I played Baldur’s Gate. I played Neverwinter Nights. Both wonderful games, full of interesting characters, great storylines and definitely worth the money. So I was delighted when last year Neverwinter Nights 2 came out, this time though not by Bioware, but Obsidian (and Atari). A closer look at the hardware requirements made me quickly reconsider my immediate retail impulse:
- 3 Ghz Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent processor
- 1 GB System RAM
- ATI X800 series, NVIDIA GeForce 6800 series, 256 MB, or more, video card
I didn’t have that sort of machine and wasn’t really on the market for one. Then, 1 month ago, I had a little accident with my Combo Z8 mobo (which I can’t really recommend to anybody) and a new mobo and processor were necessary. So, with a new machine and a used 6800 Nvidia Geforce I thought this would be my ticket to NWN 2. Now significantly less costlier and heavily patched after an initial torrent of complaints about bugginess, this looked like a nice way to reacquaint myself with Dungeons, Dragons and daft demons.
After installing the DVD, patching it to the latest version (1.10016) I sat back and waited for the promised glory. It never appeared. Instead, I got more and more frustrated. First, the promised graphical feast wasn’t deliverable on my relatively high-end machine (Athlon 64 3500, 1 GB Ram, Sata Discs and the earlier mentioned Nvidia 6800GT). Instead, the graphics were actually worse than in the first Neverwinter Nights, as I had to run it at lowest specs. The really futile thing of course is, that ultra high resolution textures are actually completely unnecessary for a game that most of the time is actually played from a bird’s eye perspective, hovering ca 10 meters over the action, so the beautiful pattern of the rug and the veins on the forehead of the avatars are completely wasted (unless you zoom in , but then you loose oversight over the game action, so it’s pretty useless). It takes ages between short bursts of action to load and unload modules, and the storyline is terribly linear compared to the previous games. Compared to the myriad of variations in relatively old games like Morrowind, Neverwinter Nights 2 looks tired and aged.
On top of that, the bloody thing now crashes. Repeatedly. To be exact, each and every bloody time, at the same point in the game, on a brand new XP SP2 install, virus free and updated to the hilt. So, it’s not bloody Microsoft (for a change), and it’s not my hardware. Looking at the game’s forum, I’m not the only one.
With other words, Atari and Obsidian haven’t been able to come up with a stable product in a good year now, frustrating millions of gamers (thousands who probably upgraded their hardware so they could play the thing).
I should ask for my money back.