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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » RPGWatch Feature: NWN 2 OC Review

Default RPGWatch Feature: NWN 2 OC Review

April 30th, 2007, 11:37
Even with the 1.05 Patch the Game feels clumsy and still ins't worth a 4 Star-Rating. While it would be cool to have a second "After-Patch-Rating" the Rating can only be given to the version played. You can't expect from people who don't get payed for their reviews to rewrite their articles everytime the developers got a few bucks to fix a few errors.

On the other hand there are no payed reviewers I trust anymore

Hm… (more) reviews of fan-patches and mods, now that would be cool

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April 30th, 2007, 11:57
Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
Even with the 1.05 Patch the Game feels clumsy and still ins't worth a 4 Star-Rating. While it would be cool to have a second "After-Patch-Rating" the Rating can only be given to the version played. You can't expect from people who don't get payed for their reviews to rewrite their articles everytime the developers got a few bucks to fix a few errors.
Of course you shouldn't have to rewrite a review after the developers make new patches. The review is supposed to be valid at the time it was written. E. g. the reviews written in November 2006 was based upon v1.01 and we all know it. I have no problems with that.

But when you publish a review in April 2007 then the review should be based upon the version of the game that was official at the time of the review. If the review is based upon an older patch then the reviewer should give hints if the issues he didn't like maybe have been fixed by the time the review is released.

So for Corwin's review he could have done that by telling the readers that a completely new AI was introduced with v1.05 etc. People who read his review may still believe the AI is horrible and that is not the case.

AFTER the review has been published it should not be altered.

I can understand Corwin's issue. He intended to post a review for NWN2 maybe in January, but real life made it hard to finish it until now and it's not easy to have to rewrite all he had already written. Therefore it would be OK if he looked at some of his complaints about NWN2 to see if they maybe have been fixed now and write something about it in his review.

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April 30th, 2007, 13:21
One problem with your proposal Peter is that not only do I have no real knowledge of the changes made in the latest version, but it would be wrong for me to comment on those changes unless I've actually played the game (OC ) using them to assure myself that they do indeed make a difference. I wrote from my personal experience with the game, and that's all I can do.

ISS, I agree that the game is more than the OC (I've already said that), but again it would be wrong for me to review those other aspects until I have spent time with them. I'm currently attempting to do that, but I'm finding it difficult since there aren't any really good MP mods out there yet!! Ask Peter about the hassles we had with our session last week, and it was even worse the week before. I WILL review the MP and DM aspects. Someone else will have to tackle the Toolset, as that is beyond my capabilities!! I don't pretend to be more than I am!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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April 30th, 2007, 13:46
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
One problem with your proposal Peter is that not only do I have no real knowledge of the changes made in the latest version, but it would be wrong for me to comment on those changes unless I've actually played the game (OC ) using them to assure myself that they do indeed make a difference. I wrote from my personal experience with the game, and that's all I can do.

ISS, I agree that the game is more than the OC (I've already said that), but again it would be wrong for me to review those other aspects until I have spent time with them. I'm currently attempting to do that, but I'm finding it difficult since there aren't any really good MP mods out there yet!! Ask Peter about the hassles we had with our session last week, and it was even worse the week before. I WILL review the MP and DM aspects. Someone else will have to tackle the Toolset, as that is beyond my capabilities!! I don't pretend to be more than I am!!
Well, then you are faced with the problem of releasing a review many months after you actually played the OC. Then it's important to write that the review was played with v1.01 and maybe some of your complaints may be fixed with the latest version v1.05. At least you know that v1.05 exists without knowing all the fixes since you played the OC.

Don't you see that it's a bit unfair to the game to publish a review of the game NOW based upon your playing experiences in December when the OC was much more buggy than now? People who read your review will believe your experiences is how the OC would perform NOW and that is not true. Most reviews of NWN2 were posted before 2007 and since you decided to wait until late April 2007 to post your review then you could probably have been less harsh in your review. Making that review in the first place had a purpose. That was to tell people of what they could expect if they would play the NWN2 OC. A review is a way to help people who are uncertain whether a particular game is worth playing (i. e. purchasing) or not. I would hate to read a very harsh review of a game that was not playable at release date, but was excellent after a few patches. Then I would probably turn down an excellent game.

I think the review was well written and the complaints were all valid in December 2006. Some are still valid. But I think the review would have been more positive if you had played NWN2 OC in March or April and posted the review when you did.

The hassles we have with Darkwaters 1 is NOT because of NWN2, but because we try to play a SP module as a MP module. Adam Miller has made so many scripts regarding the NPC's that when we play the module MP it simply won't work. Therefore he has changed the text in NWVault so the module is SP only. I guess he tried to make a module with interaction similar to the OC.

