Neverwinter Nights: Pirates of the Sword Coast Review

Eschalon: Book II

Publisher:BioWare Corp.
Developer:BioWare Corp.
Release Date:2009-06-06
Genre:
  • Role-Playing
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • Isometric,Third-Person
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay
Late last year, BioWare released three (premium) modules for Neverwinter Nights. The three modules -- Kingmaker, ShadowGuard, and Witch's Wake -- were short, but they were also polished and creative and inexpensive to purchase, and so they were worthwhile to play. Now BioWare is back with a new premium module, Pirates of the Sword Coast. This new module is both longer and more expensive than the others, but is it more fun to play? Keep reading to find out.

In Pirates of the Sword Coast, you start out as a passenger on a... well, it's not exactly a pirate ship, but then it doesn't seem to be a completely honest merchant ship, either (think of it as the Serenity from (Firefly)). You somehow got on board the ship without paying a fee, and that means you have to do the occasional odd job for the captain. As the game opens up, you're tasked with getting a mage and his mysterious statue on board the ship. Of course, that's easier said than done. The mysterious statue turns out to be a mysterious, evil statue, and just touching it is enough to freak some people out.

But you persevere, only to learn that a cataclysmic event is fast approaching, and that the statue is the key. The majority of the module then deals with you trying to stop the event, and along the way you'll survive a shipwreck, dig for buried treasure, deal with a pesky parrot, and even put together a crew so you can captain your own ship. That is, Pirates of the Sword Coast immerses itself in every pirate cliché known to man, but it at least tries to have fun with the material, such as when you visit a pirate's den and find that a man has been thrown in jail for not being (piratey) enough.

Pirates of the Sword Coast is a technically superb module. You won't just talk to people and kill monsters. You'll have to solve puzzles, you'll have to collect materials so you can build things, and you'll have to follow maps so you can dig up buried treasures (the maps in particular impressed me). Plus, you'll be given lots of options for how to complete quests (you'll almost always find a diplomatic way to get things done to go along with the violent way), and some of the choices you'll make will affect what you'll see in the module and what ending you'll receive when you're finished.

All of that sounds great, and so you might be wondering why I'm giving the module a below-average score. The reason is that despite all of the work that obviously went into it, I didn't find it to be all that much fun to play. The conversations are lifeless, the humor often falls flat, and there's almost no balance to the combat (what little there is). After a very tough initial battle, my fighter/thief cruised through everything else, and I never had to use a potion after the first act.

And so, despite there being a lot of re-playability built into the module, I pretty much have no desire to spend another ten hours slogging through it to see what changes. Kingmaker is still the best of the premium modules, and it's the only one I'd recommend to all fans of Neverwinter Nights. Pirates of the Sword Coast is more of an example of what cool things you can do with the Aurora toolkit, and I think it'll appeal more to fans of the toolkit than to fans of the game.
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