Obsidian Entertainment and dungeon masters the world over can breathe a collective sigh of relief now that the scores for Neverwinter Nights 2 are in. The single player campaign has been well received by the gaming press, and the revamped toolset is expected to afford NWN2 a shelf life comparable to its predecessor. However, not all is well in the Forgotten Realms. The 1UP reviewer seems to have overlooked the fact that Oblivion and NWN represent different styles of roleplaying. Bethesda emphasizes aesthetic presentation and open-ended adventuring, while BioWare and Obsidian have focused on a tighter combat system (hence the rules) and an extendable architecture befitting of the classic Dungeons & Dragons experience. Keeping this in mind, both franchises excel at what they were designed for.
Update 1: 1UP has pulled their damning review of NWN2, so I guess there is justice in the world. Here are a few new scores: Yahoo! Games (90/100), IGN (85/100).
- GameDaily (100/100) cites several improvements over the original NWN: "There are plenty of things about NWN2 that are different from its precursor. Better graphics, a much more robust and option-filled character creation process, plus deeper plotlines, with more twists and better villains help add to an already stellar feature list. Neverwinter Nights 2 is truly one of the most epic adventures found on a PC, and it should be purchased without hesitation."
- GameSpot (86/100) considers NWN2 the most authentic D&D experience to date: "If you're willing to look past a few relatively minor technical issues, you'll have a great time exploring the world of NWN2. The excellent story, characters, and quests will appeal to your sense of adventure without getting overly convoluted. When you factor in the multiplayer and the editing tools, you'll find that NWN2 is a fantastic value and a thoroughly enjoyable game."
- 1UP (50/100) fired a 3d6 Melf's Acid Arrow right at the heart of the D&D community: "With all the added rule-shuffling, NWN2 seems like it's working twice as hard to accomplish half as much. Worse -- and blame this on games like Oblivion -- NWN2's levels feel pint-sized. As if the pencil and paper 'module' approach were a virtue that computers -- by now demonstrably capable of simulating entire worlds with considerably more depth -- should emulate."