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Game Over Online ~ Neverwinter Nights

GameOver Game Reviews - Neverwinter Nights (c) Infogrames, Reviewed by - Aaron 'PharCyde' Butler

Game & Publisher Neverwinter Nights (c) Infogrames
System Requirements Windows, Pentium II 450MHz, 96MB RAM, 16MB 3D Accelerator, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 91%
Date Published Tuesday, July 23rd, 2002 at 01:23 PM

Divider Left By: Aaron 'PharCyde' Butler Divider Right

Millions of players worldwide have been waiting about five years since Bioware and Atari first announced Neverwinter Nights, and that wait is finally over. Neverwinter Nights and its modular goodness have been set loose upon the masses and there was much rejoicing.

What’s this? What’s Neverwinter Nights you ask? Well, whether you’re a fan of pen and paper table top games or you simply enjoy playing RPGs, read on to find out if NWN is the right game for you.


I’m about half way through the game so I don’t know how it’s going to end. However, the story thus far has been quite amazing and compliments the gameplay exquisitely, or vice versa depending on which is more important to you.

The story starts with a mysterious plague that has befallen the great city of Neverwinter, but develops into a much more complex ordeal with plot twists, betrayal, and everything else a good fantasy story needs to keep people interested. No one knows where this plague, The Wailing Death as it’s been lovingly nicknamed, came from, what caused it and most importantly, how to cure it. This is where the hero, you, comes in. Your job is to find the cure for this plague before it kills off the entire city. Like all well developed RPGs from Bioware, Neverwinter Nights, NWN from here on out, has a linear story line that must be solved in order to move on to the next chapter, or module (more on modules later), but it also has tons of side quests that deviate from the main storyline entirely that will surely keep a player busy for hours on end if they want to take a break from the main plot.

Character Creation

If you're new to the AD&D (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons) universe, fear not, the game caters to the hardcore AD&D geeks, like myself, or to those who simply enjoy a good dungeon romp in between art classes. Also of note is that Neverwinter Nights uses the new AD&D 3rd edition rules set; this will mean a lot to some and nothing to others.

There are seven races to choose from: Humans, Dwarfs, Elves, Half-Lings, Gnomes, Half-Elves, and Half-Orcs. Each has its own special characteristics, weaknesses, and innate abilities. For more info on the different races, go [Here].

After you choose your race, you need to pick one of the 11 classes: Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, or Wizard. You also have the option of combining 2 or more of these classes if you feel you can handle the ups and downs of multiclassing. For more info on the different classes, go [Here].

There is definitely a combination and play style for just about anyone who is remotely interested in playing. You can play a goody-goody Paladin fighting for justice or you can be the bastard Rogue who would sell his own mother for a gold coin. The choice is yours. Be wary though, the choices you make while playing will affect how the game unfolds.

When distributing your stats, those who don’t want to spend a lot of time fiddling with numbers can simply hit the “Recommended” button and the game will distribute everything for you; stats, skills, spells, etc. This is very handy if you don’t know anything about making a character and want to get into the game as fast as possible. There are also pre-generated characters that you can choose from if you don’t want to bother with character creation at all.

If you buy the game, then I recommend doing a bit of reading from the instruction book as well before you get started, to better familiarize yourself with the different races, classes, abilities, etc that are available to you.

Graphics / Sound

Taking a giant leap in the 3D direction away from the 2D Baldur’s Gate style, the Aurora engine, while not the most advanced graphics engine on the market, is still able to bring the Forgotten Realms universe to life in glorious 3D. The spell effects and lighting/shadowing capabilities of the engine come to mind.

The character skins lack detail but this is made up with fantastic weapon and armor models/skins you will get. Your character’s hair and loose clothing will sway with movement, nice touch. [Note to Bioware: Robes please! Thanks.] Oh yeah, some of the weapon models have neato special effects on them; glowing dripping poison comes to mind on a sword I bought and a little mini swirling galaxy on the head of a staff I received as loot off a monster to name a couple. The models used for all the monsters are amazing and the skins, unlike for players are awesome.

Some detail that goes a long way is that during combat, your character, as well as who ever you are fighting, will move around one another while fighting, models will block attacks causing sparks to fly when metal hits metal, bigger monsters will jump over your swings, and you’ll actually get knocked to the grown on occasion. Watching combat is actually quite entertaining.

The sounds are great, period. It’s hard to explain but the ambient talking and other sounds in cities reinforce the fact that I’m playing a Bioware game; weird huh? The sounds used for spells all work out very well, but who really knows what magic missiles sounds like? Well, I think Bioware knows. All of the different types of monsters have their own unique sounds, which, like the spells, do them justice.

Multiplayer / Level Editor

With the release of NWN, Bioware has brought to life a new kind of online environment with the use of modules. Think of a module as a box that contains everything players need to exist in the NWN world. One module can be nothing more than a basic tavern where people meet up and talk or it can be the first gigantic chapter of a huge story containing many towns, dungeons, and characters; which is how it is with the single player aspect of NWN, each of the four chapters “Prelude, Chapter 1, 2 and 3” are all individual modules.

To create a module, you simply have to start up the Toolset that has been conveniently included with the game. The basic functions of building a simple area won’t be hard to master, but you won’t even be scratching the surface of what this editor is capable of. I’m not going to get into detail, but the fact you can create an NPC’s dialogue that players can interact with says something.

Yet another cool feature is that when someone creates a module and wants other people to play it, they simply setup a server and other players can log in and experience their work first hand. To accompany things, players have the option of “linking” up their servers to create an endless adventure by allowing players to hop from server to server.

There are some crash bugs that creep up every now and then while playing multiplayer so save your game regularly, though all good RPG players know you should do this any ways. Hopefully these little annoyances will be fixed in the next patch. These patches can be downloaded using the “Update” feature within the game or downloaded via the Neverwinter Nights website and installed manually.


If you haven’t guessed by the tone of this review, I really like this game. It’s everything a role-playing fan could ask for. Decent graphics, a great story and endless possibilities with the Aurora toolset makes this a must buy for the hardcore RPG fan or even the casual in-between-classes RPG fan. So far it has also brought to life the ability to translate the newly released 3rd edition AD&D rules over from pen and paper to an interactive gaming environment.


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