Neverwinter Nights 2 Review (PC)

A fantastic fantasy blend of old and new concepts makes Neverwinter Nights 2 a must buy.

Posted by Greg Atkinson on Thursday, November 02, 2006

Neverwinter Nights 2 (a.k.a. NWN2) is the one of the most grand, epic, and truly well adapted games to ever grace a monitor. The game is such a blend of old and new, almost as though Obsidian was blending right and wrong, only to deliver one of the purest and most wonderful experiences in gaming. NWN2 delivers an old style feel and the mechanics of Baldur's Gate 2, Icewind Dale 2, and even Fallout 2, because NWN2'sdevelopers have each of those gaming gems of RPG perfection on their stellar resumes..

The new graphics, which bring so much life and emotion into the game, are definitely something new age. Their crisp shadows and velvety textures make for a stimulating visual experience. From the moment the character creation screen comes up, it's obvious that the every person in this game was handcrafted. The environments are even better, however. They bring visceral details around every corner, making exploring the locations an interesting journey rather than a bland investigation of bare floors and walls. The lighting is so simple, and yet so stunning. The arcs of light and the flashes of Shields and Magic Missiles shine across rooms and caves with wonder and amazement close behind.

Dungeons & Dragons is one of the most commonly used backbones in games. It's provided a ruleset and a setting for so many great (and a fair share of poor) games and it continues to be very open to development. The 3.5 edition ruleset is in full swing in Neverwinter Nights 2, where critical hits can devastate your entire party. The any race, any class set-up is in place, and is very nice to see fully expanded with the half-races of Planetouched (Aasimar and Tieflings), not to mention the addition of sub-races into the mix. Now you can play as a Drow instead of a high elf, a Deurgar instead of a generic Dwarf, or a Stronghearted Halfling. These new options open not only changes in appearance and ability, but in plot as well. Fellow Elves treat Wood Elves very differently than they treat Sun Elves.

In a game that is the perfect evolutionary step between Neverwinter Nights and Baldur's Gate, there's little to complain about. Sure, the load times can get a little long (especially when saving), and there are some visual errors in the cut scenes, but when the game really sucks you in, none of that matters. The control scheme is definitely different, but not so much so that it gets in the way of playing. And it's not as streamlined and casual as the original Neverwinter Nights, but is that really a bad thing? Sure, the menus aren't quite as nice, and the text boxes might have even gone back a step. However, Neverwinter Nights 2 is becoming one of the new classics of the role-playing genre... a couple of problems that will probably be fixed in a patch before the month is out aren't grounds to punish the makers.

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Neverwinter Nights 2

  • GenreRPG
  • Release Date10/31/2006
  • PublisherAtari
  • DeveloperObsidian Entertainment
  • ESRBT - Teen