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December 30th, 2006, 20:18
I'll throw in my two cents:

The Good:
—Nice graphics that give the world a much more natural, lived-in feel than NWN.
—Party-based system which, although desperately in need of auto-pause options (like Bio's Infinity Engine), allows you to try out a number of different class options and experience more of what DnD 3.5 has to offer
—Good story that, while extremely linear at times, provides a good straight-forward FR adventure that is superior to any of the Bio-produced NWN outings.
—Powerful toolset that should result in far more varied and diverse-looking user-created modules.
—Dialogue that (for the most part) is of a very high level, though it is easy to see when "the pros" (e.g., Avellone, Baudoin, and Sawyer) are writing and "the amateurs" step in. This uneven quality level is also apparent with a few sub-quests.

The Bad:
—Excessively high system requirements that don't jibe with the resulting graphics quality. Optimizations can be provided with patches, but as it stands now the game is simply a "pig" of a gfx hog compared to its 3D competitors.
—Bugs, though I've only encountered one real game-stopper, which has essentially ended a recent co-op session by corrupting a save game.
—Occasionally uninspired area design which seems a ridiculous way to showcase a new engine.
—Reused content from NWN in the form of multiple music tracks, voiceovers, etc., etc., etc…. I understand the desire to "cut corners," but I paid 50.00 US for what was billed as an entirely new game.

In Summary:
I'm enjoying the single-player campaign a good deal (at about the 3/4's mark). However, as many others have said, the game required another 3 mos. in the oven for gfx optimizations, bug fixing, and overall cleanup work. With the third patch, the game is certainly playable and enjoyable and I recommend it to anyone who played and enjoyed games like Icewind Dale 1 and 2, which are (in my opinion) the spiritual predecessors to NWN2.

As for my vote of CRPG of the Year? Though I almost feel dirty for saying it, but that would most certainly have to go to Oblivion. Like it or not, but it has produced a shockwave in the singe-player RPG genre that hasn't been seen since the likes of Baldur's Gate.

Lord Alex

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