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November 16th, 2006, 03:36
As a brief follow-up, I'll say my opinion of the game has gone up. Creating a new character that can actually survive combat makes a significant difference.

This looks like it's going to be one of those games that is not forgiving to bad builds. And you can't use cheese tactics in turn-based combat. Character builds can also benefit from good random drops, and my second character is has gotten nice ones. First time through, it took five hours to find a merchant selling a +5 AC jacket -- second time around the same jacket was a random drop 15 minutes in.

This won't be a problem for those of us who restart games numerous times to try out different character types before settling on the character we finally finish with. If, however, you're the sort of gamer who only plays a game once and doesn't like restarting games, you'll want a strat guide to plan out your character. I haven't seen any (though some may exist for the foreign language releases from earlier in the year).

After some twelve hours of play, I finally encountered my first bug (not counting the crashes when reloading saves). Walking across a bridge in the second town, a dialog icon appeared out of nowhere. Clicking on it crashed the gamed, probably because there was no NPC nearby to talk to.

And speaking about the second town, I don't think I mentioned voice acting. Mostly, it can be described as "meh", with a hint of cheese. But occasionally, it's bad. Real bad. Like the lumberjack doing the Beavis impersonation (or maybe it's Butthead, whichever one is the blond). And the second town is the token Asian fantasy town. The voice actors for that section weren't sure if they should be doing bad Chinese accents, bad Indian accents, or not bothering with accents at all (too bad there weren't more of the latter).

The music is quite good. And sounds nothing like Soule. Though a few of the tracks remind me a bit of the LotR soundtrack, which is hardly a bad thing. Probably the best fantasy game music I've heard since DivDiv. (I might have ranked Oblivion's music better, but that one recycled too many elements from DS, NWN, and KotOR.)

Overall, I'm enjoying the game. After restarting it, that is. Knowing what to expect helps.

Neverend could have used a lot more polish (and better localization). At the same time, it's also far more stable than most other games I've played in the last couple years (I've heard that changes dramatically for the worse past a certain point in the game). For me, it was definitely worth the price -- I've logged a dozen hours on it so far, and can't wait to fire it up for some more.
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