A friend of mine bought me NeverWinter Nights for the Mac as it was released about two weeks ago. Well, obviously I’ve been playing the game ever since then, I finished it yesterday as a matter of fact. I played Barbarian. Spoilers ahead. I was very happy to be playing a berserker since it’s my favorite style of play anyway. I like to just charge into combat and hack away. My solution to traps was just to walk through them, I had a huge number of hitpoints and so on. My henchperson throughout the whole game was Sharwyn, the bard.

So I didn’t actually read any of the instructions because I know the D&D 3E system pretty well and I figured I’d just give it a go. I was pretty amazed overall at how well the system honours d20. It really brings it to life. Some of the rules that are too much of a hassle to use in the table-top game (like power attack) come to life, and some things I didn’t recall became obvious after a while. Did you know that the barbarian retains AC bonus from dexterity even when he’s flat-footed?

I have to say that my knowledge of DnD I think gave me an advantage. I found the game to be pretty easy overall. The main challenges included the bloated dire spider, which just kept knocking me over and poisoning me. This lead me to buy myself the Amulet of Health, which is a fantastic bracelet with immunity to poison, disease, and negative energy. That’s a relief! Lots of easy snares for the barbarian in combat go away there. Later on I found magical items that added immunity to mind-affecting spells, damage resistance 15 to all elements, And more. In general it was a power gaming adventure. I think that my own knowledge of how all the items mixed and matched helped out as by the end I was basically immune or heavily fortified against anything a wizard could throw at me, and my character had a high AC of 35, so he was pretty hard to hit as well. I did go though magic healing potions at a high rate though.

Overall the campaign story was disappointing in my opinion. In fact, After a few of the “Waterdhavian” creatures I basically gave up and read the walkthrough. I was not surprised to find out that the plot was fairly predictable DnD pulp fiction fare. The plot in fact was nowhere near as good as Myst. The best part of the game by far was the Charwood forest, which I thought was well done. This is interesting because that’s the only part of the game where your character had multiple choices to make that actually had an impact on the other characters. It may not have been significant to the campaign, but it mattered in a more personal way. The rest of the game was basically a railroad, with the illusion of choice in terms of which of the four sections you chose to explore first in each chapter. But the truth was that it didn’t matter, since they would all scale to present a medium challenge no matter what order you chose.

So that’s the real difference between this game and a good tabletop game – I really want to have the choice to make a serious difference in the campaign. NWN also includes the ability to play online with friends, so I’m going to see if that’s any better.

For what it’s worth the last games I played through to the conclusion, were Karateka , Myst , Prince of Persia and Riven . It’s interesting to note that those four games were only made by two groups of people… games are like that I guess.