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Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition

Posted by GG Goblin On December - 16 - 2019

The newest of the classic RPGs given the PS4 treatment by Beamdog arrives.

 
With the recent release of Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale and the like, I would be amazed if anyone actually had the time to set out on another Dungeons & Dragons epic adventure. However, Beamdog were not happy to sit back and enjoy the fruits of their labour, and now we also have Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition available on PS4. Likely the largest package of classic RPG goodness on the console, Neverwinter Nights is also the most recent, having been released in 2002. What does this mean for the Enhanced Edition? Well, surely that would mean less work for Beamdog on the original Bioware developed game to bring the game up to an acceptable standard for the modern player? Well, that’s what you would think, isn’t it?

 


 
Indeed, Beamdog have gone to a lot of trouble to ensure that this 17 year old RPG is playable on console and by modern players. Radial menus accessed through the controller, direct movement of characters and the like are all present and ensure players can get to grips with the massive, immersive stories that can be found in Neverwinter Nights. In this respect, the developers have done a great job and should be applauded. Of course, there is still a leap of faith on the part of the player, much like with the other enhanced editions, where the player will have to spend a couple of hours getting used to the UI and how things work in the game. Tutorials are limited and the systems can be fiddly until the player fully understands them. Once those early hours of the game have been passed though, things will slip into place and it is very easy to get lost in the amazing Forgotten Realms.

 
And getting lost is what will happen as the Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition packs in so much content. The main storyline follows the outbreak of a plague and the player being charged to find a cure, but there is so much more going on in the game. There are huge numbers of NPCs for the player to chat with, and so many side quests and interesting little tales to be told. Continuing the adventure, this version of the game comes with not only the two expansions Shadows of Undrentide and Hordes of the Underdark, but also loads of additional modules, with the resulting game quite happy to run into the hundreds of hours.

 
Character creation is deep and involving, offering the player plenty of choice from the inhabitants of this fleshed out fantasy world. Choices don’t stop there either, as the actions the player takes and the decisions they make will have an effect on the world around them. The writing is of the Bioware standard and thoroughly enjoyable, especially for fans of the Forgotten Realms. Newcomers to this setting, and to the recent batch of enhanced RPGs for PS4, may struggle a little more but such a varied and colourful world is easy to enjoy.

 


 
The systems in the game will be easy for players of the previous enhanced RPGs to pick up but again newcomers will have to put some more work in. There should be a certain amount of familiarity for any experienced gamer, although the transition from PC to console leaves some aspects more complex than they need to be, such as shopping for example. The combat, which allows the player to take the time they need to plan out tactics if they wish, works well here though, which is probably the most important thing. Neverwinter Nights is, after all, the evolution from Baldur’s Gate and so systems tried and tested in that game, and others, make an appearance here in a more polished way.

 
So, all is good then. Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition is a massive RPG with so much content in a living, breathing fantasy world. But hang on a minute, there is something else that needs to be addressed.

 
Neverwinter Nights, when it first launched, was a visual step up from the previous Bioware RPGs. That was great at the time, but when it comes to the Enhanced Edition that is now available on PS4, those advancements don’t do the game any favours. Of course the game is going to look dated, just like the previously launched titles that had been given the enhanced treatment. The problem is that Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition looks way worse. The resolution and frame rate have been boosted up for this version, but that does nothing to improve things, as much of the rest of the visuals seem to have remained the same. Once viewed on the large screen TV, it is not a pretty sight. Both the cut scenes and the gameplay are positively off-putting, which will likely be the real barrier to entry for new players. It is disappointing, but still can be overlooked once the player starts to immerse themselves.

 


 
Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition may be the newest of the recent enhancements from Beamdog, but it also suffers from the worst visuals. It is a shame as the overall package is very impressive and the actual gameplay is immersive and enjoyable. But to reach that, the player has to overcome the visual disappointment. Still, fans of classic RPGs will get hundreds of hours of entertainment here, and the nostalgia cannot be denied. Newcomers will have to make allowances, but will still find ample RPG fun in Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition.

 

 ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ 



 

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