Sunday, November 19, 2006

Video Games!

Picked up three games last week when I got my paycheck: Neverwinter Nights 2, Dreamfall: The Longest Journey (or is that the other way around?), and Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. So far, I've installed and played the first two only.

Neverwinter Nights 2

I still haven't finished Neverwinter Nights 1, having only reinstalled and restarted playing the game earlier this year. For the original NWN, I've installed everything: the two expansions, the community expansion pack, some premium modules (Witch's Wake, et.al.), but I've never finished even the original campaign. I'm lazy like that. And now, with NWN 2 installed, chances are high that I won't be able to play NWN 1 again anytime soon. Times like these, you wish you don't have Real Life(tm) to attend to.

I've played quite a bit of the NWN 2 original campaign since I installed it last Wednesday. As usual, my character's a fighter/rogue, Laire Random, with almost the same build I used in the first game. I'm also shooting for the weaponmaster prestige class. Fighter/Rogue's are the epitome of the fantasy hero for me, or rather, the fantasy adventurer: wise-cracking, witty, quick-on-his-feet, tough without being too brawny, and most of all, wields a big-ass sword. Not to mention access to most magical items via Use Magic Device, and you've got a very well-rounded character that could go toe-to-toe or hurl spells from a distance, depending on one's mood.

From what I've heard, a lot of people are unhappy with the changes made in this latest edition of NWN. Which is puzzling, because most of the changes I've seen actually do improved the game experience. Well, "improved" in the sense that you get a more true-to-the-pen-and-paper-game feel. For example, and perhaps one of my most favorite changes was the removal of the Stone of Recall, a magical item that you get since Chapter 1 of NWN 1 that allows you to essentially zip back to base and return, a la Diablo town portal. Another example would be the new familiar/animal companions, which bring them more inline with what you'd actually get in the actual D&D rules. Maybe it's just that those complaints come from people who have not played the actual pen-and-paper game.

The graphics are nothing to get all excited about, although they're definitely an improvement over the previous game's. One of the things I really like was when you finally reach Neverwinter. The city layout was vastly improved, owing to NWN 2's new capabilities, I guess. Gone was the squarish city blocks of the old game, and the districts actually look like they've been taken almost directly from the Forgotten Realms pen-and-paper game supplements.

All in all, NWN 2 is definitely recommended for RPG fans everywhere, especially if your tabletop game of choice is D&D 3.5.

Dreamfall: The Longest Journey

Dreamfall is the sequel to The Longest Journey, which is an adventure game (in the traditional point-and-click gameplay sense) featuring a single female hero who must travel between Stark (the Earth of high technology) and Arcadia (the Earth of magic) in order to save both worlds. At least that's how I remember it, since I can't remember when I actually played the first game. Nor can I find my copy of the game cds.

Anyway, Dreamfall is essentially part 2 of TLJ, and this time, the story focuses on three people: a new chick, the old chick from the first game, and an adventurer-type guy. I forget the names right now. Too lazy to check the manual. Sorry.

Dreamfall's set in the same world, or worlds, as the case may be, and is still an adventure game (in that you need to solve puzzles and pick things up in order to advance the plot), but with the addition of certain action game elements, like a combat system. So in this game, unlike most other adventure games, there's a possibility for game over thoroughout most of the game.

The graphics are crisp, colorful and cartoony, but not too cartoony--a combination I like very much. The worlds of Stark and Arcadia, some locations of which you'll revisit in this sequel, have all been rendered in glorious 3D.

I haven't gotten very far yet, because of NWN 2, but I'll definitely play more of this later.

Maybe I'll post some screenshots later.

As for Oblivion... I don't really like the cultures presented in the Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, although the game really was immersive. Well, at least until I started playing Lineage II. But since it was cheap, I thought I'd buy a copy. But I don't think it'll get installed any time soon.

Well, then, I'm gonna clock some more quality gaming hours. Until next time, folks. Game on!