NWN2 is awesome. So fanboi-ish, I know, but I’m really having a great time with the game, issues and all.
***Minor Spoiler Alert***
I finally made it to the keep, and so far so good. I was not able to do more than see the options it presents, but they seem very deep. I’m curious to see how the keep plays into the story going forward, whether it takes a central role or is merely a side-quest type option. So far the hints have been that it will play a major part in some upcoming battle/event, hopefully that does indeed happen.
I also really like that you see a very natural progression with your character. In the somewhat typical plot of ‘small farm town boy/girl to uber-god’ progression, NWN2 handles it well. For instance, you start gaining respect in the city by cleaning up the slum that is the docks district, which in turns gives you the opportunity to work in the merchant district. Proving yourself there gets you the chance to be noticed by the ‘higher ups’ of the city. You become a squire for a good reason, and that leads you to do some important things for the city of Neverwinter, which in turn puts you in good standing with the King, making further rewards seem logical. Perhaps not earth-shattering stuff, but clearly a lot of time was spent on the story and getting it right, and I think it really shows.
If anyone can explain to me why alt-tabbing to get the FPS back up to 25-35ish from 10, and also fixing weapon glow and spell effect graphic errors works, please please do. My only guess is it has something to do with resetting the memory, either the RAM itself or maybe the graphics card memory. If that IS the case, does that mean something might be off with my memory, or is it simply an issue with NWN2? Overall though it’s a somewhat trivial annoyance, as alt-tabbing is quick, NWN2 pauses itself when you do it, and I generally don’t have to do it more than once every 20-30 minutes. Still, if I could get it fixed, that would be a nice.
As for the currently neglected game, EQ2, I have set a personal goal of level 30, at which point if the game is still ‘eh’ to me, I plan on quitting. I want to give EQ2 a fair shot, and I think level 30 is more than enough time. So far two things bother me about the game, the graphics and the combat.
To me the style of the graphics is somewhat poor, especially the character and mob models. The skeleton NPC model really reminds me of the mid-90s in terms of style/quality. Now maybe it has some really complex details and such, but at a glance, its very meh. Same goes for a lot of the other mobs, the wolves, snakes, etc. Not exactly terrible, but nothing even close to special. The armor and weapon graphics are nice, with some good detail in the armor, but sadly coming from WoW and LoTRO, they don’t compare. Now I know that might not be fair, considering LoTRO is a newer game, but still the comparison is there. Above all else though, the game runs poorly for what it is. Nothing that I see on screen justifies the game running so poorly on my system, and being so inept in tuning it down. WoW, imo, looks better, and never drops below 60 FPS for me, even in a 40 person raid with spell effects going off. EQ2 choked up in a major city, and that was without the screen being full of characters. I can’t imagine how far you would have to drop the graphics to make a raid even close to playable. And speaking of dropping the graphics down, the game looks like complete trash on the lower settings, yet still gives my older comp fits in certain spots. I swear at the lowest setting you could mistake an EQ2 screen shot for Meridian 59, its that bad.
As for the combat, while again not awful, it just does not do much for me. It’s not exactly slow, but it feels somewhat unresponsive and automated. I generally get the feeling that if I can’t beat a mob, I have no chance, and if I can beat a mob, I will always do so. It’s not like I can pull off the perfect combo of skills and that will be enough to take a tougher mob down, and that feels wrong. Hopefully this changes further in, but at level 20 now that is how it goes.
I think I really want to like EQ2 because of how highly so many people talk about it, and how supposedly after WoW it does so many things right. IMO, right now, the game is not even in the same league as WoW, or even LoTRO. Again I don’t want to jump the gun here and condemn it, hence the level 30 goal, so hopefully things pick up and EQ2 shows me why it should be in the same sentence as WoW and others.