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Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm Of Zehir (PC)

Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm Of Zehir (PC)

Storm Of Zehir is the latest add on for Neverwinter Nights 2 and it is different in style to Mask Of The Betrayer. This game offers an expansive environment and lets you –  the hero explore the world, free of a forced linear based ‘main quest’ able to explore the world on your own.

When the game starts you create a party of up to four characters within the confines of a proper party system rather than just a main character and followers. As the game progresses you can recruit a further two additions to your team if you can use your charm and guile to coax any NPC’s to join up.

This freedom comes at a cost however, these individuals obviously have no interesting background history or stories to unfold which is a massive 180 turnaround from Mask Of The Betrayer which focused a lot on a heavily scripted dialogue.

As the story develops, your party is not welcome in a foreign land and only able to stay due to the protection of a merchant. Thanks to this merchant you are able to initiate a trading business and with this game mechanic there is a layer of resource management laid out on top of the usual dungeon looting and monster killing.

To explore the world you can use the Overhead Map which lets you see the towns, caves, cities and campsites waiting to be explored. If you travel to towns you will then receive quests which normally involve visiting a nearby dungeon, killing anything in it and subsequently looting everything. You can however also tackle the main Merchant Quest but it is not really a captivating story on any level, more a useful tool to get used to the trade mechanics.

Much of the game revolves around the need to access the OverHead Map to find what you need. Along the way you also deal with many hostile creatures and monsters as well as roaming NPC’s in the shape of soldiers or traders. Your party leader has good tracking skills so spotting potential dangers ahead of time is possible. If you do get involved in a key fight then you can use your various skills such as intimidate and taunt to give yourself the advantage.

While many gamers might be put off by the free roaming style, equally so it will appeal to a wide array of people who like games such as Oblivion or Fallout. You don’t need to follow a preset linear path and you can even ignore the main story quest and roam around the lands doing whatever you want.

However playing Devil’s Advocate there is also a sense of unimportance about the whole experience. The games main strength is therefore also its weakness. With the lack of a focused main quest to drive players on there is sometimes very little incentive to keep playing. Levelling up characters and forging a trade empire is fun, but without objectives it will be very much up to the individual to find reward from the title. Sometimes specific objectives require characters of a specific level, so a certain part of the game will require grinding to progress.

Graphically the game is not that impressive, it runs quite poorly for a 2 year old engine and obviously some more time was clearly required for optimisations. The overhead map adds nothing really to the overall interface.

Storm of Zehir is successful in its implementation of the D&D 3.5 edition rules … obviously there are some limitations with the computerised platform but Obsidan deserve special mention for their indepth character customisation possibilities. Very few games in this genre give you access to the plethora of non combat feats and skills available in Storm of Zehir, of particular note are the conversations as every line of scripting and dialogue is influenced by the various skillsets of your party members.

Storm Of Zehir is a trip back to older RPG territory with much of the focus on the wide open and expansive nature of the game. There is not a reliance on a tightly scripted story based interface like KOTOR or Mass Effect which seems to be the style of choice today. This will be a refreshing change for many and a fun experience, after all its not always realistic to assume that the character(s) we play can change the fate of the world we are in !



If you like exploration based role playing then this will be right up your alley.

Quite poor, especially by today’s standards.
Nice voice acting and impressive orchestral score.
Many hours of adventuring lie in wait!
(not an average)

Just make sure this kind of game appeals to you before investing.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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