Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Byte: Neverwinter Blights

One down, three to go. I stayed up late last night to finish off my Neverwinter Nights 2 review for Pro-G (which should go up on the site in the next day or two). On the whole, the verdict is positive, but I did have quite a few issues with it (most notably the waraxe-wielding weasel bug - I assure you, that's not a doctored screenshot) that prevented it from getting a really high score. There were quite a few things I did like, such as the way your character builds relationships within the party, how your past actions can give you a reputation that can help or hinder your progress with certain factions, and some of the changes of pace are nicely done - especially the Ember murders trial. The new races and classes are quite fun to play (particularly the Warlock class and the Aasimar and Drow races), but the game is hampered by some wayward quality control, an interface that feels like a step backwards from the original, a rogue cursor that never seems to want to select what you want it to, and the initial pacing is way too slow. My verdict? Good, but hardly a classic.

Shaping up to be a classic, however, is GTR 2; the review of which is finally starting to manifest itself in my head. It's probably a little too unforgiving for most players. If you want to get the best out of it, you really need a decent steering wheel controller for your PC, as an analogue pad just doesn't quite give hamfisted mutants like me enough finesse to coax the cars (some of which have a beastly 650-odd horsepower) into corners without understeering on the entry and oversteering on the exit. Steering help is available at the Novice skill level, but you really want to be playing at semi-pro or in full simulation mode to get the biggest sense of satisfaction out of playing it. I should have the review finished in the next day or two.

After that, I've got Medieval II to review (again - but retail code from Pro-G this time), which will no doubt require another dozen or so hours' play to take a new batch of screenshots. Speaking of Medieval II, the issue of gamesTM containing its review should be out in the next week or so...

And finally, I have to knock off a preview of UFO: Afterlight - the third game in ALTAR's reimagining of the X-Com franchise. Thanks to GTR 2 and NWN 2, I've not stuck a huge amount of time into this yet, but it's looking fairly promising. More on that later, no doubt.

Unfortunately, this huge backlog of writing has meant that I've not been able to devote any time towards reaching Level 60 with my main character in World of Warcraft. Shareth's still stuck at Level 53 and probably will remain there for a good few weeks yet. Especially if my Wii pre-order comes through. (Though I'm not exactly hopeful of that)

Ho well. Back to work, I suppose...
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