Neverwinter PC Review - www.impulsegamer.com -
Neverwinter
Reviewed by
James Wright
on
Neverwinter PC Review. Neverwinter is definitely one of the best Dungeons & Dragons games that we have seen using the MMO archetype.
Rating:
4.1

Gameplay 8.0
Graphics 7.7
Sound 8.0
Value 9.0
Developer: Cryptic
Publisher: Perfect World
Rating: Unrated
Review Date: June 2013
Reviewer:
James Wright

8.2


Dungeons & Dragons
Neverwinter

In my opinion the best and greatest Dungeons & Dragons game was the Baldur's Gate series that successfully managed to combine a number of elements from this pen and paper (PnP) live role-playing game to create a rich and meaningful video game. Although I stopped playing the PnP version of Dungeons & Dragons in high school, this wonderful universe still holds a special place in my gaming heart and thankfully developers Cryptic have managed to recapture the uniqueness of the original PnP game which was developed in 1974. For me however, the definitive version of Dungeons & Dragons was the 1989 Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition but that's a story for another day.

This game however, Dungeons & Dragons Neverwinter is based on the 4th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons which streamlined and standardised some of the game mechanics from the PnP game. With that said, just about every fantasy game on the PC is based on Dungeons & Dragons and whether it's World of Warcraft or Dragon Age, these games would not exist if it were not for the creators of this sword and sorcery universe, Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.

The game is also based on one of the most popular worlds of the Dungeons & Dragons which is the Forgotten Realms and ironically there was already a game based in this universe with Neverwinter Nights. However the story of >THIS< Neverwinter takes place around this fictitious city that was almost destroyed by the Spellplague. However something dark is once again brewing in the realm of Faerūn which threatens the majestic city of Neverwinter again. The Lord Neverember of Waterdeep has called the heroes of Faerūn to bound together in order to protect the city from the north and the ever approaching darkness. Add in a beautiful pre-rendered CGI cinematic to introduce the darkness around Neverwinter and the player is definitely in for a D&D treat of epic proportions.

Best of all, Dungeons & Dragons Neverwinter is a free-to-play MMORPG which means gamers don't have to pay for anything, however the option is there to purchase in-game items with real-world money. Another feature is that Publisher Perfect World is behind this game which means powerful servers and a strong community behind it. So in order to play this beast, players must visit http://nw.perfectworld.com/ and initiate a 5GB download. Once the game is downloaded, players can then venture into the world of Neverwinter but before they can walk these lands, gamers must first create their Dungeons & Dragons avatar. It should be noted that each time the game loads, it does check for patches to ensure that your local game is always up to date.



The player must first select a chard (e.g. Mindflayer, Beholder or Dragon), character sex and then their race that include Human, Half-Elf, Wood Elf, Dwarf, Hafling, Half-Orc, Tiefling, Drow and a new character not year revealed. Each of these races have special racial traits which gives your characters some special bonuses in the world of Neverwinter. Following this, you then need to pick a class that can include Trickster Rogue, Control Wizard, Devoted Cleric, Guardian Fighter and Great Weapon Fighter. I chose the Guardian Fighter who is reminiscent of Paladins in old school Dungeons & Dragons and opposed to dodging, he used his shield to block. It's great that each class is so different than each other as it opens the game up for some great replay value.

Once your race and class is select, you then need to generate your characters statistics that include strength, constitution, intelligence, dexterity, wisdon and charisma. Just like the classic PnP game, the game mimics the rolling of the dice that determines your bonuses through statistics. You could virtually stay on this screen all day, trying to get the perfect scores. Once this is done, you then need to choose your deity affiliation such as Torm, Corellon or Sune.  The game does offer some decent customisation options for your characters looks which assists in giving the player some ownership of their avatar.

Once in the world of Neverwinter, the first part of the game acts as a tutorial which teaches you how to navigate the world (e.g. keyboard and mouse), basic attacks, accessing inventory and other important control mechanisms. However before I started this tutorial, I was quite amazed at the wondrous and detailed graphics of this game. The world of Neverwinter is beautiful and it's really easy to get lost in this lush world of sword and sorcery. Questing is really fun in Neverwinter and really lends itself to the PvE formula well. Characters can also craft which works well and does assist you on your quests, whether solo or in a party. In terms of partying, I wish the game was a little more streamlined and made it easier to become involved with others as you could quite happily play this game solo without a care in the world. It just needs to work a little more on the social side.

Combat is the highlight of the game which is also integral to the world of Dungeons & Dragons. The mouse and keyboard work well with combat as you point your mouse on your enemies and whether you are using spells or swords, it is quite a flawless experience. At times, this point and click method is reminiscent of Diablo 3. There is a dodge mechanism used as well but it did take me a little time to master this but once mastered, it makes for a smooth transition in battles. Your characters depending on class also get access to special abilities and are unlocked as you progress through the game. The game does contain an element of PvP but it is simplified in the "domination pits" that pits two teams of 5 players against each other. It's fun but you cannot beat the cooperative play of the main game.

Graphically, Neverwinter is a beautiful looking game but does appear a little dated when compared to some of the other MMO's. Nonetheless the attention to detail is quite impressive and there are some great character models, backgrounds and special effects used in the game well. Audio is equally as good, especially the voice acting, sound effects and the majestic soundtrack that goes hand in hand with the gameplay. Another interesting element of the game is the Foundry which basically turns the player into Dungeon Master. At the Foundry, players can create their own quests and every day I log into Neverwinter, there are hundreds of new quests to partake in. This will probably be the saving grace to Neverwinters future.

Final Thoughts?

Neverwinter is definitely one of the best Dungeons & Dragons games that we have seen using the MMO archetype. The world is quite descriptive and the developers ensure that it is well linked to Dungeons & Dragons. Although at times, it is a game of grinding, Neverwinter for us is more about exploration and team work which definitely has us addicted. The game is free and you can play successfully without spending a dime but if you want those more valuable items, you may have to spend some cash or if you want to get that horse fast. Neverwinter nights is like going back home to your old bedroom, it's familiar and is a great walk down memory lane for fans of Dungeons & Dragons.






 
 



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