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Neverwinter Nights: Shadows of Undrentide (Windows)

80
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3.8
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5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  tbuteler (3026)
Written on  :  Feb 19, 2004
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  3.86 Stars3.86 Stars3.86 Stars3.86 Stars3.86 Stars

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Summary

Not much has changed, but it's not really a bad thing.

The Good

A good story unravels in this expansion pack, which also features some interesting changes from the original game.

The design and engine of the original Neverwinter Nights is here, which is a very good thing, considering the original is a great game with an extremely versatile engine.

A few changes come to enhance an already good game, like henchmen inventory control, which allows you to divide weight amongst your henchmen and equip them with the armor or weapons you choose. More interactions are also available with henchmen, like requesting item identification, or a spell to be cast.

Like one would expect from an expansion pack of this sort, it adds more items, magical or otherwise, to the already huge repertoire. New areas (with new terrain graphics to go with) are also present, like harsh desert, cliffs and canyons, and the snowy Hilltop, where the game starts.

The game also features some new character classes, called Prestige, which add a bit more spice to the complex character development borrowed from the AD&D 3rd Edition rules.

Also worth noting is the bolder approach which the designers took with the engine, using spell effects for traps in dungeons or in-game puzzles, or even in-game cutscenes, to add ambiance to the story.

The Bad

An overall feeling of lower production values arises from the start of the expansion campaign. The voice acting is much more scarce and badly done, and many graphics are taken from the older version, but given new definitions or names. New graphics don't evoke the style and flare of the original either.

Also, the game feels somewhat unbalanced: too easy at some stages, and much too hard in others. It also leaves you hanging in many occasions, like when playing an evil character that's forced to destroy the forces of evil anyway. By the way, playing a Blackguard, for instance, provides little or no advantage at all in the expansion pack, whereas in a more complex game it could prove very powerful.

Another complaint, but not necessarily a flaw in the game, is that, very much like the original, it is way too linear. Specially now, with so many interesting new character classes, you are forced to follow a path with little or no diversions, where all seems predefined (locations, enemies, conversations and bounties).

The Bottom Line

A great investment for those who liked the original (in concept and design) and want another go at it, but if you didn't like the original there's not much of a reason for you to try this one.