Design: Randall Montanari
For fans of online role-playing games, the release of Neverwinter Nights in 2002 was a revelation. The game shipped with a robust suite of world-building tools, giving wannabe dungeon masters the ability to create their own scenarios and modules to share online. The game was an immediate hit, and while it was a big departure from the previous Dungeons & Dragons games from BioWare, like the esteemed Baldur’s Gate II, the game and its expansion packs went on to sell over a million copies.
Now, over four years later, Obsidian picks up the mantle with Neverwinter Nights 2. The game is superficially the same as Neverwinter Nights, but is improved in almost every way, especially for fans of in-depth single-player role-playing games. While the story of Neverwinter 1 was serviceable, the game was built around the multiplayer arena, and thus, even in the single-player game, you could only control one character, and your party’s maximum size was all of two characters, which was a far cry from the five or six-person parties of the older Infinity Engine games.
In Neverwinter Nights 2, though, these limitations have been eased, and your nominal party cap is now four players, all of which are individually controllable in battle. (At times, you may find yourself with as many as seven or eight characters or creatures in your party!) The game’s storyline has been given the standard Obsidian touch, as well, with character romances, the ability to shift alignment from good to evil (or back), and the ability to influence your followers as you advance through the plot. All in all, the package is a devilishly compelling one for fans of in-depth computer RPGs.