Review by Smashor

"A great expansion to a great game"

In this review I am also including the Trials of the Luremaster add on which is a part of HoW

You start in Lonelywood, 1 of the 10 towns of Icewind Dale which is the far northern part of the continent of Faerun in the D&D world Forgotten Realms. A barbarian shaman by the name of Hjollder informs you that the barbarians are planning for a war against the 10 towns to reclaim their ancestral land. Also, he informs you that the barbarian king Wylfdene, who has risen from the dead with the spirit of a great barbarian hero, now leads the combined forces of the tribes. Hjollder wants you to try and stop this war from happening because it will mean great losses for both sides.

With Trials of the Luremaster you can take a side trip to the Anauroch Desert to an abondoned castle where a great injustice has been committed by its former owner. Here you must put the spirits of the dead to rest by restoring their honor.

The gameplay in this game is great.
With different combinations of classes and the amount of characters you have in your party, there are many different ways to play this game.
Very easy to use, simple commands, but not so simple that you get bored.
This game has some very good items, many of them with percentage to use a special ability on a succesful hit. These special abilities range from a small amount of elemental damage to launching a magic spear straight through your enemies and whatever is behind them.
This game has a large variety spells. These include combat/defense enhancing spells, disabling spells, death spells, and damage spells.

The graphics are quite good.
The character models are great except that there is no difference between dwarves and gnomes, and the female dwarves and gnomes with the exception of the mage look exactly like female halflings. The spell graphics are great.

Great voice acting, most NPCs that have something important to say have full voice acting, not just the first few non-variable lines.
Sound effects are great, the spell incantation voices do get repetitive after a while especially when casting a lot of healing spells. The enemies dying grunts are some of the funniest noises in the game from orc's grunts to the humorous burp-like noise from a shadow dying.
The music from the pre-expansion game won lots of awards and some of it is used here. It does have some new tracks which are also very good.

Assuming you can find people to play multiplayer with, it is very fun, especially if you have a full game with everyone controlling a single character. Of course you'll run into the usual jerks of online gaming such as hackers, cheaters, people that only want to kill everyone in town (rendering you unable to continue the game), and people that only want to duel.

Many different ways to play this game, different classes, random items, and the amount of party members you take.

All in all a great expansion even better with the Trials of the Luremaster add on.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 06/13/02, Updated 06/13/02

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