Review by Sonic_Mojo
With a graphics upgrade and a system downgrade NWN2 fails to deliver.
I am trying hard, very hard to love this game, but playing it for a few days now I have been forced to have some rather objectionable opinions on it. Mind you, this is what I personally feel and I know many of you will share the same objections, but for those who disagree, thats your problem, not mine. Anyway here we go.
(Game is played on an Athalon 3700 with 2 GB of ram and an NVIDIA Geforce 7800GT)
Graphics - 6: This game takes a ridiculous amount of horse power to make it look pretty, and I'm basing the graphics on what it looks like on the maximum settings on my computer. Due to performance issues though I'm forced to shut off all shadows and run the game in a lower resolution then I would like. Before I rant on how Oblivion looks nicer, I know this game has a higher polygon/object count, but that still doesn't make up for the performance issues. And whats especially irritating is just how mundane the models look. No passion or flair in their design. God I love the spells though, they look so good and are so well done. If as much emphasis was put on everything else as it were on pretty lights and having things die feel so satisfying, I would give graphics a much higher review.
Sound - 6: I am sincerely and truly disappointed in the fact that they are reusing so many sounds from the previous games. I have to admit voice acting is top notch for the new stuff, but the fact that they re-used most of the voices and music from the first game leaves much to be desired. I would rate this higher if I had never played Neverwinter Nights 1, but I find the lack of originality sincerely disappointing.
Interface - 4: Radial Menu, gone. Variable item size in inventory, gone. Clean shortcut interface at the efficient quick slot menu, gone. I don't know about the rest of you, but I thought that the radial menu was wonderful, offering you a plethora of options right at your fingertips. The new right-click box system is a bit of a disappointment, though its not that bad. Managing inventory is a horrible chore now, as seeing items like armor, potions, weapons, and keys in variable sizes made them easily identifiable, but instead now they're all squished up into little boxes, making it a chore like World of Warcraft. NWN1/Diablo 2's item systems made things a lot nicer and cleaner (though Diablo 2 was very limited I have to admit.), And the quick-slot has been replaced with a new one, smaller icon sizes, making things difficult to distinguish at times. I liked being able to access extra menus with shift and control. The only thing I can really give a thumbs up to is the insta-spellbook button which makes up for things. Speaking of spell books and spells, I feel that the full-color spells don't look very well compared to the sleek NWN1 spell and ability buttons. Clicking on people is also a lot harder and the camera makes things difficult at times as well from what I found. NWN1 might have looked horrible, but its interface made things pretty easy to do, I'm really intimidated to even consider starting to play online with the way things are going since I can't pause the game whenever I like.
Gameplay - 6: Its fun enough. The game in general holds my attention and I feel that it does have its good aspects. Character interactions among each other in a 4 person party can be fun and interesting and adds to the old BG2 feeling that many of us missed, and its definitely a step up from NWN1's henchman system, but still a step down from the magic Baldur's Gate 2 had. Party members run out of things to say and things tend to get stale and you just tend to have some of them around for gameplay reasons more than wanting to have them around for what their character is and represents. Battles can be fun though. Interface is a variable in my review for gameplay, as a good interface makes a game fun. The interface can make this game too frustrating at times for myself and I am sure many of you.
Longevity - 9: This is what I think this game would deserve, though I can't quite put it as a guarantee yet. The toolset has a lot of potential but still has many irritating quirks, and worlds will take much longer to make. Graphical issues and system requirements will also hamper a lot of people from being able to play online. Still though, I think if the online element does take off, and when good modules will be eventually created, we will see NWN2 at its best.
I want to give this game a higher review, but as how I see it, interface changes hamper gameplay considerably, recycled sounds from the first NWN1 show a lot of laziness from Obsidian, and I personally feel that this game was either rushed, or has a lot of misdirection in its development. Other than the graphics and sounds, it tossed away the good aspects of the first game that involved gameplay, and added its own confusing, difficult to use interface which really made things frustrating. I wish I could love this game more, as it pained me to write this.
Rating: 3.0 - Fair
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