Game: Neverwinter Nights
Release Year: 2002
Stephen's Rating: 6/10
Neverwinter Nights was BioWare's first foray into 3D role playing games and is the next game set in the D&D world of Faerun after the Icewind Dale series.
The city of Neverwinter has fallen to a plague. The city is in turmoil. You play the role of a new recruit to the city watch who is sent by Lady Aribeth to collect reagents for a cure to the plague. Upon completing the cure, Desthar's minions storm the castle and he steals the cure. Desthar is sentenced to death and Aribeth's lover Fenthick is sentenced to hang, despite knowing nothing about Desthar's treachery.
The player then embarks on a quest to track down the cult who is spreading the Wailing Death plague. The journey takes them to Luskan, and eventually into the Source Stone pocket world to battle Morag. Depending on how the player handles the game, Aribeth may or may not join the cult and turn against you (becoming a fallen paladin).
Neverwinter Nights is a top down third person role playing game. The game world roughly follows the mechanics introduced in Icewind Dale including feats and skills. The character races and classes are based on the D&D world.
The player travels the world completing quests, fighting enemies, gaining levels and choosing skills and feats depending on their character class. The original story is broken into four chapters.
The game was groundbreaking in terms of putting an RPG in a 3D world. I found it quite jarring compared to the beauty of the Baldur's Gate series, but it had to start somewhere.
The game hung together pretty well when you consider the sum of its parts. It was satisfying to play, especially in the latter stages of the game.
I found the camera quite irritating at times, and had to fiddle with the settings a lot before I found a mode I liked.
The first (and quite large) section of the game is in the city of Neverwinter. This whole part of the game is arduous and painful. The first time I tackled this game I actually gave up because it was so boring. It involves completing some predictable quest in each of the four quarters of the city. The city itself is bleak and uninteresting, and the characters predictable and cliche. The game picked up a lot after this area but in terms of capturing the audience early on, this game failed miserably.
Unusually this game is actually superceded by its expansion packs. Each of them tell a better story and are more enjoyable to play than the original game.
Not unusual for an RPG, the story is pretty predictable and cliche. The characters and their dialogue can be quite painful to endure.
I had a friend who created his own level, and had his character battle a character he'd created in a previous BioWare game duel to the death.