue in your party is particularly annoying.) Come on - hire some professionals! Remember the amazing voice of the villain in BG Shadows of Amn? I wonder what planet the authors of NWN 2 are living on – oh, Planet Beverly Hills 90210.

Game mechanics and interface: 3/10 The 3 points are for the fact that the interface doesn't completely break. Camera control is awful. Even in normal navigation you often find the camera in a spot that prevents you from seeing anything. Objects in the landscape frequently get between you and your character -- come on guys, objects blocking the camera should fade out!

Artificial Intelligence of the NPCs should be retitled Artificial Stupidity. The NPCs basically have two settings: "run like chicken with head cut off" or "stand like sheep and pick nose". In the first they are constantly running ahead of the group and charging forward into traps. In the second, they happily stand and watch enemies cleave them with big sharp things. Basic tactical commands are missing (e.g. "stay in formation", "stay behind me", "defend at this spot"). The game would also benefit from the ability to issue quick commands to the entire party.

All in all, the interface is clunky and is less able than interfaces in games more than a decade old.

Overall Recommendation: Do not buy. We could go on, because there are lots more complaints. But we'll cut to the best advice we can give: Save your money and replay Baldur's Gate and Fallout. They'll be more fun the second time through than NWN 2 is the first time through.

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