Neverwinter Nights 2 will enthrall you with a compelling storyline and addictive gameplay, but trying to enable all the best settings could hinder your gaming experience. Neverwinter Nights 2 is a performance-guzzling monster. Quite a few game settings brought our powerful test system to a screeching halt. If you crank up all the options, you will smother your player and enemy character models in an excessive amount of lighting and shadowing effects. Combat effects and those five torches stuck on the wall add even more performance demands. We had to break out the very best PC components to run the game well, and we still had a tough time keeping frame rates up when we increased the game settings.
We tested Neverwinter Nights 2 using FRAPs and a 25-second demo in the Blacklake district of the city of Neverwinter. We couldn't test in combat situations because fight sequences are very difficult to reproduce, but we believe that the Blacklake district is a fairly challenging area of the game. The game has a built-in V-sync frame rate cap that we couldn't disable. Most frame rates sat below the cap, but we did hit the limit in certain tests. Unlike first-person shooters, where you might need in excess of 60 frames per second for great gameplay, role-playing games like Neverwinter Nights 2 still play very well at a consistent 30 to 40 frames per second.
Neverwinter Nights 2 has quite a few settings you can disable to improve frame rate performance. We tested all the options to find out how much each setting affected frame rate performance.
Most games require powerful video cards, and Neverwinter Nights 2 is no exception. We have performance results for nearly 20 video cards to help you determine how much performance is enough.
Neverwinter Nights 2 loves CPU power. If you give the game more processing power, it'll reward you with better performance. We tested the game up and down the clock-speed ladder on our Intel Core 2 Duo and AMD Athlon 64 X2 CPU-based systems.
A game that feeds on powerful CPUs and video cards usually also likes RAM. We tested Neverwinter Nights 2 with 512MB, 1GB, and 2GB of RAM to see what kind of impact memory has on performance.