So it's important to distinguish between problems with NWN2 and problems with a module we play. We have played many buggy and poor NWN1 modules and we all know v1.68 of NWN1 is pretty bugfree. Poor scripting can make life very frustrating. Darkwaters 1 is simply not suited for MP and maybe it's better to enjoy that module playing it separately SP. Then we can enjoy all the dialogues Adam Miller has created etc.

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April 30th, 2007, 14:15
Whether or not to review with the latest patch is largely irrelevant in this particularly case. The AI is the only substantial difference that would need to be addressed.

@Peter, replaying NWN2 in March would not have made a difference - the 1.05 patch that you are basing all of this on was not released until April 18th. To read your point that the complaints were valid in "December" is inaccurate because they were all current until a little over a week ago, and then the AI is basically the only major item in dispute.

You are also largely ignoring the other two opinions that provide alternative views - Mike is positive and at worst, my piece is neutral. My piece specifically mentions v1.05 - but, I'm sorry, I'm not impressed with it.

Yes, Atari is setting the agenda — to a degree. How is that relevant to a review? How should a reviewer separate cuplability and what does that have to do with the quality of the product as the consumer sees it? I imagine you've read RPG Codex's recent interview where Sawyer says he couldn't see how the project was going to come together — don't forget Ferret left suddenly — I think it's clear Obsidian created at least some of their own problems.

But it really isn't relevant. A reviewer should review what they see, not the business decisions behind the scenes.

You pointed out that Obsidian is working on the game and the interface will improve. I agree - and said so in the last paragraph.

However, Obsidian is among the three or so most experienced CRPG producers in the world and not having a fully functional "select all" 6 months after release really isn't satisfactory. It's good that they are making improvements — but this sort of thing should have been long sorted out.

Of course you are entitled to your own opinion on the score and I'm sorry if you thought I was saying otherwise. To me, the context of your statement about scoring 9/10 suggests that would be an appropriate score for a review — and that's what I'm disagreeing with. If we accept that the best CRPG developers in the world can produce a linear campaign with all sorts of issues (both design and technical) and award 9/10, where does that context leave the next game that is non-linear with no major design or technical problems?

Here's our review criteria for a score of 3/5:

"3 – A score of 3/5 indicates a good game held back by obvious technical or design issues that limit the appeal. Games that score 3/5 will often split opinion, depending on how strongly the player perceives the flaws."

I'm very comfortable this is an accurate description of NWN2.

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April 30th, 2007, 15:55
I would have to agree with most of what Corwin said about the condition of the game out of the box. I do think it was rushed out too fast and left too many different aspects of the game undone and frustrating. Knowing that the issues would be addressed and knowing how much fun it will provide in years to come with ad ons and player mods should not be part of the decision to release a product in this state. I could just feel as I played that one guy wrote Act 1 and someone else wrote Act 2. The story was good IMHO but the flow of it seemed broken and uneven. The ending is a different matter. lol

I hate the fact that all the crafting skills are useless. I may have missed it but I don't recall reading anything about that being fixed yet.

I did like the look of the game, and as that is a subjective point it doesn't matter a lot. Granted they could have done more with the avatars, based on what they did with the graphics for the rest of the game, but I am not concerned with that part and the tile graphics looked great to me.

The lack of MP and DM client completion was a great disappointment. This has been behind the lack of player mods produced so far I think. I wouldn't invest time building a mod not knowing if my work would be useless once the patching was done.

I think the review by all of you showed most all sides and covered every aspect. Good job guys, you managed to spark enough comments as well that I think anyone considering the game will get a good feel for it and for the improved version as well.

Bart and Corwin should just admit that when it gets down to it, I will have the final say.
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April 30th, 2007, 16:04
The game is pretty flawed, but I still think that it's very good. Largely because the D&D framework easily provides for a good game, even if the developer makes some mistakes while producing it. If you stick to the general rules and spirit of the system, it's hard to make a bad D&D game. The tight linearity of the game and the crap story are my biggest disappointments (I think that Obsidian's storytelling capabilities are highly overrated). I could live with the interface and mechanics problems, mostly because I'm sick and tired of games like Oblivion getting a free pass on this stuff when they are about ten times worse. NWN2's interface, upon release, was ten times better than Oblivion's XBox360-ized shit, but no reviewers ever took away points for it.
Last edited by doctor_kaz; April 30th, 2007 at 16:14.
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April 30th, 2007, 16:31
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
I plan to do a shorter follow up on the MP and the DMC in the next week or two.
Not sure it's worth the effort… it's still seriously immature. Most of us who worked on content for NWN are still waiting for things to get better.

