by Mike Shea on 20 June 2002
I picked up Neverwinter Nights last night at Best Buy. You can buy Neverwinter Nights from Amazon as well. I played through the first prelude of the single player game than played through it again in a multiplayer setting. Playing the regular campaign in multiplayer showed that the game really is single player centric. There isn't a lot of teamwork and the five or so people I was with simply raced to see who could kill the skeleton first.
Player creation was very nice. I was quickly able to make a fast-on-his-toes swashbuckler type fighter who's far more dextrous than he is strong but doesn't suffer because of it. He's an elf that probably fits between Artemis Entreri and Drizzt Do'urdin. Not really good but not bad either. The character creation which included feats, a new D&D 3rd edition ruleset, really allows you to build the type of character you want to build. Character creation is probably the strongest piece.
The single player game, from what little I played of it, seems to be a far stronger single player game than it is with a group. Granted it was the first time any folks got together to play, so it felt more like gauntlet than 3rd edition D&D. Being able to see how you rolled is a nice touch while battling mobs.
Then I messed around with the dungeon masters portion. I started off with a simple arena, pitting ubermobs against ubermobs. Which would win, an ancient golden dragon or four liches? How about four Balors against eight half-angels? What about six drow wizards vs a bronze dragon? That was fun and gave me a good glimpse at how great the graphics are. You can play up to 1600 by 1200 resolution.
So then I built my own adventure. As the wiley Gomph Baenre, elderboy of house Baenre and arch wizard of Menzoberranzan, I built an arena where I would summon up appropriate nasties to fight whoever happened to wander in. I called this arena the Balor pit. The first party came in and desimated just about everything I threw up at them, starting with goblins, goblin chiefs, all manner of spiders and then delving into the Abyss for some Succubi and a Vrrok. It was great fun and at least one of the players stayed, even after I had killed them a few times with three drow wizards. I roleplayed it quite a bit, knowing how Gomph would feel about this event. It was a blast.
Overall I have to say I think the game has a lot of potential. I think that some professionals need to write up some multiplayer modules, just like D&D has, so I can get together with a group of six folks or so and actually have a D&D like game. The only real downside is the cost, about $60.