Neverwinter Nights Cover Art
by Azoloth in
Classic Gamer Corner Review

Jump into Neverwinter Nights and save the city of Neverwinter from forces that seek its destruction, or jump ahead to the expansions in which you must follow a quest to save the world from an artifact of power sought by the forces of evil. Neverwinter Nights is one of the best computer adaptations of tabletop Dungeons and Dragons rules. With player created modules allowing nearly unlimited replay value. I highly recommend this game for both classic game lovers and tabletop RPG enthusiasts alike.

This game is number 2 in my Top 10 Favorite Games List and number 9 in my Top 10 Favorite Game Soundtrack List.

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Neverwinter Nights Cover Art

Neverwinter Nights Rating 4.8

I can’t even remember when I first picked up Neverwinter Nights. However, I remember being entranced as I ran through the many story lines and quests it provided. When they released the expansions for Hordes of the Underdark  and and Shadows of Undrentide I fell even more in love with the game. Those stories to me were, in my opinion, better than the original story the game shipped with. I have spent countless hours not only playing the game, but also in exploring player made modules to expand the adventures my hero went on. Finally I had, in my mind, the perfect setup for this epic game.

I now get most of my modules from The Neverwinter Vault as my previous favorite site The Sorcerers Palace I think it was is no defunct. Maybe in a future blog post I will post my favorite modules with links to downloads for them. I may even be included to share the story line I built up to follow my characters journey.

Game Play 5.0

The game play is fantastic. If I was not sticking to a 0-5 rating scheme I would rate it much higher. The mechanics for the game all feel very epic. You explore the world, talk to NPC’s, get questions, and kill monsters. What more could any D&D fan want? Puzzles maybe? Oh we have puzzles. Some of the puzzles in the game are very easy to solve, while others are more difficult. In fact in one area of the game you have to answer logic riddles and based on how well you do determines how much XP you get.

The expansions added many new features and options for those creating modules. The Module system the game includes alone would make it an easy 5 rating. For every hour I have spent in the core adventures that ship with the product, I have likely spent 10 in modules created by other players. I believe that Neverwinter Night has probably the single most skilled group of module creators imaginable. While the game is so old many of them have moved on to newer games such as Dragon Age and Skyrim, some dedicated few still create modules for Neverwinter Nights.

One of the best parts of the game is the fact that you can create modules for your friends and have them jump in and play through the module. I have not done this myself so I cannot speak to how powerful the system is. I am unsure if like Vampire the Masquerade it would allow you to DM from behind the scenes, or if you can only take part as a player. I will try to find out and update this review in the future.

Story 5.0

I would also grant the story a higher rating than 5 if I could. The reason is that the story provided is not all you are limited too. You can find modules to suit almost any need, and if you cannot find what you want you can make your own.

I was not that big of a fan of the original story that takes place in the city of Neverwinter. However, once past Neverwinter I felt it seriously picked up in pace.

When the first expansion came out many said it was not a full expansion, just a way to showcase the new tools the module creation engine offered. I disagree, I found the story lively and engaging. It quickly became a favorite over the original campaign.

The third installment was the best in my opinion. I am a huge R.A. Salvatore fan, and especially loved his world built around Drizzt. I have long been a D&D fan as well and have explored under waterdeep many times in video games such as Eye of the Beholder and in tabletop games. So the chance to enter undermountain and travel all the way down to face Drow Elves in the Underdark was very thrilling indeed.

I love that they left the end of the second story and the beginning of the third disconnected. This allowed players to create modules, and allowed me in turn to select my favorite module to fill in the gap in time between the two stories.

I see only one downside to the story in the games. The first story does not connect directly to the second and third. Sure you can bring a character from the first to the second, however, it does not fit the story line in the third. The first and second story lines are suppose to happen around the same time. Then the third follows up on the second, however, you meet many of the characters from the first. You get to tie up those loose ends and if you try to play your character from 1 here you will end up feeling out of place. Characters who should have known you don’t. I wish they had made it so you could tie the various games together better. However, the way they did it is better than nothing.

Neverwinter Nights Dialog

Visuals 4.0

“The graphics  haven’t aged as well as other games. The characters look clunky. However, the spell effects and dungeons still look as awesome as ever. If it were not for how bad the character models look I would have given the game a 5 here easily. That said the blocky look of the character models does not take away from how fun the game is.

When they released Neverwinter Nights 2 I did not feel that the graphics were better. In fact they seem to almost replicate the abomination that is the new Secret of Mana remake if I recall correctly. In fact the first improvements I think happened that I viewed as improvements in RPG’s was when Dargon Age came out. Now I know many of you can probably list a slew of games between the two that had better graphics. I don’t play many new games so I tend to miss a lot. I only play a new game if it fits one of the categories of games I love. Not all RPG’s do that even.

I will say one of the problems with the visual that made me mark it down to a 4 could have been the 3D implementation. Instead of a 2.5D world like other classics such as Icewind Dale and Baldur’s Gate, this game allows you to pan and zoom around in 3D.

Early 3D was always iffy, so I can’t blame the game that much. I love the game despite how clunky my character looks when zoomed in.

 

Audio 5.0

I have played other games that could have become favorites, however, their music and sounds were horrible. I feel for any game to become a timeless classic they have to get the sounds right. It is not even the main aspects like music and main sound effects. Everything from the sound when you click a button, to the ambient noise you hear in various areas make the games more immersive. For some games like a platformer or RTS you may be able to flake on that a bit. However, RPGs and Simulations require immersion.

Neverwinter Nights has some good music, in some ways some of the sounds are iconic enough that if I hear them I instantly think of the game. All area’s have an ambient background sound that help draw you into the scene. The thought put into how music, ambient sounds, and sound effects can help deepen the world shows.

User Interface 4.0

The user interface for Neverwinter Nights can often feel clunky. Basic commands are alright, however, for anything not on your quick action bar it can take many minutes of searching through menus to find where it is. The only reason I am not giving it lower than a 4.0 is because I could not think of a way to improve the interface. I am always one who believes if you don’t have a better solution then don’t complain. It is possible the designers did the best they could for such a complex game. At least they gave us an action bar so once we found what we wanted we could pin it there with ease.

Final Thoughts

Neverwinter Nights is one of those games that is as fun to play today as when it first came out. I hope that a new generation of Gamers will give it a chance and fall in love not only with Neverwinter but the entire continent of Faerun.

 

Edit: I had called Faerun the entire world previously. Faerun is in fact a sub-continent set on the planet of Toril.

 

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