As for the OC.. there are so many things that meant the game *should* be better - amazing graphics engine (sorry, I really like shadows crawling accross the world as the sun sets), great range of classes, feats and skills, free camera mode, ceilings, better story etc..

but.. it just doesn't come together. It lacks a certain something that ties it all together with polish and delivers a good game experience. I find myself asking 'how long is this dungeon crawl going to continue' instead of wishing it would never end. It's slowly, patch by patch, getting a bit better, but it's just some way off still.

edit: for interest, out of the box I couldn't run the game - I needed patch 1.03 which wasn't out for a while, so this was actually my first ever game that I had to set aside on the shelf
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April 30th, 2007, 16:52
Originally Posted by doctor_kaz View Post
The game is pretty flawed, but I still think that it's very good. Largely because the D&D framework easily provides for a good game, even if the developer makes some mistakes while producing it. If you stick to the general rules and spirit of the system, it's hard to make a bad D&D game. The tight linearity of the game and the crap story are my biggest disappointments (I think that Obsidian's storytelling capabilities are highly overrated). I could live with the interface and mechanics problems, mostly because I'm sick and tired of games like Oblivion getting a free pass on this stuff when they are about ten times worse. NWN2's interface, upon release, was ten times better than Oblivion's XBox360-ized shit, but no reviewers ever took away points for it.

Good point about the interface. I don't have first hand experience with Oblivion, but when interface's made for consoles fail to utilize the superior pc controls, the game should lose 50% of the review right there on principal alone.
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April 30th, 2007, 19:47
Originally Posted by ThatGuy View Post
I should have spent my money on Oblivion instead, atleast I might be able to explore and have some challenging combat.
Lol, I spent $49.99 on Oblivion plus $349.00 for a video card to play it and $99.00 for a new power supply for my new card. Played it for a couple of days and was really impressed with the graphics, fantastic art design and town layout (although nowhere as interesting as Morrowind's) but soon was bored to tears. I've started like 7 or 8 new games since with all sorts of mods and the game is just plain mediocre. Nothing special about it at all, just superficially.

It's like that extremely beautiful, sexy looking woman who ruins it when she opens her mouth and nothing intelligent or even remotely interesting comes out of it - sure, you'll play with her for a little bit and maybe come back to see if there's "more" but the deeper you dig the less you find.

But back to topic: NWN2 was one of the better CRPGs released in the last few years. Wasn't perfect or groundbreaking, but it was enjoyable and it didn't let me down like Oblivion did.

Something else I left off my original post: I really liked the "widescreen" format during some of the conversations in the game (as was done on the KOTOR games) - I think it added a nice cinematic look to the game and was a good change from the regular zoomed out view, especially since the background characters still move. (Bethesda couldn't even figure this out in Oblivion: when you're chatting and it goes to close up, everything in the background freezes up.)

Anyway, based on the current patch I rate NWN 2 8/10.
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April 30th, 2007, 19:48
Originally Posted by Cm View Post
The lack of MP and DM client completion was a great disappointment. This has been behind the lack of player mods produced so far I think. I wouldn't invest time building a mod not knowing if my work would be useless once the patching was done.
Could be… but to be honest I think it has more to do with the toolset. The toolset is, without doubt, mightier than the one included in NWN1, but it's also more complicated. Especially outdoor areas simply take more time to build. You have to do pretty much all the texturing yourself, a fact which I found to be a problem when I started out with the NWN2 toolset. If you want to produce something that is looking good you have to put quite some work into it. Another reason are the non-existing wizards… there are no wizards that help you to create items for example - you have to do it in a rather time-consuming manner. Same goes for creatures. You have to check if the walkmesh is correct, you have to bake all your areas, etc. - that's stuff that is taking a lot of time. And while you're doing all that you're constantly struggling with the toolset, because something is not working out as it should.

The cool thing about the Aurora toolset was that even one person could put quite some nice stuff together with it. The new toolset however is clearly aiming at development teams.

I'm not quite sure if we will ever see as many modules as we saw for NWN1 simply because everything just seems to take longer in the new toolset. Obsidian should do the best they can to get the custom content stuff going, and try to improve the toolset wherever they can or I fear NWN2 won't have the longevity that NWN1 had. But from what can read on the Obsidian boards and the developer blogs they are working on it.
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April 30th, 2007, 20:00
NWN2 was such a letdown for me. I absolutely HATE the controls. The game doesn't crash… but I can't play beyond just when you leave your village. I just hate, hate, hate the controls.

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April 30th, 2007, 20:09
Originally Posted by doctor_kaz View Post
The tight linearity of the game and the crap story are my biggest disappointments (I think that Obsidian's storytelling capabilities are highly overrated).
The game was way too linear, but story wasn't THAT bad. As for Obsidian, they outdid the writing in both KOTOR and NWN. KOTOR was well written so this isn't to take away credit from Bioware but KOTOR2 to me was deeper, more philosophical and most of the characters seemed a bit more interesting.

