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Monday, March 3, 2008

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An Early Look At Neverwinter Nights 2
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 3 comments

Applelinks recently posted a preview of Neverwinter Nights 2, the sequel to the very successful original. The RPG once again returns players to the Forgotten Realms setting using the Dungeons & Dragons rule set. It features improved graphics, an epic storyline, the ability to control a party of up to four characters, and a host of monsters to slay.

The first thing fans of the original Neverwinter Nights will notice are the improved graphics. Pretty much everything is alive with movement in Neverwinter Nights 2, right down to the grass. Shadows, lighting, water and landscape animations, spellcasting effects; all come to life in a way never before seen in a Mac compatible RPG, making for a very immersive experience. The game is gorgeous...provided your system can handle it. My iMac just hit the processor minimum and doubled the RAM minimum, and I still had to dumb down the graphics to get acceptable performance.

After setting up your character (you can't import your character from Neverwinter Nights), the game begins with a quiet tutorial set at a local fair. Here, you'll learn to fight, cast spells, and generally interact with the environment (non-player characters, objects, etc.). You can skip this and get right to the action, but the tutorial is quick and does provide some background on your character. Of course, it's not long before the town is invaded, and you're sent out to discover why.

Unlike in Neverwinter Nights, the sequel doesn't confine you to hiring just one other character at a time to accompany you on your journey. Rather, various characters are introduced throughout the story, and you can decide to allow up to three others to tag along when dictated by the story. You get complete control over their actions while in your party, and, even better, over their inventory as well. In other words, your support characters can schlep around all those axes and thief toolkits you've found, and when you go to sell them to some merchant who apparently can never have enough thief toolkits, you get the cash. Controlling the inventory and behavior of four characters can be quite a chore sometimes, but the positives outweigh the negatives. In the original Neverwinter Nights, if you were a fighter, you'd generally want a magic user as your partner. Here, you can take along said magic user, but also throw in a thief to help you disarm traps and unlock chests, and a bard to help talk enemies out of fights or into revealing important secrets.
Check out the full preview at the link below.

Applelinks: NWN 2 Preview
Aspyr Media
Neverwinter Nights 2
Buy Neverwinter Nights 2

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