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pic levels in Dungeons & Dragons are silly. Characters are so vastly powerful at level 20 that pushing it any farther is madness – delicious, overpowered madness. And yet, the crew at Obsidian Entertainment has created a campaign full of challenges worthy of a party of these über-heroes. Mask of the Betrayer is much more than merely a vehicle for creative abuse of D&D 3.5 edition rules, though. A deep and engaging story in the rich Forgotten Realms setting, interesting multifaceted NPCs to interact with, and a polished technical execution make this one of the best expansions to grace gaming in a long time.

Forget about the problems that the original NWN 2 shipped with. That game’s frustrating AI bugs, crappy interface design, and questionable performance have all been fixed in the year since its release. Mask of the Betrayer (and the latest patch for the base game as well) plays like NWN 2 always ought to have. The difference is massive.

Picking up where the official campaign left off, the hero finds him or herself alone in a barrow in distant Rashemen, shorn of companions. Immediately, a Red Wizard with a murky past shows up and kicks off the epic story. Just to put it into perspective, one of the first things you do is piss off an ancient bear god by beating down his spirit form – and not long after, you’ll find yourself raiding the vault of a dead death god. Exploring the high end of D&D lore has never been so entertaining. Equally as nice is the fact that resting and traveling are significantly less trivial in the expansion’s campaign.

Piles of new feats, spells, and classes will give even seasoned D&D vets plenty to explore, either in the official campaign or custom scenarios built by the community. Likewise, builders can benefit from the ever-improving toolset and (supposedly) fixed persistent-world implementation. All of the additions are integrated well into the existing content, and offer plenty of new abilities and character builds to explore. There are even decent prestige classes for arcane casters!

Mask of the Betrayer delivers on all fronts: tactical battles, exceptional story, and great characters. It’s truly remarkable how far NWN 2 has come. It’s not perfect, but as far as I’m concerned the smooth execution and excellent new content in this expansion make this the best electronic D&D experience since Baldur’s Gate II.

  

JOE JUBA   8.5
Any D&D player who has flipped through the Epic Level Handbook knows that some seriously awesome things start to happen to a character around level 20. It’s like puberty, but instead of turning into a gangly teen, you’re ascending to godhood. Mask of the Betrayer deftly harnesses this high-end content to give the player an array of intriguing challenges. Whether you prefer the straightforward style of fighter or the subtlety of a caster, you’ll appreciate the tweaks to interface that make it easier for you and your allies to execute appropriately epic attacks. Those adjustments, along with an excellent storyline involving the Red Wizards of Thay, make Mask of the Betrayer a rare expansion that actually surpasses the base game in terms of gameplay, implementation, and design.
9
CONCEPT:
Harness the power of epic levels to settle an argument between gods and mortals in the Forgotten Realms
GRAPHICS:
If your PC has the power to crank it, this is one fine-looking RPG
SOUND:
Lots of good voice acting enriches the story immensely
PLAYABILITY:
This interface is leagues better than what shipped with the vanilla NWN 2
ENTERTAINMENT:
The best PC RPG in years? If D&D; is your bag, yes
REPLAY:
High
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