As for NWN2, the writing trumped that of NWN's which just seemed so dull. All of the NPCs in NWN were pretty much forgettable while NWN2 had several which were memorable and well-realized (if a bit one-dimensional, but that's the case in most RPGs).
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April 30th, 2007, 20:59
I think that Corwin, Drhuin and Mike gave a realistic review of NWN2 without panning it unnecessarily. I had all the gripes listed, but instead of laying the game down and walking away there was an authentic quality to the experience which made me complete it.

This is as opposed to BG1 and 2, KotoR, and the original NWN OC, which I played til I got bored or frustrated, admittedly for many hours in some cases, but which at some point turned off my involvement. I have never completed a Bioware game (except for IWD and Shadows of Undrentide)

I think NWN2 is far from perfect, in particular in it's AI and interface as well as the relentless use of cinematic cutscenes, but in some way it worked on all the most important levels. In a few areas, the writing and dramatic progression were actually able to build off game features I normally reject(cinematic graphic explosions) and make them further the immersion instead of alienating my interest.

Obsidian has huge potential and I think they are capable of making a crpg that will truly resonate with rpg gamers and be regarded as the work of art a good game should be. Too bad NWN2 missed this goal.

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April 30th, 2007, 21:17
I enjoyed NWN2 quite alot. The only two things I had to complain about was the Character Portraits and the ending. The rest was great.
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May 1st, 2007, 03:54
Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
As for the OC.. there are so many things that meant the game *should* be better <snip> but.. it just doesn't come together. It lacks a certain something that ties it all together with polish and delivers a good game experience. I find myself asking 'how long is this dungeon crawl going to continue' instead of wishing it would never end.
Interesting post, as this was exactly my experience with the NWN2 OC. I felt like I was slogging through and that it lacked that "spark" of creative energy that draws you to the keyboard and keeps you glued there until the wee hours. I just never got hooked on the game… so, when my wife and I hit a brutal MP bug that corrupted our save game, I was almost glad to toss in the towel. I haven't looked at the game since.

This negativity also washed over into our use (or disuse) of the toolset. We both have this sinking feeling that we don't want to devote months of our lives mod'ing a game we don't particularly care for. So, we've pretty much tossed in the towel on that end too.

Needless to say, the game has been a huge disappointment for both of us, as we devoted many, many, MANY pleasant hours to NWN.

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May 1st, 2007, 04:36
I like NWN2 so far (I bought it when 1.04 patch was available). I have made it so far to chapter 2, and I am still liking it. Some things are still frustrating, but I can deal with it. Thankfully I can turn off spell casting and feat usage (like the druid always shape changing). I agree with a rating of 3 out of 5, it seems a bit harsh, but fair. The Mask of the Betrayer expansion sounds good so far.

I think if only Obsidian had done a content lock down earlier and spent 3 - 4 months polishing and bug fixing, it could have been maybe a 4. Like how Josh said they wasted too much precious development time implementing Warlocks. I don't know if content is something that was in the Atari contact or not.

Anyways, I have been dabbling with the toolset and making a mod, thus distracting me from finishing. Maybe I'll finish my mod and finally play the OC with patch 1.07. heh. Just my 2 gold pieces.
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May 1st, 2007, 09:54
Originally Posted by Relayer View Post
Lol, I spent $49.99 on Oblivion plus $349.00 for a video card to play it and $99.00 for a new power supply for my new card. Played it for a couple of days and was really impressed with the graphics, fantastic art design and town layout (although nowhere as interesting as Morrowind's) but soon was bored to tears. I've started like 7 or 8 new games since with all sorts of mods and the game is just plain mediocre. Nothing special about it at all, just superficially.
Anyway, based on the current patch I rate NWN 2 8/10.
I played Morrowind for quite alot of time, I love being meticolous and exploring everywhere, the freedom was great, but I can see how that's not everyone's cup of tea.

I also did the same with nwn2, purchased a new graphics card and power supply.

And I'm just as dissapointed; it felt like nwn1, but on steroids in the graphics department, same boring combat, but now I can see it better , story's better this time around, but I don't care much about an OC when there's multiplayer as an option, I'll just use the single player as an intro to get used to the game, but multiplayer is lacking this time around, and for what, better graphics?

I'm not saying it's the worst ever, but how does it deserve a 8 or 9? In it's current state 6.5, maybe 7, but 8 is stretching it.

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May 1st, 2007, 17:55
Sry to interrupt this discussion with a stupid question, but what's the final rating of Corwins Review? 3 of 5? 5? I can't recognize if these stars have different colors…

For the review: Well done, good arguments. But in my opinion a little bit harsh.

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May 1st, 2007, 19:24
Originally Posted by Avantenor View Post
Sry to interrupt this discussion with a stupid question, but what's the final rating of Corwins Review? 3 of 5? 5? I can't recognize if these stars have different colors…

For the review: Well done, good arguments. But in my opinion a little bit harsh.
Corwin's review gave NWN2 a rating of 3 of 5.

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