If there is one thing I hate about playing games on a computer vs a console, it’s the constant graphic tweaking and fiddling. On a console, when you put a game in, that’s it. It’s already configured exactly how the developer intended, and everything works. The frame rate stays consistent, the graphics don’t bug out, and you don’t get overheating at the most random times. At least 99% of the time, hi xbox360.
With a computer, even when you pull the latest 5 grand plus high-end monster out of its box, the first game you play might run at 5 FPS when you are looking at a wall with everything turned down, or you might get 60 FPS on a mid-range system on a brand new game with everything maxed. It’s all over the place, and with little rhyme or reason. Worse still, you can spend the next few days downloading drivers, patches, work around who knows whats, and in the end make things worse.
Granted some games work much better than others, but it’s become routine to install a new game and the first thing you do is check for patches. And more often than not, you find one; fixing things that make you wonder how the game ever got out the door in the first place.
This little rant is thanks to Neverwinter Nights 2, a wonderful game that is STILL plagued with technical issues a year after release and one expansion under its belt. For one, it has some type of memory leak, becoming unplayable after more than an hour straight. This is easily fixed with a restart, but non-the-less it’s a pain. Even worse are the random graphic abnormalities, from polygon tearing to spell effects becoming giant pixels. This is most annoying because it happens at random, so you might be 30 minutes into a play session, having a great time, and all of a sudden your fireball spell goes from a gorgeous eruption of flame to giant orange pixels of crap. Nothing says emersion like your web spell grinding your game to a slideshow and blanking the screen in a white blob of nothing.
What’s a shame is that NWN2 really is a great game, a true RPG experience with great characters and an engaging story. If it ran without a hitch, it would be a true joy to play, but sadly it remains in love/hate status due exclusively to its technical issues. I would love to give Obsidian credit for continuing to support the game and trying to resolve its issues, but after a year of patches, the issues continue, and that is somewhat unacceptable.