Product Type: Atari PC games
Newest Review: ... i was pleased to find things had moved on a little.Now this games graphics are never going to reach levels of wow or guild wars but still t... more
So much potential, so badly done
Neverwinter Nights 2 (PC)
Member Name: scola_p
Neverwinter Nights 2 (PC)
Advantages: Based on a known system, with a great pedigree behind it
Disadvantages: Lazy deveopers have ruined the game
First of all, I have to admit that I love role playing games. I spent many years in my geeky youth rolling dice and the like. It is not something that ever really leaves you alone.
During my time playing games, it is always fun to try something different – the likes of Dungeon Siege for a bit of fast and dirty action, and then the likes of Oblivion to really get your teeth into. Howver, my spiritual RPG home is, and always has been Dungeons and Dragons. No matter how much the rules may have evolved over the last 15 years, I still look forward to a new D&D game.
This game is the latest in a line of D&D games that has proceeded from strength to strength. Going all the way back to the first Baldur’s Gate, via its sequel (creatively named Baldur’s Gate II), and then becoming more visually appealing with the first Neverwinter Nights.
The first of the never winter games was my all time favourite party based RPG, so you can probably imagine how excited I was about the arrival of a sequel. I ordered the game and waited impatiently for it to arrive through the post.
It turned up. I was overjoyed. Into the DVD drive it went, and I installed away. I could hardly wait.
Post installation, I fired the game up, and it detected that updates were available. Always nice to have the most up to date patches, I though, so I sent it off on it’s merry way, not thinking it would take too long.
Two hours later it had finished. Quite frustrating, but I was now pretty confident that a jump of 6 versions would have fixed almost every bug that had been found.
Even though my pc is substantially above the minimum spec, it recommended that I use the lowest option on many of the graphical settings. I had heard that the graphics with all the bells and whistles could eat up all but the most powerful rig, so I left it at that. Later, whilst playing the game I set a few of the options to maximum, and whilst the game got a lot prettier, the speed was reduced to an unplayable, juddery crawl.
I sat through the usual splash of logos and developer screens at the start, with the now obligatory Nvidia screen, and then the intro movie started. It is short, and it has nothing at all to do with the plot, but it was like watching what happened in my head when I played RPGs as a youth. It depicts a few minutes of a battle between two characters, and it sets the mood and really whets your appetite for the game.
I charged ahead to start a new game, and create my first character. This is one of the sections I normally love about RPGs, working through lots of different races, classes and skills, just top see what you can create. NWN 2 has one of the most user friendly interfaces for character creation, with lots of help and advice along the way. The only minor gripe I had was that the appearance of your character was pretty limited. After games like Oblivion (and even the Tiger Woods golf games) where you can tweak almost every attribute, being presented with sliders for height and width, along with a section of about 10 different faces and hair styles is a little disappointing. That said though, this bit still felt satisfying.
At the very start of the game, you are given the option of carrying out a tutorial or heading straight into the action. I chose the tutorial, as it had been awhile since I had last played one of these games. However, if you do go straight through to the action, your character gets all the experience you would accrue by going through the tutorial, which is a nice touch.
So, I pressed on with the tutorial, which is light hearted and a bit of fun. Everything came back to me quite quickly, so I found it a bit slow, but it is a nice intro to how to play the game. Then it was onto the main quest.
I do not want to give too much away, but the game proper starts with your village being attacked by dark dwarves and some funny lizard men. Once you have repelled the attack and done a few tiny side quests, it is off to the swamp to find a hidden object.
Once you have got this far, you are off to explore the world alone. And this is where I started to encounter serious problems. On my first attempt to move out of the start area and onto the main quest, the game just hung. The only way to get out of this was to close the game using the Task Manager (or Ctrl-Alt-Del).
I assumed that this was just a glitch, so I launched the game again. Fortunately, it had automatically created a saved game just before, so I did not have to redo any of the game. So I tried to move to the next area, and it hung again. This time I completely re-booted my PC and tried again, to no avail.
It was at this point that I decided to search the internet to see if anyone else had encountered the problem. This opened a real can of worms. It appears that the developers decided whilst writing the game that every one has to have at least 500Mb free on their Windows drive. If you do not, loading some of the larger map areas within the game happens so slowly that it may as well not happen at all.
To explain a bit of why this matters to me, I have my drives on my computer partitioned, with my Windows partition having just enough room, plus about 300-400Mb just in case, with everything else pointing at my 70Gb partition, even my windows swap space is there. I have done this because I have had my windows partition destroyed by viruses and the like in the past, so it contains the smallest amount possible so I do not have to replace as much. next time.
However, in the eyes of the developers, they know more about how my system is supposed to configured than I do. Still, I did some pc based swapping and shifting to free up about 500Mb, and then tried again.
Fantastic! The next section loaded like a dream. So on I went with the game, happily playing along and having a good time, although it was slightly marred by the extra messing around I had had to do. Then disaster struck again.
Because the game filled up all the avalaible space on my C: drive with temporary data for the game, I could not save. Even trying deleted the save game I was using. It had also deleted any automatic save points created along the way.
Back to the internet I went, to try and see if there way around this or a fix in progress. It appears that this issue has been going on for almost as long as the game has been out, and there is no sign of a fix. Nor have the developers even responded to the 20 or so pages of posts on their tech support forum that relate to this problem. A bit of further digging revealed a whole host of bugs and issues still outstanding.
Now, I faced a choice. Did I delete everything from my PC and reinstall everything I had, or consign the game to the wastes of e-bay?
I got around £15 for it.
Available on Play.com for £24.99
Summary: Only consider if you have about 1Gb free on your Windows drive