Adventure & RPG
The fair will serve as a tutorial for neophytes, but players will also have the option to totally skip it. By competing in the Harvest Cup competition with three AI companions, players will have a chance to get acquainted with elements such as NWN2's new user interface, the game's party system, armed combat, thievery and spell-casting. All the basics. The real game, however, will begin after the fair when West Harbor gets sacked by dark dwarves, dark elves and an astonishingly powerful Githyanki mage. Why do powerful beings attack a lowly swamp town? That is the mystery, a mystery that will lead players to the heart of Neverwinter and beyond.
As far as character options, NWN2 will offer plenty. The game will include 8 base races, the newest being the Planetouched, as well as a number of new sub-races, such as the Drow and Moon Elves. The sub-races gain levels more slowly, but players willing to take the hit will gain other bonuses for their trouble. NWN2 will also give players access to 12 character classes which can later graduate to one of many Prestige classes. For example, a multi-classed Rogue/Sorcerer could later become an Arcane Trickster, a class that uses both stealth and magic to devastate their enemies. Characters will begin their journey at lowly level one with the potential to hit level 21 before all is said and done. The game will bring players one new base class, the mysterious Warlock. Warlocks gain their power through innate ability, magic that comes from deep within their souls. They don't study magic, it's in their blood. Warlocks don't cast spells in a a traditional sense, but rather, they speak powerful Invocations to break and beguile their foes. While a Warlock's list of spells is smaller than that of a Wizard or Sorcerer, they are not limited to a set number of casts per day. Warlocks can also wear a wider variety of armor, making them more sturdy than a typical caster.
Players will also be able to choose a personal deity. While one's god won't dramatically affect gameplay in NWN2's official campaign, there are 3rd-party modules that make heavy use of this new feature.
Along the way, adventurers will gain party members to assist them. Neverwinter Nights 2 will support parties of up to 4, with each party member being completely controllable by the player. Companions picked up on the road will have their own stories and motivations, and even quests to accomplish. Party members will also interact with one another. For instance, if one's main character is an evil Rogue, stealing and slitting throats at the drop of a hat, picking up a holier than thou Paladin might not be the best idea. In fact, it's probably a bad idea, as holy warriors don't generally like to take part in theft and wanton acts of murder. They'll probably fight against them. Finding like-minded companions is always better than not.
All in all, Neverwinter Nights 2 looks like it will be an excellent addition to Mac OS X. It's a huge game with a great deal of potential. Honestly, I've only scratched the surface of this highly detailed and flexible role-playing game. In my full review, I'll get down to the nitty gritty of character creation, story, combat, visuals, the party system, multi-player gameplay and all the other bits and bytes. This is but a sample, a taste of things to come. Final judgment comes later, so stay tuned...
Oh, and it's three licks to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop.