A list of negatives (not a negative game though)
Just need somewhere to note down all my negative experiences with this game. A sort of exorcism if you will. Not really bashing the game as I still think this game is better than a lot I've played.
1) This opening vignette is really… I dunno… garden fete?
2) Ooohhh… there's something weird about this combat, can't put my finger on it.
3) Please end this cut-scene.
4) Ak, switching players in combat makes my character go auto.
5) I'm a Paladin so I have to refuse rewards and utilise the good and lawful points, but all the best stuff is handed out as rewards. And yet the game still requires that I loot everyone's house without repercussion. Ak, breaking a box damages items, I'm gonna need a Rogue the whole game. When do I get a Rogue?
6) 45 minutes of cut-scene? Really?
7) Solve party member's quest for them. They offer me a reward. I graciously/politely accept. Companion gives me -4 for accepting the gift. Re-do the level, reply no instead of yes, companion gives me +4 - that's an 8 point swing based off of an impossible choice. I get to keep and wear the gift either way.
8) So I go to chat with a quest NPC. The second I start talking, my entire posse runs off-screen to fight bad-guys I didn't even know were there. I process the entire quest dialogue to the backdrop of AAAGGGHH, OOOO, DIE, CLASH, CHINK, KA-BOOM, ARGGHHHH.
9) I realise the game doesn't pause in dialogue. I also realise that buffs are based on seconds rather than rounds. I also realise most boss fights have cut-scenes which last more than a minute or two. I realise pre-buffing is going to be a tough nut to crack.
10) My Rogue is such an expert thief that she blurts out "I can't wait to rob your ancestor's home" at the top of her voice in front of the descendant. And no-one cares except for me, who has to make a -1 choice of influence between whoever she's forcing me to make a decision with.
11) I really can't get the hang of how to make puppet combat work. Just when I think I've nailed it, the camera dries me so crazy I have to turn puppet off again. There's no way to 'select all'.
12) I did a quest to save a girl. She then spoils her own rescue by raising all the bodies of the dead bad-guys as shadows. She then refuses to stay put. The shadows kill her. I can see no way I could have completed this quest via logic.
13) The collector's riddle was unsolvable. The entire collector's quest made no sense at all. How does a Rogue prove they are the best rogue by barging into someone's house and killing everyone except a group of servants who will tell everyone in the city what happened. Also I let the collector live - won't he tell everyone? Why wasn't this just a stats test for thief skills rather than a bar-room brawl. Did I mention the riddle was also unsolvable.
14) People have stopped offering me rewards and the whole points for reward refusal has ended.
15) The companions are coming so thick and fast I have no idea what to do with them all. The first two, Khulgar and Neeshka seem to have obvious quests and decent personalities and I'm now attached enough to them to be loathe to exclude them. I also need a Rogue and a Tank, so that's ideal really. I try to initiate quest for the others, but I have no idea how to. I walk around with them and nothing happens. But I keep getting Qara cut-scenes without motivation for them.
16) It keeps forcing new companions on me. Ok, Shandra, fine, another Tank. But jeez, it's like every new map has a new forced companion forcing me to dump the one I had only just got used to.
17) CTD after letting a cut-scene zoom me to a quest location (when you let the kids in the pub and they tell you about something or other quest). I refuse the quick jump and leave by the door and everything's fine.
18) Cut-scenes keep asking me if I want to go somewhere before I've looted the area. Then doesn't give me that option after I've looted. Gets better later on though, as if they knew about this problem, but, well, whatever.
19) The way the companions dive across traps to attack enemies is verging on the insanity-causing. The ploy of monsters standing behind traps is also so repetative as to be predictable anyway.
20) Now that I have maxed saves and will likely never lose a save, rolls of 3 to fail a trap save start to come more repeatedly (3 in a row in the same dungeon) and, later, with even better saves, two rolls of 1 in the space of a couple of rooms. I die to what appears to be a death spell, but the logs don't even show a save took place nor that a spell was cast nor that I took any damage.
21) Deekin has stopped trading. The most important trader at this point in the game has a flat-out bug.
22) I spend an hour trying to figure out the Axle quest, only to learn it's another bug relating to the Rogue-line rather than the Watchman-line of questing.
23) The trader in the Old Well area doesn't want any Adamantine no matter what I bring her.
24) I can't get my list of feats to include 'Craft Magic Arms and Armour' and I've been keeping an eye out for it for about 10 levels. None of my party seem to have it, and even if they did, like Sand for example, how would he cast a Priest spell?
25) I've got more crafting equipment than any single person in Neverwinter, but I can't use one bit of it, and even if I could, the materials that would actually be useful are gated behind levels where I'll find those items anyway.
26) There are no instructions on how to play the Keep game nor how the timing works nor some idea of how or what I'm supposed to be targeting towards.
27) Turning off the lights for the ghosts was a verbal quest, not a written quest, but it turned out that the lights were tools for the original quest, not a quest in itself. I got no exp for turning out all the lights.
28) I made peace with the Bugbears. I met them outside and they went away. I went back in the crypt and could still not open the door as I only had two items. I despaired as to where the third item was. I went and did another quest. When I later came back the Bugbears were back in the crypt all of a sudden…
29) Cannot die while on Frenzy? Really? So I have to cheese-run to counter a cheese mechanic. marvelous. I did find it hugely funny that the Water Elemental also got teleported back to the Flagon, lol.
30) There was no personal chest in the Flagon.
31) I don't want to spend all my cash on a siege tower when I know I'll have to fight the boss at some point whatever I do.
32) Yeah, I know, you were supposed to save the spider. Sorry, too convoluted for me, I just CBA'd to kill 30 Goblins via an obvious 'plot-twist', especially as it would mean breaking my word, which Paladins… oh, nevermind
33) Every other drop or store 'exciting' weapon is some obscure weapon that no sane person would pick on their first play-through (except maybe warmace), not one single 'fun' Longsword from start to Keep.
34) Why is Dwarven Scouts still on my map when it's completely dead. Why aren't the Dwarves making hay there now that they've just spent years and lives trying to find the place - just to leave it empty?
35) Do I need to kit-out every single one of y companions? That's going to cost 100,000s. I feel like I aught to sell everything they have to save it being wasted as soon as the game decides to kill them or make them leave or whatever at whatever point (non-regulars with no influence).
36) Two shards with +1 to stats. Really? Yeah, so… super-powered… like maybe for a lvl 1 character…
37) Oh great statues, give me AWESOME… some minor crappy buff for two rounds… oh, er, yeah, that'll show that demon/thing… If I even get time to trigger 5 buffs in a heated battle that's probably going to be some kind of wave-thing anyway.
I'll do more as I encounter them.
As I say, don't take this as a critique, it's not really, it's just me exorcising.
Also, forgot these two very important irritations:
38) The inventory seems very bugged. I'll move an item from my inventory to a companions, but the icon will still stay in my inventory. Only by going through a screen transition will it's icon move. So sometimes I have the same item in two inventories. Really distracting. Sometimes an items icon will glue in place and be immovable.
39) The pause function during battles would be greatly helped if you could move your items about during pause. You can't. Well, you can, but the icon doesn't move. You have to unpause to get the icon to move.
40) I don't know if t's just my mouse/system, but many of the menus, such as character, journal, bag contents etc don't stay open when you click on them, and sometimes don't open at all. It can take a lot of clicking to do something routine.
Hopefully what you just made is the next gamespot's gamereview style. Instead of praising everything if the publisher paid for praises.
Never knew why some people adore that game, IMO everything in it is done badly.
Ty for sharing your experiences.
No comment on the creepy druid, Elanee, I'm surprised…
I was watching you since you were a baby bit? ;)
I remember liking and finishing NWN2 but strangely can remember almost nothing about it and as equally strange I can remember most of NWN 1.
May have to go back and replay.
It's a pretty long post, so I'll just make a few comments here and there.
Some excellent replies here. I'm not going to fully respond to anyone until I've finished the game as I might find more points of interest and some of my points might seem insignificant if the whole turns out to be a very tasty meal,
but I thought I'd drop in just to say, upon investigation of the remark that there is a 'select all' button, thank-you for making me research this. Apparently the V and X keys can used in this way and that this may provide a significant change to combat issues. [though the lack of intuitive SA control is somewhat surprising nevertheless].
Yeah, the interface has a lot of options, and can be quite good once you set it all up, but it's not exactly intuitive..
I really enjoyed NWN2 OC, but couldn't get into MotB. Its not a perfect game by any means and lots of the dialogue is just plain bad, but it was still a lot of fun.
Playing the BG Reloaded mod right now and its pretty awesome.
Yes, the mods for the NWN series are regularly better than the OCs. I don't have MotB as I have what I believe is simply a OC disc, most likely among the first batch that was shipped, hence why it's riddled with bugs and problems. And on that topic…
41) A lot of items and dialogue is stating the text "Bad Serrrf" or something similar. I thought this was a mechanic at first but I'm now guessing it's more of the bug-fest.
42) I put on some armour and my AC only went up by 1 but the stats suggested it should go up by two. I took off all my gear and began from scratch, but no, another bug.
43) When leveling up it's a complete lottery if I get the correct series of screens during level up, sometimes it will miss attributes or feats, sometimes it will award double skill points, sometimes you wont get the expected save increases.
44) Crafted a +3 adamantine longsword and realised I had enough ingredients to add 2d6 holy damage vs evil (make myself a lesser avenger) and the text said "crafting success" and all the components got used but the sword didn't show any text to suggest the upgrade made it onto the sword. I see no bonus damage in fights. If the crafting is limited to only one upgrade then that is beyond pointless.
45) I have no idea why the game wants me to make 6 different longswords from 6 different metal types in order to fight 6 different monster types differently, it seems like a really pointless and hairbrained over-complication to me.
46) Whoever developed Khelgar's plot-line must be insane. I now have a monk who's using a warhammer… even still, if you kept him as a fighter, why would you guess to put any points in warhammer without knowing?
47) Once again, a cut-scene drags me away from a dead body full of treasure… this time a party-member who the game has decided to kill off not 10 minutes after I had just bought them a 64,000 shield…
48) Oh boy… the cut-scenes from the end of chapter 2 going into chapter 3… ooooh boooy, that was a drag. Well it wasn't at first, but… I died while adjusting to going solo in the castle… and had to reload… all the way back at the start of the cut-scene frenzy in Jerro's hideout… and you… can't… skip… cut-scenes :( only dialogue.
49) And the cut-scenes just don't stop. It's like stop motion just trying to walk to a vendor to sell the past 2 hours of gameplay's stash, "Can I inform you of this" and "this needs your attention" and, because I've been using my team as pack horses, I have to leave the area, get stuck in another cut-scene, and then come back, just so I can approach the vendors with the equipment.
50) Killed a tough boss, only for the game to CDT upon post-fight chatting. Next three reloads the battle went weirdly much harder.
51) While killing the dragon I noticed it's health kept regenerating, or stopping still at 50%. Dragons aren't known for health regenerating? Anyway, finally killed it in the big punch-up with the giants, it didn't regen then for some reason.
52) I finally have the spare gold to by the amulet of goodness, but it was in blacklake, which seems to have vanished. I had based all my charisma and wisdom plans around purchasing that.
53) I have no idea if I'm supposed to keep wearing all these cloaks the game keeps forcing on me. Let alone that cruddy ornamental longsword.
54) Quest items aren't automatically vanishing after use and it's becoming difficult to second-guess which items might have 'later-use'.
55) The effects for spells, while nice, are, like the scenery, completely dominating. I literally can't see a single character in the middle of a group of elementals or equivalent fire-spells. For some reason the characters sprites seem to have the least visible-priority of anything on the screen.
56) Moving an item into the quickbar seems to trigger its use quite regularly (this may be my mouse though?) which is awkward for single-use items like potions and scrolls.
But yeah, just a list of things. The game itself is still quite nice, trotting along exploring, gearing, leveling, plot-consuming and I do like quite a few of my companions. The X and V keys did nothing for me, so battles are still a pain sometimes, but luckily, on normal (or is it hard? I dunno, the one where spells don't effect party-members but not the easy-peasy setting) the fights aren't too much of the game anyhow, and killing that black dragon did feel gooood!
Why are you playing without the latest patches? I've replayed it quite a bit, and I honestly haven't encountered most of those bugs.
Also, Khelgar is better without the warhammer if you let him become a monk.
Khelgar was fine being a Monk with the hammer, lol.
Well, that wraps this game up, King of Shadows vanquished, game over.
I have so many little bugs to list but am afraid of doing so as all the new bugs are late-game and so would be very spoilerific. Here's just a couple more of my favourites:
57) When Stoneskin wore off in the final battle, my character's skin color (and everything) also wore off, it quite literally erased all my personal character looks. I was like, "who's that?"
58) When talking to Gronbar, he no longer brought up any conversation choices to finish off the golem.
My final conclusions would also be spoilerific because the last section is just so littered with enraging elements as to be really quite ludicrous. To summerise, my save file was named "WTF" for pretty much all of the closing sections.
Let's just say "it's extremely boring having to wait for two rings of regeneration +1 to fully heal 200 hits points - per each of five characters!"
Your characters in the end fight… they either die like noobs or they are pretty much invincible. I honestly think I could have done the whole game, bar the odd and unusual 'tough' battle with just myself and Khelgar and maybe a healer. For a huge number of the battles in the game I found myself running in to battle in order to get some action before all the bad guys were dead rather than because my character was playing a major role in the victory.
When my involvement in a battle did matter, it did feel very good though.
So… bugs aside, was it a 'good' game?
I'll do my review in a separate post after this one.
I honestly don't know if I enjoyed Neverwinter Nights 2 or not. The game made me rage or facepalm to almost equal degree to the times when I was just happily adventuring. Every time I got comfortable it would throw me a complete curveball from planet insane and just as I was considering quitting it would deliver me a nice enjoyable quest or awesome piece of equipment.
The game's 2 biggest flaws are cut-scenes and combat, and when the two merge it's catastrophic.
The game likes cut-scenes so much that there are three different types of cut-scene. There are the unskipable ones where you just sit and watch some plot playing out (there's an awful lot of this). There are dialogues within these cut-scenes which consist of you having lots of options which, quite literally, include the line "can you get to the point, please" as an option, which are skipable but you might miss opportunities to gain party influence (there's an awful lot of these). And then there's also the old fashioned small-box dialogues which just appear as a black-box in the top left hand corner of the screen (there's an awful lot of these).
The following quest scenario best typifies how the game flows in this regard: A big cut-scene has the king tell you to get help from various neighbouring forces, to make allies. Another cut-scene tells you how to get the Wendersnaven's to help you. You then go and talk to some people who tell you about the Wendersnavens. You then go to the Wendersnaven map, which consists of one field in one screen. Upon entering the screen/map you get a cut-scene. You then walk to the middle of the map and find an invisible bard instrument. Your bard then talks to you. As you exit the map a small group of Orc trash mobs ambush you. Quest complete.
If the quest had been one character giving you the map and the quest and if you didn't take the bard with you then this would have been maybe 10 minutes of game. Instead, it's been stretched to about an hour via various 'interaction' tools. If you expand this over the entire game you will soon realise that the game is pretty much just one long pre-made movie which asks you interact with it every now and then. If the plot/story was interesting enough, then fine, but most of the cut-scenes and dialogue are so 'yadda yadda yadda' for the sake of 'yadda yadda yadda' as to be pretty mind numbing:
"You are not my daughter"
"I can't tell you at this point in time"
"Because it wouldn't help"
"That's not for me to say"
The combat in the game is, for the most part, a complete joke. It's real-time combat with some turn-based mechanics and some time-based mechanics. Some buffs will last 'per round' and some buffs will last 'per second'. The monsters will attack you on site and in less time than it takes to cast one buff. If you pre-buff too much in advance the buff will have worn off by the time you get into a fight, especially if you get met with a cut-scene instead of an immediate fight. The minions don't require any buffs, where as the bosses often do, hence the irritation around the cut-scenes/buffing issue. The game does not pause while in dialogue.
Your hero's party is controlled by AI by default. This AI is so absurdly dumb as to be insanity causing. The Druid will wild-shape within two or three rounds rather than keep it as a last resort. The mage and cleric will run into combat rather than hang-back and cast 'when needed', both of them using up all their spells on minion goblins and have nothing big left for the end bosses. The rogue will run into battle first, even from a position of shadowed. They will all run over traps that have already been identified. No-one will ever kite. The only thing the AI can cope with is melee, because melee is easy - run in and fight something.
You can manipulate the AI to a certain extent via 'character controls' but controlling them yourself is going to be an even bigger headache and verging on the sadomasochistic as the camera hops around each person you select, never allowing you one simple bird's eye view of the entire battlefield. Also, if you do try your hardest to turn off the AI, the AI is then too much the other way as, for example, a fighter in the middle of a pack of one-shot minions will simply stand motionless unless instructed to attack a new opponent after each kill. It's pretty much the worst of both worlds, you can have either utterly inept AI or completely user-unfriendly no AI, either way you'll be swearing like a mofo.
Since pretty much all of the game is either conversations or fighting, it's quite amazing that the game ballses both of them up in equal measure.
The really weird thing is that, somehow, the game has an element of joy about it. I honestly don't know why or how, but it remains playable (in the most part) and a lot of this playtime can be very enjoyable indeed.
I think it's because of the core D&D rules and because of the traditional familiarities the game offers within a well designed and pretty landscape. The character and monster variety is varied and well designed, the character skill-development is deep and absorbing, the loot is rewarding and everything seems to be balanced fairly well (not really well, just fairly well).
It's as if, as a player, you know there's a great game here and so you put up a mental block to all the 'nonsense' the game gives you in order that you can get on with leveling, gearing, boss-killing, party influencing and general quest resolution.
The game is too long by half though and I was more than ready for the end-boss at the castle fight stage. To put it into perspective, one of my save files was titled 'Act 6' before the game told me that I had just entered Act 3…
I've just read the walkthrough and for all the 'options' in the game, it doesn't look like I've missed much. The only two things I'm really annoyed about missing is the ore deposits (all of them, likely a bug where they don't show) and the fact that I chose to have a Monk temple instead of a Church (so missing the Holy Avenger quest).
I was also reading a lot of threads where people were saying only Khelgar managed to survive the end fight as he has 35 AC. Well, my Paladin had 36 AC and that was before casting Divine Defence.
It seems that only two of Nasher's items are available, so this equipment set was indeed a red herring mirage.
The only frustrating missed companion quests were involving having either elinee or gronbar in the team at specific points (aside from skymirror which I did), not really quests. The only real companion side-quests are for Khelgar and Neeshka which I did.
So I'm not going to be pumped for a replay for a good long time.
The playthrough on Gamebanshee misses out some great golden nuggets of information that I found, but I'm not sure if I want to add them here for spoiler reasons. One involves an easy way to kill the dragon, one involves an easy way to kill Garius etc etc.
Going through the walkthrough I feel inclined to be further adamant that the plot should have been split into 6 Acts rather than the rather odd and grueling 3 Acts which make no sense being so long.
It should have been:
Act 1 - Start to reaching Neverwinter
Act 2 - Docks and Merchant District
Act 3 - Visiting Aldanon in Blacklake to Trial
Act 4 - Aldanon's house to the last Statue of Purification
Act 5 - Talking to Aldanon about Jerro to getting the sword instructions
Act 6 - Going to see Nolaloth to end battle
This would have separated the acts into much neater and precise chunks and also given Aldanon a much more 'relevant' role in the player's imagination, as being someone central to every plot-change, instead of an irritating conversation every now and then.
NWN was.much better although it did suffer from an average OC. The expansions were far better.
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