Wednesday 16 April 2014

N is for Neverwinter Nights

Developers: BioWare, Obsidian Entertainment
Notable Releases: Neverwinter Nights, Neverwinter Nights 2

Unlike many fans of computer role-playing games, I have never quite had the privilege of playing a pen and pencil RPG before. My first brush with Dungeons & Dragons came in the form of the 1980s animated TV series, not the well-known tabletop game. But over the years, they have been quite a number of games based on D&D rules.

Neverwinter Nights was based on the D&D 3rd edition rules. It was released in 2002 and developed by BioWare. It was set in the Forgotten Realms, and centered upon the eponymous city of Neverwinter. It came with a toolset that allowed players to create their own adventures and campaigns, much like the tabletop game.

Neverwinter Nights 2 was released in 2006, but this time around, development work was handled by Obsidian Entertainment. The game was based on the D&D 3.5 edition rules. It also came with a toolset, which was used to create the game's included campaign. The campaign itself was well received, earning the game a Best Story award at GameSpot in the 2006 Game of the Year awards.

Neverwinter Nights was met with universal acclaim, and was praised for its seamless turn-based combat that kept little details like dice rolls hidden away in the background. The second game received comparably weaker scores, with most of its criticism leveled against its many technical glitches and high system requirements.

Both games have received a number of expansion packs, as well as countless community-made campaigns.