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Showing 1-9 of 9 reviews(4 star). See all 33 reviews
on October 24, 2003
The Neverwinter Nights (NWN) game engine represents what I hope to be a new era in computer gaming: platforms that invite users/players to create their own games with near-complete access to the game engine.
Sadly, while the NWN platform itself was a major breakthrough, the included gameplay was routine, uninspired, and sometimes even silly. Shadows of Undrentide (SoA) shows that the Bioware crew can not only create a great technical product, but also deliver a solid story.
Unlike the original NWN storyline, SoA has a coherent plot that, while short of "compelling," kept me interested. The fact that it was written for single-player mode meant the storytellers could focus on developing non-player characters rather than try to have the story work with lots of different players (not an easy task!). While many have complained about the lack of multi-player support, personally I've been unable to commit to that kind of gameplay anyway, and the few experience I've had were disappointing.
The fact that NWN is both a generalized toolset and a game means a lot of tradeoffs: one is that the graphics and environments become pretty uninspiring after a while because they re-use the same assets over and over again. To me, this is almost a blessing, as it forces story developers to focus more on the story rather than dazzle players with graphics.
Toolset enhancements and expanded assets (monsters, spells, etc.) make this expansion essential for those of us creating content.
Although not approaching the peaks of the Infinity Engine series of games, the NWN platform still has a lot of room for growth, whatever the power-gamers who want shiny graphics instead of good stories might say.
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on September 2, 2003
I'm one of those people who, having loved the Baldur's Gate series, was REALLY excited about NWN. When NWN finally came out, the graphics already looked dated and the official campaign (OC) was, franky, silly. Still, the power of the toolset--and the fact that there are thousands of modules freely available (many of which are MORE entertaining than the OC) kept me playing.
I wasn't expecting too much from SoU and my worst fears appeared to have been realized when the adventure starts with your adventuring school is attacked and you have to recover the four artifacts that were stolen (that sounded a bit TOO close to the OC). After that, though, the story picks up. The henchmen and villains are much better written; Drogan is a more compelling mentor than angst-ridden Aribeth. You have more control over your henchman (including the desperately needed inventory management).
The toolset expansion is welcome as well. While it's still not as easy to use as I would want, they've incorporated a lot of small improvements that make it feel a bit more like (to steal another reviewer's image) Leggos and less like object-oriented programing. The new tilesets are useful as well, though they're only "just as good" as fan-created content available for download.
Really, ultimately, what makes this a 4-star game (and one I keep coming back to) is the fan-created content. While the OC stuff is pretty much hack-and-slash D&D (the kind I liked when I was 13), you can download old-style adventure gaming (full of challenging puzzles--it's like Riven with a sword), PvP deathmatch (Rune with a wizard), and even online social servers (like those MMRPGs without the MM part). There are even scripts to allow players to create full-size parties. It's exciting to have a game where the official releases are only a jumping-off point for users to improve upon.
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on June 27, 2003
I am one of the many people that were fairly disappointed with Neverwinter Nights when it came out. I play only single player games and found the original campaign to be boring. I had the usual complaints about a poor story line, character development and awful henchmen. That being said, I think the Shadow of Undrentide is quite an improvement as far as the single player campaign goes. They did listen to their audience and made significant improvements to the plot development as well as henchmen being greatly improved. I would liked to have seen the this be a continuation of the earlier campaign. I really am getting of tired of playing low level characters. Magic missiles gets very boring and I hate how often beginning wizards have to rest to be useful. In a way I glad they started a new story line because the fist campaign plot was so poor. If I was designing the game I would make it harder and give the single player the option of having multiple henchmen. I really do miss the party aspect of the BG series. I would love to play with a balance party and really form good strategies with all the party members to overcome obstacles. Maybe they will get there with the next expansion. Over all it is well worth the money and an OK game. Lets hope the community comes up with some good modules that take advantage of this expansion.
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on June 22, 2003
I bought this expansion figuring that, like most expansions, it would increase the difficulty of the original game, like LOD did for D2. So, I began with my char from NWN, a 9/7 ranger/rogue. I found the whole first chapter and interlude WAY too easy (I guess they really want you to start a new char for this expansion). I'm hoping that it will get a bit more difficult, because it's hard to level up when you're getting meager experience points. Plus, you can no longer use your Stone of Recall; you get a ring at the beginning that sort of does the same thing, but it's only useful for Chapter 1. After that, you're on your own.
That gripe aside, the game is fun to play. The new items and spells are a welcome addition. The new enemies are entertaining. The new henchmen are okay, but I find myself missing Daelen (man I loved him!). The graphics are great as well.
Performance wise, the game isn't too wonderful. I had huge load times and there were a couple of instances where it wouldn't load at all (and I exceed the requirements for the game). I read on the support site that this is a problem with the CD protection; don't know for sure, but it sure is a pain!
Bottom line, it's fun to play and a worthwhile addition to an already fantastic game!
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on July 2, 2003
Neverwinter Nights is a great game, and I really enjoyed playing this expansion pack, but the game is way too short! It probably only took me 15-20 hours playing time. It's got a Chap1, Interlude, and Chap2. Chap2 is very very short and the end enemy was cake. The new specialized classes are cool, but just as you get to a high enough level to train in one, you're about done with the game! You might want to wait for the price to drop on this one before purchasing.
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on July 12, 2004
A very nice second campaign if you already finished the main campaign and want to take you character up a few more levels, buff up on eq and even change your character by the new prestige classes. (Or even head over to bioware and download some ultra buffed pre made characters.) Very similar to the NWN. Three chapters in different worlds with unique creatures. The eq in this sequel was very impressive and may even tilt the game, but it is for high level characters.
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on September 8, 2003
Overall, very good stuff - but the game is shorter and in some senses easier than the original.
The artwork and new classes are really cool - the story line could have used more work - it comes off as being from the same "can" as the original.
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on August 14, 2003
A truly fun game true 3d. Being able to control a characters look and status is great. The only shortcoming is the limited team members, and a lack of there owns agenda. I hope there are more in line soon.
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on December 8, 2003
I was really happy with the expansion to the Great NWN game.
Play is fun and the addition of new classes and monsters is awesome. I can't wait for the next one to be delivered to me
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