Khelgar: Aye... well, I guess you have to start somewhere.
Sand: I'm sure this old woman was as delighted by your actions as we are.
Shandra: Well, if it had been the Captain doing it, the cat would be lost, the tree burned down, and the old lady would be traveling with us now.
Neverwinter Nights 2 is what happens when you ask Obsidian Entertainment of all people to make a heroic fantasy game. Released in November 2006, it is the sequel to the 2002 RPG Neverwinter Nights by BioWare. It is set in the Forgotten Realms (more specifically, along the Sword Coast) and uses the Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 gameplay system.
Unlike the previous game, the plot does not begin in the eponymous city. The protagonist is a new character, an orphan living with their foster father Daeghun Farlong in the village of West Harbor, which is invaded in the beginning of the game. Realizing that the enemies are after the mysterious silver shard kept in the swamp ruins, Daeghun tells his adopted child to recover the shard and bring it to Neverwinter, to his brother Duncan, who possesses a similar shard. However, the path from West Harbor to Neverwinter is dangerous, and once there, the adventure is far from over: the shard-bearer has many enemies, all with different motivations.
Aside from traditional RPG Elements like fighting and completing quests, there are some deviations of note. One significant story arc sees the player character accused of murder, requiring the player to do all the necessary groundwork for a trial and then participating in it. The player also becomes the owner of a castle, and may choose to participate in its restoration in preparation for later events.
Unusually for Western RPGs (particularly the earlier efforts of the same developers), NWN2 has very few optional questlines and side-areas, and players who attempt to stray from the pre-determined path will often find their way blocked by doors with Plot locks and other uncircumventable obstacles.
The original game was plagued by the same problems as Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords: clearly rushed development and very buggy programming. Added to these problems is an engine with serious graphical issues and massive slowdown even on relatively modern computers. Later patches and expansion packs have removed many of the bugs and improved the engine, but it's still rather a hardware hog. However, the original campaign in NWN2 also has a surprising amount of tongue-in-cheek humor from most characters, resulting in a campaign with an unusual amount of deadpan humor from party members and NPCs alike, including poking fun at the game's own clichés and plot, as exemplified by the example at the top of the page.
An expansion pack: Mask of the Betrayer follows the same character into an unfamiliar land (Rashemen) and a more personal struggle. It is shorter, less linear, and has been praised for the choices offered to the player in the style of Planescape: Torment. Indeed, many reviewers have wondered how the same company could have written the (at the very least clichéd) plot of the original campaign and the dark, atmospheric and original one for MotB.
A second expansion pack, Storm of Zehir, was released in 2008, it "hearkens back to the days of the Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale franchises by including full party customization, dungeon crawling, and free exploration of a non-linear game world via an overland Map". Some reviewers, however, have compared it to being more like a high-end third-party mod, mainly criticizing the lack of character interaction and the amount of random encounters on the overland map.
An Adventurer Pack called Mysteries of Westgate was released in 2009. It was developed by Ossian Studios with the plot having no ties with the previous storylines.
Since then, while there have been no plans in sight for a Neverwinter Nights 3, the MMO Neverwinter is a sorta-sequel set 100 years after the events of the Neverwinter Nights games.
The whole game and its expansions and adventure pack are now available at GOG.com.
- Original campaign tropes:
- Expansion packs: