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Adventure & RPG
Release Date

Neverwinter Nights
July 22, 2003 | Christopher Morin

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Combat in NWN is loosely turn-based. By that, characters can now dodge and parry the attacks of others. Your opponent will move during fighting rather than standing still and hacking away or casting a spell. Spell casting is interrupted when a successful hit is landed. If your character’s discipline skill is low, a skilled opponent may knock the weapon from your hand. Likewise, NWN introduces ‘attack of opportunity’. This is almost a free attack whereby your character effectively takes advantage of some battle situation to launch an attack at a nearby opponent.

The monsters are appropriately varied in NWN. As the game progresses, they become more numerous or more powerful. Even early on, the game throws all you can handle at you to see if you have what it takes to survive and complete each quest. One early level has you exploring a crypt full of relatively easy undead, but the final chamber is full of powerful mummies and other equally challenging undead. These are the times that make playing an RPG worth the effort spent in leveling up and obtaining powerful weapons.

Graphics and Sound
The characters in the game have much more detail than they did in any of the Baldur’s Gate titles. NWN also adds the ability to zoom in on the action. This zoom feature will center on the selected character. Most previous titles changed a character’s appearance when you donned a new suit of armor or different cloak, but in NWN the detail is much richer to the point that seams in the armor are visible when you zoom in. Magical weapons glow or gleam appropriately. Swords that have an enhancement of acid damage have green acid flowing along the blade and the acid drips from the blade.

The surroundings in NWN are very beautiful. Some crypts or dungeons have a sameness to them, but overall it is a rich world full of weather effects, ambient sounds, shadows, flowing water and a host of other minor details that add up to an enjoyable gaming experience. Some of the voice acting is cheesy, but that is only a minor ding.

All this eye candy and sound requires decent system requirements. MacSoft says it requires a minimum of a 450Mhz processor and a 32MB graphics card. These are the bare minimum system requirements as they match my system. Be sure you have a decent Mac and the most current version of OS X because NWN does not play with OS 9.

Neverwinter Nights should ship at the end of July. It will ship with the DM (dungeon master) client as well as the multiplayer client. It will run user-created mods and play online with any NWN server out there. It has been a long time in coming. We RPG lovers have been taunted with this carrot for a long, long time. The wait is just about over.

Neverwinter Nights
Developer: BioWare
Publisher: MacSoft
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