Drunken Thoughts – If it Ain’t Broke

I always have felt that if the first one of a series, be it a movie, book, or video game, is that great, there’s no reason for a sequel; just let it be. Yes, I have been proven wrong on many occasions where I thought the first one something was great, but usually those evoked a feeling want, causing me to look forward to another one, especially games. Series such as Mass EffectinFamous, and Uncharted are only a few that have succeeded in having sequels that just thrilled me completely.

Then came Neverwinter Nights 2.

I absolutely loved, still love, and will always love Neverwinter Nights. The story is amazing, the voice acting is something that you would expect from a great RPG, the controls and battle are solid. If you can look past the 2002 graphics and textures, the game is simply one of the best. If they did an HD remake of it, I’d be the first one in line to say, “Sign me up!” I was playing it last night (thanks to GOG.com’s winter sale) and stopped somewhere around 3am. But just before I spent an easy four hours playing NwN, I was dealing with its younger retarded sibling.

Ever bite into a chocolate chip cookie, so excited because your grandmother just made them and brought them over? You grab the biggest one, just drooling with anticipation, and cram half of it into your mouth, then the sudden disappointment hits. That wasn’t a chocolate chip cookie, you were tricked. It’s an oatmeal raisin cookie. Your day is ruined, you look at your grandmother as if she’s now the devil. You probably swindled the pudding cup from your friend at lunch the next day; you were that upset and needed someone else to suffer.

That’s what Neverwinter Nights 2 did to me. It became my satanic nana, luring me in with smiles and hugs and the promise of chocolate chip cookies, then threw me into the fiery pits of Hell, showering me shriveled grapes and rolled oats, cackling the whole way.

Everything that worked for NwN was thrown completely out the window. Starting with the controls, movement in NwN2  is so frustrating, pathing is so broken, that just playing the tutorial made me want to drink until I had forgotten the trainwreck that was that game. The intro alone is punishing: your character’s adoptive father utters some droning lines, his voice just grating on every single nerve. I get it, he’s an elf, elves aren’t all emotional but come on, this is supposed to be your character’s father, couldn’t he have been a little happy, especially on a day of a festival? Your two friends are just as boring, though not as bad as your father. The characters of the area are almost as bland though with a little more life than most, but that’s not saying much. Combat is one of the worst I have seen in a D&D style setting, and that’s after playing more of the genre than I can even count. Between the clunky UI, the fact that the quick action bars don’t like to retain whatever you put on them, the lackluster AI that decides to do whatever it thinks is best while you’re dying, and, to take a step back, the pathing altogether just makes me cry.

I really wanted to like NwN2, love it even, but I could barely get a good two hours into the game the first time I played it many years ago, and I barely made it past the tutorial this time before I had to quit. I can’t remember what was going on after the tutorial (I stopped somewhere in NwN2 where you meet a dwarf), but I can tell you every little thing that happened in NwN, and I know I can return to it time and time again without fail, knowing that I’ll be thrown into a game that I can spend days on end playing. Maybe I can find the will to make it through the second game, but for now, I’ll go lose myself in the Underdark.

– Gaming Mistress

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