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DaShi
17-12-2002, 18:07:26
The first in the The Witch's Wake series of free modules for NeverWinter Nights was released last week with much anticipation. Created by the Bioware Live Team, WW promised a story intensive gaming experience that seemed like an ray of hope to those who were disappointed with the more hack'n slash style of NWN's official campaign.

In many ways WW delivers on its promise. From the opening cinematics followed by mysterious dialogue, you are drawn into the story. From there you travel through forboding forests and caves and meet people with much more than oneliners to say. The game does well to create a mood of isolation and confusion, especially with all the new features being thrown at you.

WW especially focuses on allowing each class to be playable and to be able to use their special abilities. Bards and other combat weaker classes will find that there persuade or charm person skills actually come in handy to complete quests. Fighters won't feel left out however, as there are still plenty of challenging baddies to fight. My favorite feature is the removal of experience for killing monsters. In prior games, I always felt that I needed to kill everything on the map to gather all that precious experience. Unendingly respawn monsters were especially annoying. However, here, with my rather weak sorceror, I could slip by enemies without worrying about missing something.

Yet, the game isn't perfect. For one thing, it is short. With only 2-3 hours of play, it definitely leaves you wanting more (March is the expected release of the second installment). Death, it seems, is an integral part of the story. And in order to complete certain side quests you must die. However, the amount of times you die are limited and the side quests done't feel worth it. Also, the number of sidequests are few and rather simple. Fortunately, the main story drives you forward enough to neglect them, but those who like to go off the beaten path every now and then may find little fruit. Despite there being several ways to accomplish a mission, the end result is always the same. In short, there are few to no consquences for doing things the evil way. Expect no alignment changes in your characters for their actions. Except for paladins, who are rigidly held to their alignment such that it is difficult to stay unfallen in such a grey world.

The many new features may be a blessing or a curse. Some may like the 7 minute waits between sleep, while others won't. I didn't care for the gold costs of summoning spells, but with the Wand of Frost, who needs a familiar to pick locks for me. However, learning to deal with these new rules creates a fresher gaming experience which the WW as a whole delivers. Those who were thoroughly disappointed with the Official Campaign will almost certainly enjoy WW. And hopefully, the popularity of this module will help influence Bioware's campaigns for the upcoming expansion packs next year.

MDA
17-12-2002, 21:24:53
Originally posted by DaShi
My favorite feature is the removal of experience for killing monsters. In prior games, I always felt that I needed to kill everything on the map to gather all that precious experience.

Now THAT interests me.

Wife downloaded this last week and we've been waiting for the chance to play, but work is following us both home lately.:cry:

Shining1
18-12-2002, 03:20:09
Rachel and I played through it the other day. It's not bad, but I have a few issues.

* Its a bit dull. The story is very mysterious and stuff, rather like Planescape Torment, which took me a good 3-4 hours to get into properly. Based on this, it might get a whole lot better as the story unfolds, but the first module is 90% exposition, and boy is there a lot to exposit.

* No XP for monsters is alright, I can deal with it. I just don't love the idea, really. I would have preferred at least a stipend, kinda thing.

* Not being able to rest wherever whenever doesn't really change the game at all, because if you get stuck on 1 hps with no healing, you'll just have to wait 7 minutes. This only makes it more dull. Also, the snoring noise they play while you are sleeping sucks majorly - it sounds like a bear. Not quite appropriate for an Elf or a human Druid.

But it's definitely WAAAAAY better than the OC already.