Neverwinter Nights 2 - game review

Date: 2006-12-15 11:26:00
The review was based on the PC version.

Neverwinter Nights was once somewhat controversial. According to some, it is probably still so. After all, what does it look like when a company known for one of the best cRPG in the history of the genre (let's skip the counting) publishes a creation ideologically close to shallow, straight-line hack'n'slash? Fortunately, the truth was not that cruel, because it was not the annoying single-player campaign that played the first fiddle in NWN - this game was played by an extensive mission editor. It was he, with the support of a huge community of interested players, who had to overcome the border between computer and paper roleplays. Let us leave for another occasion to discuss how successful it was in this matter - a small reminder was necessary, however, due to the fact that the 2002 sequel discussed today adopts completely different assumptions than its predecessor. In many ways, it is closer to the legendary Baldur's Gate , in the opinion of many an RPG virtually flawless. If that alone isn't enough to get you interested in Neverwinter Nights 2 , then sit around and listen to a ballad about a knight, always at night, never in winter. Khe, khem.

The beginning of the game does not herald a story that is neither particularly multi-layered nor epic in terms of scale. We basically start by observing one cliche after another. The main character lives in a small village in the middle of nowhere, raised by his adoptive father, the elf Daeghun. He does not know anything about his roots, he only realizes that his parents had some connection with the battle that was fought in the surrounding lands several years ago. Ok. You won't guess what happens next - one day the town is attacked by unknown forces that are apparently looking for some magical artifact here. Okay, you can laugh now. But fortunately, not too long, because the banal beginning quickly turns into an intrigue full of unusual twists and ideas that simply must be liked by a fan of light fantasy. A simple example: in the first hours of the game, we will meet several completely different, different villains, each of whom could be our main nemesis in the game world. And which of them will take the honorable chair of the troublemaker? Including a joke that for a very long time we have no idea. You can pick on that the story unfolds its bindings a bit too sluggishly, that it turns into petty ones, but hey, without a high row of whining please.

The single player campaign is a good 40 hours of gameplay. Yes, there is no distortion here - the plot is really monstrously long and in general comparing it to the main competitor (affectionately called Obliwionek) seems out of place. And we can find here a whole lot of smaller and larger motifs that will be tickled by RPG enthusiasts by the disappearing honey receptors. Take a team like this, for example. In the first part of NWN, this whole aspect of the game was made shallow to the security guards hired in the inn - and this time we will gather a team of jerks almost as colorful as it was in BG2 ( Torment is rather out of reach here). And so what if the creations of the characters are not particularly original and that such a dwarf is the realization of all fantasy stereotypes from Gimli to Korgan. The entire cast is just likeable.

The proportions between combat and conversation are very balanced here, and it is highly appreciated that players are able to solve conflicts in completely different ways. Sometimes it grows to sizes that are rare in games, such as avoiding a boss fight (!) By cleverly using your verbal skills. Additionally, all roads to success are usually rewarded with equal numbers of experience points, so the only differences are when it comes to the equipment you acquire (it's hard to take the equipment from someone with whom you managed to get along, heh). It is all very satisfying. Of course, there are situations in which you cannot do without the crossing of the blades - however, it is worth noting that all the dungeons in the game are rather small and therefore not monotonous. This does not mean that NWN2 is lacking in content, it is simply "a lot short" instead of "a little long". And everything indicates that it was done right.

As everyone probably knows, the game mechanics is based on the D&D 3.5 system. The player can create his character as a representative of one of the 16 times and 12 classes (later, there are also prestigious classes, in order to take them, we have to meet certain requirements for skills and statistics). Although creating a hero from the purely visual side can be accused of being quite limited, the substantive layer of creation is even overwhelming with the multitude of available solutions. Fans of tearing in tables will be delighted, and laymen will always be able to do even a good recommendation option, which will make it easier for them to promote heroes.

At a given moment, we directly control one member of the team (with the mouse or WSAD keys), while the rest of the NPCs can be set in one of several available AI modes - from standing still and waiting until we manually change them, to a very detailed specification of the mode of action (will give determine, for example, whether sorcerers are to use lower-level spells in combat, or to draw the heaviest artillery right away). Of course, we have a dynamic pause, as is customary, bound under the Space.

Erpegs by Bioware have always been characterized by excellent, high-budget Polonizations, still unsurpassed in many respects today. NWN2 maintains this tradition and the version of the game sold in Poland writes and talks in our way. As usual in this type of event, many well-known names were invited to cooperation, most of which have already given their timbre in other games. So do we have a complete recovery? Well, this project is unlikely to fight the giants, as the number of mishaps can be a bit irritating - and while the text side by all means sticks together, the audio layer is riddled with more or less glaring bugs. Here the read text does not agree with the written one, here someone confuses the variation of a term, here the recording is missing at all. It's all strange, which is a pity, because the overall very positive impression from the Polish version fades a bit as a result. Fortunately, the old, proven voices still have power (K. Kowalewski as Aldanon is really the highlight of the whole location) and make a smile even in slightly controversial cases (W. Zborowski as a dwarf? Not enough sloppy voice in his voice). Knowing the English version fairly well, it can be said that the Poles take up the fight with the original cast - perfect as nowhere - and come out of this clash unscathed. And, as always in such cases, it is difficult not to add a plus from the office for the very idea.