Friday, March 2, 2012

Neverwinter Nights Reviews ! (2)

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It's really just a matter of time before great things emerge from Neverwinter Nights' already huge player community. So even if you want nothing to do with the Aurora toolset or the DM client, at the very least, you'll still have access to the fruits of other people's labors. The game has been available for less than a week, and already a number of original modules are being hosted in the game's multiplayer lobby. File sizes are small, which means download times are minuscule, though we've consistently encountered lag issues when actually playing with others online. A lot of this depends on the host computer as well as on one's own Internet connection, but at any rate, we were never able to experience online gameplay as smooth as the single-player mode. It also bears mention that, for various reasons, multiplayer Neverwinter Nights is much better suited to being played with friends than with strangers. It's D&D, after all, and just as it wouldn't make much sense to invite a bunch of strangers over for a pen-and-paper D&D session, having a bunch of strangers in an online game of Neverwinter Nights also doesn't really work. But if you manage to get together and play with some friends, you'll likely have a very good time. You'll appreciate that the game has lots of role-playing provisions built into it, including all the sorts of "emote" animations (laughing, pointing, cheering, and so on) that you'd sooner find in an online-only game like EverQuest.

You can hire a henchman to do your bidding.

Neverwinter Nights isn't the first Dungeons & Dragons game for the computer to make use of the pen-and-paper game's 3rd Edition rules, but it's the first to implement them so well. The standard gameplay of Neverwinter Nights is roughly comparable with BioWare's previous role-playing games in the Baldur's Gate series in that the game runs in real time and is viewed from an isometric perspective. However, with Neverwinter Nights, BioWare has finally put to rest its long-lasting Infinity engine seen in those games, opting instead for a fully 3D engine that lets you zoom and rotate your view to your liking. It also allows for some detailed, well-animated characters and good-looking environments. The transition from Baldur's Gate-style 2D graphics to 3D graphics is mostly cosmetic, but the changes from 2nd Edition to 3rd Edition D&D have a significant impact on gameplay. Probably the best thing about 3rd Edition D&D is how much freedom it gives you in creating your character. In previous editions of D&D, if you wanted to be a paladin, you needed to play as a human character and roll up some extremely high stats--otherwise, that character class was unavailable. Now there are no inherent limitations on anything, and any race can be any class. Want to be a half-orc sorceress or a gnome monk? How about an elf barbarian? It's all possible, and playing the campaign of Neverwinter Nights will be quite different depending on which sort of character you create.
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Interestingly, unlike in most role-playing systems in which character classes become more specialized as they gain experience levels, under 3rd Edition rules, high-level characters can start to seem pretty similar. That's because character classes in 3rd Edition determine the sorts of special abilities that your character will start with, but most any character can gain these abilities later on. For example, a fighter starts with the ability to wear heavy armor and use shields. A wizard doesn't but eventually could. Yes, you can eventually have a wizard decked out in full plate armor and carrying a sword and shield. The heavy armor will negatively impact his or her spellcasting ability, but the choice is yours. You're also not stuck with the character class you initially select and can opt to gain a level in most any other character class whenever you've gained enough experience. Some penalties may apply, but if you want to make a dwarven druid bard or a half-elven ranger cleric, you can.

There are seemingly countless options available, and Dungeons & Dragons is certainly a complex system-- nevertheless, the game does a fantastic job of getting you started. A bunch of pregenerated characters are available from the get-go; or if you opt to make your own, you can click on a "recommended" button that will suggest what you should do next, every step of the way. This gives good advice on how you should apply your ability scores depending on your class, which starting spells and special feats your character should take, and so on. The campaign's prelude starts you off in an adventurers' academy where, in context, you'll learn how to control the game and learn about your character's primary skills, depending on which character class you chose. You can skip most of this tutorial if you don't want to deal with it, but it's a great way for new players to get into the game

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