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Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir review

AT A GLANCE
  • More open than previous entries
  • Much more than just a campaign
  • Brings genuinely new ideas
  • Less exciting than previous entries
  • Not beginner friendly
  • Tedious random battles

Once you’re going, you’ll discover the new overworld. It kicks in when you leave town, disabling the camera controls and zooming the action back to show the surrounding area. From this view you can see and avoid wandering monsters, making it well worth your while to have a Rogue/Ranger type on the team to let you move faster, avoid pointless fights, and track down bonus goodies scattered around the map.

Getting into a fight with these monsters is tedious and time-consuming, especially since you’ve got to sit through a loading screen and sort out buffs for everyone each time. Unless you really need the XP or have a specific target in mind, you’re better off just bolting for town and focusing on the quest locations instead.

Towns are the final major new feature. Most are little more than a menu that lets you rest at the tavern, heal your group at the Temple, and most importantly, trade. Trade is by far the most important aspect. Very early on, you’re roped (press-ganged would be closer) into joining a trading company, and much of the game is built around creating your own little empire, first by ferrying a few goods from A to B, and later by organising a more automated system by spreading the wealth and creating networks. It’s not a bad idea, but it’s hardly high strategy, and definitely not high adventure.

In fact, that’s the basic flaw of the whole package – in struggling to serve as both a regular story and a more open-world adventure than previous Neverwinter games, it winds up feeling too flabby for the former and too claustrophobic to let you really ride off in search of your own story. It’s not a bad campaign by any means, simply an odd choice for a major expansion. On the plus side, it’s a decent chunk of game, and it’s refreshing to see Obsidian trying out some new ideas. Many of these are likely to dripfeed into future downloadable modules, making Zehir a must-purchase if you want to keep up to date.

Look at the campaign as a demo for these features, even if their exact implementation doesn’t ring your bells, and you can’t go far wrong. For those purely interested in Zehir as a dedicated campaign, however, decide if you want to play Elite or smash some elite monsters, and you’ll know if it’s worth heading back out on the trail.

Dec 22, 2008

More Info

Release date: Nov 18 2008 - PC (US)
Nov 21 2008 - PC (UK)
Available Platforms: PC
Genre: Role Playing
Published by: Atari
Developed by: Obsidian
Franchise: Neverwinter Nights
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Alcohol Reference, Blood, Sexual Themes, Violence, Mild Language

4 comments

  • JohnnyMaverik - March 5, 2009 1:25 p.m.

    Not sure about this, I played the first with one of the expansions a few years back when my bro borrowed it from a mate for a week and it was ok although I was more than happy to revert back to playing Morrowind once his mate took it back. I recently bought it again to give to my bro, but haven’t played it since he’s got it and he’s in Portugal and I’m in London. So if this is a bit worse than the first in many ways, and I only found the first ok, it might be a waste of money... although the first may have had far more to offer which I just didn’t play long enough to experience... Plus I just don't have the cash to splash out on any game that looks minutely interesting, and while this game looks a bit more than that, the review hasn't filled me with quite enough excitement to say "this game will blow my mind"... dilemma :(
  • xenomorph99 - December 29, 2008 6:37 p.m.

    I haven't played NN2 in ages. This looks intriguing and might make me play it again.
  • Akiira - December 24, 2008 5:10 a.m.

    i like what they did about dieing. its closer to real dnd
  • zanthox - December 23, 2008 4:25 a.m.

    You have been waylaid by enemies and must defend yourself... SOUNDS GREAT!

Showing 1-4 of 4 comments

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