Neverwinter Nights 2

It has been some years already since Neverwinter Nights has been released, it was one of the most successful roleplaying game since Baldur's Gate and that's not a surprise when we notice that most of the team working on Baldur's Gate actually worked on Neverwinter Nights. But thing is, it was some years ago, and with its success, it had to get a sequel...And on the 3rd of November this year, it happened...

Written by Wolfffii

As soon as Neverwinter Nights 2 was released, the games websites tried it, testing it on every aspects. And they all came to an agreement: It's really close to Baldur's Gate 2.

Indeed, Neverwinter Nights 2 has been developed by some members of the team who already worked on the Baldur's Gate series, as its prequel. But somehow, it became something better than the prequel.

So, let's see how good it really is!

When the game is first launched, we clearly see what it is. The same launching menu as Neverwinter Nights, except for the music which change. Not really impressed by this, one thing is obvious, I really wanted to click on the "Play" button! And so I did.

The game launches, and the studios names appear, consecutively. Cinematics to show it, etc. But then, the real cinematic begins. A wizard, wielding a shining sword stands in front of an armored enemy, they're apparently fighting. The night is dark, only the moon shines in the sky, they battle together, trying to get advantage of the other's attacks. They finally unleash a blow together, parrying it with their respective weapons. Until the wizard's sword explode against the armored being's powerful weapon...And there it is: Neverwinter Nights 2 begins.

Neverwinter Nights 2 uses the Dungeon and Dragons 3.5 rules, which means most of the classes gets improved, and some "bad things" from the third edition disappears. It's more well done than "The Temple of the Elemental Evil". It means that the character creation gets some of these changes, one of the good things is that we get to choose a character background and a divinity. Therefore, Druids and Rangers, for exemple, can get different spells if they select a divinity that is really created for them. The background itself is not really important for the story of the game, however it gives the character some bonuses that could be interesting for some classes if they want to get extra bonuses in exchange of maluses. You have the possibility to avoid selecting one should you not want any of them (it includes the most common ones: Bully, tales teller, wandering boy/girl, etc...).

As soon as you created your character, you get into the game. It's more some kind of tutorial than the actual game, but it's really interesting to do it to get more depth in the story.

Talking about the story, you actually begin in a small village within the Mere of Dead Men, not really well known part of Faerun, but really interesting. As in Neverwinter Nights, the story takes part in "The coast of the Swords", which means you get to hear from Luskan, Neverwinter, Port Llast, etc.

The interface of the game is really close to what you could have in Baldur's Gate, it's totally different from Neverwinter Nights apart from some of its elements. However, the interface uses an XML system, which means every user is able to do whatever they want with it, they can add things (user created), move the windows around, remove them, etc. It's up to the player.

Getting used to the interface is really easy, even without doing the tutorial. It is totally user friendly.

Playing the game and its story means you will have to get henchmen with you (or not, should you be a lone wolf type of player), and the henchmen system is similar to the "Knights of the Old Republic" one, as the game is developed by Obsidian/Bioware. They have a personality of their own, and depending on how you behave in the game, they'll tend to like you more, or less. And it counts for every actions you do, side quests, or main quest, even when you talk to them! So you better be careful in your actions if you want them to love you. Having henchmen is also a very good way to have fun during the story, by their reactions, etc. In the first place, you only have the possibility to get 3 henchmen with you (plus pets), somewhere further in the game you will be able to have 4.

All of this is making Neverwinter Nights 2 a good game to have if you like Roleplaying Games, however it also has some bad points.

First of all, the story of the game. Even though it's a very interesting one, it also is very linear. You will always have some places to go to, and these places have specifically been created for the story. You do not have extra places to go to, for exploring purposes or curiosity. You often get yourself thinking: "Right, I got this quest to go to this forest. There I go." and that's it, you won't think: "Yes, but there's also another part of the forest I could visit, maybe there is something there!", but in a way, the world is actually pretty big, you can't explore it by yourself if you do not have someone marking your map with a new zone, that's one of the worse part.

The story is really impressive until 3/4 of it, that's the point where you actually make your own deductions and find the grand finale all alone. But the thing is, even though you think you found out what is going to happen, you get a surprise...

All in all, you get to do a lot of side quests, and discover a lot of places, even though they are meant to be discovered for something.

Graphically, the game looks beautiful, it's using a similar (if not the same) engine to the Everquest 2 one, and it well used for it. Most of the people won't like the look of the elves though..I did, heh.

I wish I could tell you my favorite part of all this, but I would be spoiling the game!

On a music side, they're really well done. The main theme is somehow impressive, with the vocals work. Jeremy Soule didn't work on this title, he said he was not the guy for Sequels...Too bad, it would have given the game even more depth. But he was quite busy the past years so I believe it's not about it, but time. However, the musicians who did the work did quite well, some of the old music of Neverwinter Nights (the ones owned by Bioware) is being used quite well, but it surprises to hear them in a sequel. Overall, the music gives some depth to the game, but it isn't as powerful as the first part.

Last but not the least, the packaging of the game has really been well done, I got myself a collectors copy of the game, looking like a huge book, with a figurine inside, an artbook, a making of dvd, a little ring, and some ingame pregenerated characters with a special blessing (of Waukeen)!

Neverwinter Nights 2 is a really good game, but it could have been better with a little more thinking.

RR Score: 16/20
Published: January 3, 2007
Reviewer: Wolffii
Produced by: Atari
Webpage: Official webpage
Buy game: Windows XP (DVD)
Windows XP (Limited Edition)

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