Neverwinter Nights Review

Article Index

Eschalon: Book II

Publisher:Atari
Developer:BioWare Corp.
Release Date:2002-06-18
Genre:
  • Role-Playing
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • Isometric
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay
Neverwinter Nights was easily one of the most highly anticipated games of last year. It had the powerful backing of BioWare (who was responsible for the best-selling Baldur's Gate series), as well as the publicity of every major gaming resource. It boasted the usage of the 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons ruleset, a strong 3D graphics engine, and unprecedented online play with an embedded Dungeon Master Client. The true question, though, is did it really deliver everything that was expected?

NWN is the first game that utilizes BioWare's new Aurora engine. It did have its share of issues and complaints, but that is to be expected with all new engines. When I initially loaded up the game, though, I was let down relatively quickly. I was expecting the rich, textured details, like those of the previous Infinity engine. While the color and lighting effects are well done, it still seems somewhat pale in comparison to other games released around the same time. Granted, the game was in development for five years, which does give it a good reason to have somewhat outdated graphics. The camera itself has three options: Chase, Directional, and Top-down. After experimenting with each, the one that hindered the game play the least turned out to be the top down view. However, by choosing this option, I felt the detail that was present in the characters and environment in the other two options was then almost unnoticeable. Even though the engine seems outdated, NWN is not without its graphical benefits. As I had said earlier, the lighting and other special effects are some of the most impressive I've seen in a game to date. No matter what type of environment the character is in, the lighting is appropriate, and sets the atmosphere nicely.

As always, BioWare did an outstanding job on the sound. The opening score for both the cinematic and game itself sets the mood and compliments the story. Once in the game, the environmental sounds are clear and add an extra bit of depth to the game. During the introduction chapter, it is clear by the ambient noises and music that there is a sense of urgency. Both facets of the sound adjust to the situation currently being faced, and imply the correct mood - something that is very lacking in games these days. Also, as is with all of BioWare's previous games, the voice acting is very impressive. For every bit of text that is spoken, it only does more to draw the player into the story. From the simple voices of random NPCs, to that of a stalwart Paladin, each voice suits the speaker which greatly enhances the story-telling aspect of the game.

The gameplay in Neverwinter Nights is simple to get into. Upon initially starting the game, you will move through a detailed (but swift) tutorial brought to you through the guise of trainers at an academy. The movement is very much like that of Baldur's Gate - you point and click to where you wish to go. From time to time, the limited camera angles may cause some navigation trouble, but nothing too major. The integrated combat system is rather impressive, with the 3rd edition D&D ruleset making for some interesting combat options. The number of attacks is based on combat rounds, making it a step up from the Diablo-esque hack and slash combat system. The animations for combat are also pleasing to the eye. During a battle, your character will take a new stance, and will move around the enemy, occasionally dodging an attack and making an attack of his or her own. This alone makes the combat more detailed and visually appealing than that of other CRPGs.
Necromunda: Underhive Wars - Game Modes Overview
Necromunda: Underhive Wars - Game Modes Overview

With Rogue Factor and Focus Home Interactive’s tactical RPG Necromunda: Underhive Wars


Tainted Grail Early Access Update - Plans for the Future
Tainted Grail Early Access Update - Plans for the Future

The latest early access update for Awaken Realms Digital’s Arthurian RPG Tainted


Weird West - Developer-Narrated Gameplay
Weird West - Developer-Narrated Gameplay

Raphael Colantonio, the creative director and president over at WolfEye Studios, presented


Torchlight III Early Access Update - Endgame Reveal, Relic Update and More
Torchlight III Early Access Update - Endgame Reveal, Relic Update and More

Following a month or so in early access, Echtra Games’ hack ‘n’


Fallout 76 Update - Ammo Converter, New Events and More
Fallout 76 Update - Ammo Converter, New Events and More

The latest development update for Bethesda’s multiplayer survival RPG Fallout 76 lists


The Elder Scrolls Online - Stonethorn DLC and Update 27 Preview
The Elder Scrolls Online - Stonethorn DLC and Update 27 Preview

The next chapter of The Elder Scrolls Online’s ongoing Dark Heart of


Vagrus: The Riven Realms Free Prologue Live, Early Access Soon
Vagrus: The Riven Realms Free Prologue Live, Early Access Soon

Vagrus: The Riven Realms, Lost Pilgrims Studio’s turn-based post-apocalyptic fantasy RPG, will


Wasteland 3 - Beta Improvements, Mac & Linux Delay
Wasteland 3 - Beta Improvements, Mac & Linux Delay

The latest Fig update for inXile Entertainment’s post-apocalyptic RPG Wasteland 3 lets


Gamedec “Know Your Equipment” Video
Gamedec “Know Your Equipment” Video

Marcin Przybyłek, the author of the Gamedec series that Anshar Studios is


World of Warcraft: Shadowlands Previews and Interview
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands Previews and Interview

Following the recent development update for World of Warcraft’s upcoming Shadowlands expansion,


New World Delayed to Spring 2021
New World Delayed to Spring 2021

Amazon Game Studios’ conquistador-themed MMORPG New World was set to go live


Battle Brothers Developer Blog #143 - Nomads
Battle Brothers Developer Blog #143 - Nomads

The southern regions of the upcoming Blazing Deserts expansion for Overhype Studios’


Brian Fargo and Feargus Urquhart on Working for Microsoft
Brian Fargo and Feargus Urquhart on Working for Microsoft

Over the last couple of days, GamesIndustry.biz published a series of articles


Baldur’s Gate III Video Interview
Baldur’s Gate III Video Interview

Not so long ago, we had an opportunity to check out a


Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales Available on iOS
Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales Available on iOS

Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales, CD Projekt’s single-player RPG with a combat system